Searching for a job tends to be stressful no matter what the economy is like. But during a recession, it can be nerve-racking. The competition is stiff, and there are no guarantees of success. Even without guarantees, though, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of success. There are still companies, businesses, and individuals who need employees. Here are some tips for a successful job search in a recession.

Expand Your Horizons

This may seem like vague advice, but apply it to various areas and you’ll see its benefit. For instance, expand your definition of a “good” job, and open your mind to possibilities like temporary jobs and online work. Even freelancing is something you can consider if you start to expand your horizons a little bit. Before beginning your job search, take some time to expand your thinking box – or, even better, think outside of it! So approach things with an open mind.

Be Willing to Settle (to an extent)

You may be a very intelligent person who would love a job that challenges your intellect, but during tough economic times, it doesn’t always pay to be picky. Remember, you can take a less-than-ideal job and still keep up your search for that perfect job. At the same time, you don’t want to apply for a job that is so out of your league that you won’t perform well at it.

Why Do They Want You?

Also known as “selling yourself,” figuring out why a company would want to hire you helps you get a grip on your strengths. You have something to offer a company, and it’s important to lay hold of what that is. A good business relationship meets the needs of both parties – your need for a job is met and the company’s need for an employee is met. So think through what you specifically can offer. Your unique experiences and outlooks can bring a fresh appeal to an interviewer who may be tired of the “same old strengths” that everyone touts (like being a “team player”).


Building on the point above, make lists of your strengths and weaknesses and take this a step further. List not only what these strengths and weaknesses are, but how you will talk about them during an interview.

For instance, maybe one of your strengths is making people feel comfortable. Write this on your list, then make notes about how that particular skill applies to this job you’re applying for. Note how you’ll talk about it and what you’ll say. The same goes for weaknesses – if you are asked about these, cite examples of how you overcame that weakness in the past, or ways that you work with or around that weakness.