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Make Your Resume Stand Out in a Recession

Make Your Resume Stand Out During a Recession - ResumeCompass

The economy has been showing signs of slowing down for quite some time, and with a potential recession looming near due to a variety of circumstances, professionals and job seekers need to make sure that their resume is prepared for a potential recession if and when it comes. With each recession, it’s gotten harder and harder to stand out amongst other professionals when you’re competing for the same positions, so we’ve created this useful guide to give you some pointers on how you can make your resume stand out in a recession!

The Challenges of a Recession Job Search

Recessions can wreak havoc on a professional job search, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s important to remember that. Recession job searches can be more challenging than traditional job searches only because there are a couple factors that make securing a job a little bit harder.

For one, more employers are cutting back on their unnecessary spending. One of the first things to be cut back is any expenditures on new hires. Companies are facing increased pressure to do more with less, and they try and see which tasks can be assigned to others instead of being forced to hire new employees, train them, and ultimately increase their workforce.

Second, depending on the industry, most employers don’t have a guaranteed growth period for the foreseeable future. In fact, most industries see a slow down in terms of consumer spending and individuals tend to spend less money on convenience items that they don’t desperately need. This means that businesses tend to see a slow down and they need to cut back on their expected revenues for the foreseeable future. This might mean layoffs on current employees, cutbacks on non-traditional expenses, and more.

Unfortunately, whenever there is a reduction in expected revenues, cutbacks, and employee layoffs, the landscape for finding a job only becomes even more competitive.

Why You Need To Make Your Resume Stand Out During a Recession

The most important reason that you need to make your resume stand out during a recession is due in large part due to the increased competition that you’ll be facing when applying to jobs. During a recession, there will be plenty of talented individuals who have been laid off from their positions or have skills that are slightly better than yours. Unfortunately, this means that you need to catch the attention of the individual who is reviewing your resume.

You cannot afford to get buried beneath the pack of other resumes that you’ll be competing against, so you need to make your resume stand out compared to the tens to hundreds of other candidates that are competing for the same position. An average resume won’t help you when you’re trying to find a job in a recession. You need to make sure that you build a resume that will help you set yourself up for success and help you become the clear candidate they need to consider for the position.

How To Make Your Resume Stand Out During a Recession Job Search

If you want to truly secure that job you’ve been keeping your eye on, then you need to make sure that your resume helps you stand out from the crowd. Time is of the essence during a recession job search, and you don’t want to miss out on plenty of opportunities to secure that job you’ve been dreaming of. We’ve identified several key ways you can improve and upgrade your resume to help you stand out during a recession.

1. Always Be Prepared

One of the biggest pitfalls for professionals and job seekers is that they find themselves unprepared when they’re forced to start applying to new jobs during a recession. Either they haven’t updated their resume in a long time, they’re unfamiliar with modern methods, or they’re not quite confident in how to build a great resume.

One of the best ways to make sure that you’re prepared if and when a recession does come, is to make sure that you keep your resume updated.

During a recession, you never know when an opportunity might present itself and you realize that you’re interested in applying to the position. So take the time to make sure that you update your resume with all of the most recent and up-to-date information to ensure that you’re prepared when the time comes.

2. Think From Their Perspective

The next way you can make your resume stand out during a recession is to always think from their perspective. One of the biggest things to remember is that employers, managers, HR professionals, and recruiters are all looking to solve a problem with their job openings. They need qualified candidates who are capable of fulfilling certain responsibilities and possess certain skills.

When you place yourself in their shoes, you’re going to find that you’re able to tailor your resume to highlight how you meet their needs. When you’re getting ready to submit your job application, resume, and cover letter, simply ask yourself if you’re answering the questions they’re asking or helping them realize that you can solve the problems they’re facing as an organization. If the answer is no, then make sure that you’re making it clear that you’re the solution they’ve been looking for.

3. Tailor Your Resume

The next thing that you do to make your resume stand out in a recession is to tailor your resume. When you tailor your resume, you’re including relevant keywords or keyword phrases from the job posting throughout your resume. This also includes certain skills that they’re looking for, education requirements, previous titles, job descriptions, etc.

It’s important to remember that HR professionals use applicant tracking systems that assist them in a variety of ways, one of which is using resume reading robots that will help automatically sort and narrow the candidate fields based on included keywords throughout the resume. If you’re not including relevant keywords throughout your resume, your resume might automatically be filtered and eliminated from contention.

We’ve built a helpful tool that you can use to tailor your resume, so make sure you take advantage of it to include relevant keywords and skills throughout your resume to help you stand out as the leading candidate.

4. Highlight Your Specialty Skills

One of the important things to remember when you’re conducting a job search during a recession is that you’re actively competing against a litany of other candidates. There will be dozens of candidates and applications per job posting where the candidate is just average. They can perform the tasks or duties, but they’re going to be an average performer. HR professionals see this all the time, and they don’t want to spend thousands of dollars training candidates to learn the skills they’re seeking from the start.

This means that you can truly stand out as the leading candidate if you have the skills that they’re looking for. In other words, make sure that your resume doesn’t appear average. You don’t want to be just another average candidate, you want to be the best candidate. Make sure that your resume highlights your specialty skills so that you can put your best foot forward and truly stand out as the leading candidate.

5. Showcase That You’d Be a Valuable Asset

The next way that you can make your resume stand out in a recession is to constantly look for ways to showcase that you’d be a valuable asset to an organization. One of the best ways to showcase that you’d be a valuable asset is to highlight your ability to grow and adapt over time. Employers are constantly looking for candidates that have a track record of growth throughout their career. Try to find ways to highlight your growth and development on your resume, and if you haven’t had much growth, check out the next point we’ve highlighted below.

6. Consider Attending Training, Development Programs, or Certifications To Your Resume

Sometimes the best thing you can do to increase your chances of landing a job during a recession is to boost your resume by attending a new course, training session, development program, or getting that certification you’ve been putting off. Pursuing an opportunity to enhance your skillset and demonstrate your willingness to employers is a great asset to have on your resume, and it will help you stand out from those other job seekers and professionals who have largely remained stagnant throughout their careers.

7. Highlight Your Professional Achievements

The next way to improve your resume to help you stand out during a recession is to highlight your professional achievements. It’s important to remember that employers, managers, recruiters, and other HR professionals are constantly looking for candidates who are achievers. As we’ve highlighted earlier, there are going to be plenty of candidates who are do-ers, but you want to stand out as an achiever.

One of the best ways you can call attention to your professional achievements is to list some of your achievements in each position. Quantify those achievements throughout your resume and in each position to help highlight how you’ve made a difference with each position you’ve held in the past.

8. Avoid The Broad Resume Approach

One of the biggest problems that job seekers have during a recession is the idea that they need to send out as many applications as possible. This approach is considered the “shotgun approach” where they hope to send out as many resumes as possible to hit a wide target, hoping to hit the mark on one thing. Unfortunately, general resumes that aren’t tailored or specific to a certain job or industry only work against you in the long run.

You need to make sure that you’re tailoring the resume to each job or industry that you’re applying to. Otherwise, you’re going to significantly hurt your chances of landing the jobs that you’re applying to. When it comes to submitting your resume to job postings, quality over quantity should be your approach. Take your time, tailor your resume and use industry-specific or job-specific resumes to maximize the efficiency.


In a recession, you need to do all that you can to ensure that you stand out as the leading candidate. One of the best ways to maximize your efforts and improve your chances of success when applying to jobs is to make sure that your resume stands out from the competition. By taking advantage of some of the pointers we’ve highlighted above you can improve your results.

Images sourced from Pexels

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