Economists have warned that the U.S. is on the precipice of a recession for months — and although one has yet to materialize, many companies are already bracing for a downturn, announcing hiring freezes, layoffs, and in some extreme cases, rescinding job offers.
Finding a job in this chaotic landscape requires a more creative approach: As companies scale back their hiring budgets, it's important to market yourself as an indispensable employee, one who can help companies be more efficient or profitable even during an economic crisis.
There are three kinds of "recession-proof" candidates that are in demand no matter what shape the economy is in, Jeff Hyman, an executive recruiter of 25 years, tells CNBC Make It: makers, shakers and takers.
Throughout his career Hyman, who is also the CEO of Recruit Rockstars, an executive search firm, has interviewed more than 30,000 job candidates, and has found that those who position themselves as one of these three types of employees are the ones who best insulate themselves against economic turmoil.
Makers tend to possess strong analytical and computer programming skills, while shakers have strong communication and presentation skills. Takers typically need to have a natural aptitude for mathematics and statistics as well as top-tier problem-solving abilities.
"The closer you identify with one of these three core types of occupations, the more likely it is that you will have a successful job search, or, if you like the role you are currently in, that you will retain your job," Hyman says.
That's because these roles all have a consistent focus and help businesses improve their bottom line, Hyman explains, either by reducing costs or boosting revenue.
To align yourself with one of these three categories, start with your resume: The skills section of your resume should reflect the in-demand hard, soft and transferable skills of the job category you identify with the most.
Hyman recommends using bullet points under each work experience to highlight clear, quantifiable achievements and results, rather than describing your job responsibilities.
"Ask yourself: 'How did I grow or retain business?'" he explains. "It could be that you helped acquire new customers, trained entry-level employees, increased revenue or reduced cost – really any kind of data points that will instantly impress the reader and make them think, 'Wow, they kicked butt in this role, and can show proof of their value,'" Hyman explains.
It's also important to highlight specific examples of how you contribute to a team and the business's goals during a job interview.
"You want to demonstrate to the hiring manager that what you do has a direct impact on the company's bottom line, whether it's driving revenue up or expenses down," he says. "The most valuable, standout candidates during a downturn are the ones who enable their team to be more efficient and who are willing to work hard to help the business stay afloat even during tough times."