Thrive, Don’t Just Survive: 5 Tips to Stand Out in a Recession Job Market 💡

Ariel Weinberger
5 min readMar 18, 2023

In today’s challenging job market, it’s more important than ever to stand out from the crowd. As a former VP Engineering, Head of Engineering, and Engineering Manager, I’ve interviewed hundreds of candidates and witnessed firsthand the qualities that make someone truly exceptional. Despite the recession, there are still plenty of jobs and not enough demand.

Thrive, Don’t Just Survive: Tips to Stand Out in a Recession Job Market

Here are five tips to help you become the candidate that everyone wants to hire:

1. Upskill Proactively 📖

The job market is ever-evolving, and staying current with industry trends is hard, but very important.

As a tech employee, you should consistently work on expanding your skill set by learning new technologies, programming languages, and frameworks. Doing so not only makes you a more valuable candidate skill-wise, but also demonstrate the most important traits of all — being self-starter and a self-learner. Adaptability is key.

Consider enrolling in online courses on platforms such as Udemy, attending webinars, or participating in coding challenges to improve your skills. Keep an eye on emerging trends in your field and identify areas where you can strengthen your expertise. By proactively upskilling, you’ll be better equipped to handle the challenges of a competitive job market.

Pro Tip: Do not neglect your side projects. Make sure you always work on something that involves exploring new skills and tools.

2. Stay Connected 🔗

Building a strong professional network can significantly increase your chances of landing a job during a recession. Establishing connections with peers, mentors, and experts in your field can lead to job referrals and introductions to hiring managers. Additionally, a robust network can provide valuable insights into industry trends and best practices.

It’s much easier than you think. The internet is your best friend, and it allows you to attend virtual meetups, conferences and webinars anywhere in the world. Engage in meaningful discussions, share your knowledge, and ask thoughtful questions. Make an effort to follow up with new connections, and offer assistance when appropriate. Remember, networking is a two-way street — it’s about creating mutually beneficial relationships.

Pro Tip: Focus on building genuine relationships that offer value to your connections, as people are more likely to remember and recommend you this way.

3. Master the Pre-Interview Game ♟️

Around 75% of all profiles don’t get past screening

54% of hiring managers highly favour candidates with personalized cover letters

Only 40% of candidates submit a cover letter, the majority of which are generic and not tailored to the job

Ensure that your resume is up-to-date and focuses on relevant keywords that are valid for the job and industry you are applying for. Having several versions at hand isn’t a bad idea either.

Re-using your cover letter will put you in Rejection Land. Write a cover letter for each job you apply for. This will make a huge difference.

“I am not good at writing cover letters” / “It’s consuming so much time!”

Selling yourself is a skill and it’s tough to master. This is why I created Resumator — AI-Powered Personalized Cover Letter Generator. Here is why it’s special:

  • In just a minute, get valuable insights into your candidate profile.
  • Get a personalized cover letter for the job you’re interested in, highlighting your relevant skills and making you stand out from the crowd.
  • Very human-like. No AI classifier is able to classify Resumator’s cover letters as AI-generated.
  • AI model has been fine-tuned with the help of top hiring managers in our networks. No other AI tool achieves this level of quality.

Looking at the statistics above, this alone will instantly help you stand out and get more interviews.

4. Showcase Your Soft Skills 🖌️

Technical expertise is undoubtedly important in the tech industry, but don’t underestimate the value of soft skills. Employers are increasingly prioritizing candidates who can communicate effectively, solve problems creatively, and work well within a team. Demonstrating these attributes can set you apart from other applicants and make you a more attractive candidate.

During interviews, be prepared to discuss examples of how you’ve used your soft skills in previous roles. For instance, you might explain how you’ve successfully navigated challenging team dynamics or resolved conflicts. Practice active listening and maintain eye contact when speaking with interviewers, as these behaviors convey confidence and attentiveness.

Pro Tip: Sit down and make a short list of meaningful situations you had at work. Successes, failures and conflicts. Make sure you know how to present these situations highlighting your maturity, proactivity and most of all — empathy.

5. Be Persistent and Resilient 💪

In a tough job market, it’s crucial to stay positive and keep applying, even when faced with setbacks. Rejections are an inevitable part of the job search process, but they shouldn’t deter you from pursuing your goals. Embrace each rejection as an opportunity to learn, grow, and refine your approach.

Persistence and resilience are attractive qualities in a candidate, particularly during a recession. By demonstrating your dedication and adaptability, you’ll signal to employers that you’re capable of overcoming challenges and are committed to achieving success. Stay organized and set realistic goals for yourself, such as applying to a specific number of jobs each week or month. Don’t be discouraged by temporary setbacks; instead, use them as fuel to propel you forward in your job search journey.

Remember, the job market is constantly changing, and opportunities will arise. By staying persistent and resilient, you’ll be in a prime position to seize those opportunities and ultimately land the job you desire. Keep pushing forward, and trust that your efforts will be rewarded.

Pro Tip: To maintain persistence and resilience in your job search, create a structured routine that includes dedicated time for networking, skill development, and self-care. Break your goals into smaller, achievable milestones to track your progress and stay motivated, even during challenging times.

If you are still here, then you are definitely persistent and resilient! I appreciate your time reading this, and I want to help.

Free Courses ❤️

If you are a software engineer, I am happy to give you free coupons for my best-selling courses to help you upskill:

Unfortunately, Udemy only allows my free coupons to be valid for 5 days. Please let me know if they expire and I’ll update them here.

Give Resumator a Try 🚀

Seriously, do! Resumator is totally free, GDPR-compliant and your data will not be used to train our AI model. Your feedback will help us improve the tool. Don’t forget to share it with your friends if you liked it!

Let’s Connect 🔵

My students and frequent readers/followers know that I always engage with my audience. Let’s connect!



Ariel Weinberger

CEO & Co-Founder of 👾 DevTool geek 🕹️ Passionate about engineering leadership, ops, microservices, people and education in software development