Coronavirus and Your Career - What You Need to Know

9 April 2020
8 min read
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Coronavirus has paused all activities around us, putting countries and offices in high alert. However, there is no easy exit. The situation might last until the end of the year, with some countries predicted to suffer until Spring 2021.

Not only has coronavirus made us all work from home and seen thousands hospitalized, but it has also led the economy to a recession. Global growth is predicted to smash in the near future.

...Which brings us to this article.

What, exactly, does this mean for your career?

Is your job at risk because of the coronavirus pandemic, and is there anything you can do to minimize your chances of getting laid off?

Read our article to learn more about:
  • Coronavirus & Recession: Career Predictions 
  • How to Prepare for the Coronavirus Outfall
  • 5+ Strategies to Switch Careers During Coronavirus

Coronavirus & Recession: Career Predictions

So let’s say you hold off for some months and see the coronavirus through.

Even when this ordeal is over and you can freely leave your house, is it really over? 

Recession, spawned by the coronavirus outbreak, is creeping in. The stock markets are hitting their lowest point in years and businesses are starting to lay people off.

During this recession, more than half of the jobs in the US are at risk, about 80 million, with experts estimating around 2 million jobs will be gone completely.

Here’s the thing.

It’s not just airlines, hotels, schools, entertainment events, or parks that are laying people off right now. It’s also all the restaurants, coffee shops, laundry & dry cleaning places, bookshops, or hair salons that don’t have anyone to provide their services to, now that everyone’s quarantined.

Supply is down and demand is down for the ENTIRE economy, so these will be difficult times for everyone. Although uncertainty levels are high right now, there are some valuable career predictions for the upcoming recession.

coronavirus industries with risk of layofs

Industries with high risk of layoffs

  • Transportation and travel: Thousands of flights around the world are being cancelled. Most, if not all airlines will be bankrupt by May. This means many flight attendants and airline personnel will be left without a job.
  • Leisure and hospitality: No flights means no tourism. Hotels have already lost $ 1.5 billion in room & booking revenue, which equates to one million jobs that already have been or will be eliminated.
  • Help services: Many construction works or care service jobs will be lost as people around the world start saving up and letting go of some non-essential services.
  • Sports industry: The jobs most at risk are college sports careers and individuals who have college scholarships. Although the N.C.A.A. claimed some student-athletes may get another chance to play for championships that have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, the future remains unclear for many.
  • Oil drilling and extractions: Oil prices are at an all-time low because of the pandemic. Some speculate they might even fall below zero, cutting off many careers in the oil industry.
coronavirus industries with moderate risk of layofs

Industries with moderate risk of layoffs

  • Retail & Food: More than 16 million people work in the retail and food service industry. As people stay at home and start saving up, hourly jobs will be the first ones to go. 
  • Manufacturing: Manufacturing will become especially difficult because of the broken supply chain. In our globalized world, countries depend on one another for raw materials and different elements in the production process. When people around the world stop going to work and borders start closing, parts of the production and supply chain are lost. Although many manufacturing firms are reluctant to let people go just yet, experts say the hit might come later. 

Manufacturing areas at risk include:

  • Engineering
  • Project managers
  • Drug manufacturing & distribution
  • Industrial chemicals
  • Medical equipment
  • Consumer goods (especially due to dependence on China)
  • Tech equipment (especially due to dependence on China)
  • Semiconductors

In a nutshell:

Everyone will be buying and supplying less of everything. There will be difficulties keeping and finding a job in almost all industries. The recession might prove especially tough on small businesses that might not have the necessary capital to survive. 

how to prepare for coronavirus outfall

How to Prepare for the Coronavirus Outfall

The undeniability of tough times ahead might come as a hard pill to swallow. However, now that you know, the only thing to do is prepare for the downfall.

Here are five main ways you can battle the coronavirus recession:

1) Come to terms with the situation: prepare for the worst.

Look at your finances and the recession predictions in this article. Is your job at risk? Then you must take measures. Perhaps you qualify for Unemployment Benefits or other governmental benefits. Calculate how much money you are entitled to as a benefit for your layoff.

If you freelance or own a business, create what-if scenarios using the worst possible outcomes (in numbers) you can imagine. Account appropriately for a decrease in working hours or customers.

After a situation assessment, calculate how much money you’ll need to survive until you find a new job (likely until 2022).

Stop funding your retirement plan and start cutting back on expenses. No more lattes at Starbucks and no more vacations. 

Look for better deals on your subscription plans - your energy bill, telephone carrier or insurance. You might even need to cancel your Netflix or Disney+ subscriptions. $ 10 a month is $ 120 a year, which might be of help in trying times. 

Hey, no one said it will be easy, but it might be necessary.

2) Become extra-valuable to your company

You might be good at your job. But when your bosses start laying people off, being good doesn’t cut it. You have to be indispensable. 

Build a reputation as someone who gets stuff done and solves problems without asking too many questions. In times of uncertainty, companies want to keep the people who add the most value and can’t be replaced. 

Start going above and beyond NOW, even if you are working from home.

3) Start growing an emergency fund 

Experts recommend having at least 3 months of expenses stored away as savings. Start putting that money away now for a rainier day. Savings rates are also at a record low and exchange rates will start plummeting. Very soon, there might not be enough funds for investments and foreign goods will become more expensive.

4) Try to pay off as much of your debt as you can

With interest rates so low and the economy going down, you should try to take care of any debt you might have. It will ease up your credit score and allow you to borrow again in case your income gets lower during the recession and you end up needing to. 

If you have taken a mortgage at a high interest rate, you can try to get it refinanced at a better deal.

There is one exception: student debt, which has relatively low interests and will be less risky to repay during the recession. So if you have student debt, you don’t have to worry about paying your debt right now. Instead, focus on saving up for your emergency fund.

5) Consider switching careers

The economy today is very uncertain.

Even if you do everything you can to maintain your current job, there’s still a chance to get laid off (especially if you’re in a very high-risk industry).

So, you should always be prepared to switch careers.

And yes, sometimes this might mean doing something you don’t enjoy as much, but the goal here is to get through the hard times.

As a start, we recommend learning some new skills, or going through online courses in other industries.

You know that one skill you’ve been meaning to learn for months, but didn’t get a chance to do it? Now’s your chance!

Finally, if you’re not sure if you should switch careers, here’s how to decide. Ask yourself: 

  1. Is your industry predicted to cut down jobs due to the coronavirus?
  2. What are the likely future prospects of your industry during the recession?
  3. Do you have other skills you can put into use that will help you transition? 

If all your answers have made you at least THINK about switching careers, give our next section a read.

how to switch careers coronavirus

5+ Strategies to Switch Careers during Coronavirus

So, you think it might be a good idea to switch careers? 

Read on to learn some of our top tips for switching careers during the crisis.

Focus on the company you want to work in, not the job.

Don’t apply to every single job position out there. That will make you lose focus. Instead, narrow down a list of 5-15 companies that are likely to do well even during the recession times. Then, look for appropriate job positions there. 

Here are some industries that will suffer fewer consequences from the current situation:

  1. Health care & security (Home health care, Office, Insurance, Physical and system security)
  2. Business consulting (Management, Finance, Marketing)
  3. Government (Federal and State)
  4. Legal (attorneys, lawyers, legal clerks)
  5. Anything digital (Digital marketing, computer system, software design, and website design)

Don’t worry about job titles, just get your foot in the door.

You should be willing to accept a lower salary than what you were used to and be willing to compromise on the job position. After all, you need to start from somewhere. Even if you feel like you’re being underpaid, there will be room for growth in the future. 

Make use of your established networks.

Unfortunately, your current network won’t be of much help when you want to switch careers. So reach out to college buddies or acquaintances that are working in the field you are interested in instead. Connect with people who are working at the company you are aiming for on Linkedin if you have to. You’d be surprised how many strangers are willing to help.

Update your LinkedIn.

This might sound obvious, but now your LinkedIn is catering to the industry you are already in. Seek new experiences and start taking online courses or building skills that are valuable to the industry you want to dive in. Update your LinkedIn title, skills, and experience to showcase you are ready for the jump.

Use your resume and cover letter the RIGHT WAY.

Updating your LinkedIn is important, but once you start narrowing down the companies and jobs you want to apply to, you want your resume and cover letter to showcase your motivation to switch careers. 

Pro Tip:

Not sure what to do with your resume when switching careers? Check out our guide to learn how to create a career change resume


The coronavirus does NOT ONLY pose a threat to your health, but it has also started a global recession, which might impact your career. Adjusting to the job market in these times of uncertainty will be a difficult challenge, but it’s important to stay focused and prepare for the inevitable.

If you need some guidance on everything job-search, check out some of our free resources:

Stay safe, stay positive, and most importantly: stay home!