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BY Cameron-Brooks

How to Survive a Recession: Advice from Our Alumni

What is the best business advice on how to survive a recession? Take it from our alumni. Our network of successful alumni has continued to grow over the years, and we wanted to tap into some of their business expertise. Listen to what they have to say.

“Don’t give up. Keep learning. Keep networking. Keep demonstrating your value. Focus on leadership skills you bring to the table. You and your teams have been through many challenges and you have persevered. Companies need leaders like you during these unprecedented times.” -Elmar Guseyn-Zade, June 2009 Career Conference

“Have a plan before deciding to transition because many companies are on hiring freezes right now. Make sure you do homework and due diligence on what career path you want outside the military and how your skills translate. Take some courses using your GI Benefits or base education office to fill any gaps once you’ve decided a path.” -Pavan Balaji, August 2014 Career Conference

“Regardless of the economic climate, companies are always looking for good people. This time is no different and companies will look to upgrade their talent to become stronger and better.” -Mike Lawson, October 1996 Career Conference

“I went into oil & gas during the early 2000’s oil slump. My company was downsizing the finance function, changing systems to “find synergies” and ceasing all but the most critical capital spending. An important thing to remember is that companies become conservative, save cash, scale back investment, layoff people, refocus strategies (and a bunch of other buzzwords) during recessions. And well run companies don’t shut down and they become even more reliant on top talent to help them survive and thrive. Be and/or become, quickly, that top talent and you will be able to turn bad market conditions into a significant career springboard. What this means is to dig in early, learn everything you can, find mentors/”allies,” find tough challenges (or ones others seem to avoid) where you can deliver results and create some space to achieve real tangible results. You will get noticed if you do well and that will ensure you have nothing but upside “risk.” And then remember to do all of this even when you find yourself comfortably outside of any particular “crisis” or “recession.”‘ -John Tunison, November 2002 Career Conference

“Remember to prepare for each interview with a mindset of what problem can I solve for the potential employer. As companies face headcount challenges, they are looking for leaders who can wear multiple hats, which as a JMO you are well prepared to do.” -Paul Conrad, January 2015 Career Conference

“Leadership never goes out of style and sometimes folks don’t truly recognize the value until hard times like a recession arrive. I encourage you to leverage on your strengths you developed in the military and the skills that are required in achieving challenging goals and driving continuous improvement – ability to perform under pressure, calmness amid uncertainty and developing teams that focus on the things they can control.” -Kevin Klas, October 1996 Career Conference

“Everything is temporary, and the fortunate thing for companies is that veterans are accustomed to difficult times. This is a selling point for CB candidates. The veteran community endures and finds a way to thrive in this chaos. When our sales numbers are down and attitudes are down, we keep our entire team focused and positive moving forward. This is our time to shine.” -Chris Parks, January 2018 Career Conference

Wise advice from some seasoned business professionals. Many thanks to our alumni for sharing their perspective and advice on how to survive a recession. If you’d like to continue the conversation, give us a call or connect with us on LinkedIn.