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Career Advice : To Network or Not to Network?

To Network or Not to Network?

In a tight market there's no question about it
Jo Miller

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After 18 years experience in financial services I now found myself out of work. While I know the importance of networking, I feel I am more comfortable in a group setting. Where do I find such groups or contacts in Chicago.

Great networking opportunities come about when people are gathered for a common purpose and genuinely enjoy each others' company. While Chicago has plenty of job search clubs and networking groups for financial services professionals, try simply doing something you enjoy. Look not for WHAT a group is about, but WHO it is about.

For example - if you would enjoy learning more about public speaking, try Toastmasters. Their clubs have a friendly, supportive atmosphere. Or if you love to exercise, find a running club. Joining a group where you are free to be yourself brings out your best. You'll make real friends faster and feel much more comfortable telling them about your job search.

I am ready for a career change. One of the ideas I have been strongly considering is a career in sales, but I can not decide which field to enter. How can I choose which is most beneficial to me?

What do you love to do? Do you love computer games, reading, beauty products- or what? Create a long list of all things you love to do, then do some research on products and services that relate to each area. Your success will be greatly enhanced by selling a product you believe in. For example if you love outdoor activities, could you sell adventure tours? If you are able to explain a product clearly and confidently, and feel comfortable asking for people's business, selling will come naturally to you.

Is this a good time to change careers?

Quite frankly, no. Starting salaries are low and entry level positions are hard to find.

You may need to learn to love or at least appreciate your current career for a little longer before you kiss it goodbye. Any career change should involve extensive planning and preparation before you get started, and there's never a bad time to plan and prepare. Your first step is to narrow the focus on your new career to the point where you are completely clear on the type of job and company you want to be in. Then research any training or schooling required (now is a great time to take a course or learn a new skill). Next, revise your resume and practice your interviewing skills. Finally, start searching for job openings, contacts and networking. You will be ready just in time for the job market recovery that will inevitably come.

Life Coach Jo Miller is based in Silicon Valley and works with professionals, business owners and executives. Jo says, "I help people take their dreams and give them deadlines." Visit to see testimonials or book a free trial coaching session with Jo.

Last Updated: 24/09/2007 - 3:50 PM

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