How to Use Your Network to Find Your Next Career

Ready for career change

You’re ready to find your next career. This time, you want to love it. You’re looking for a job that reflects who you really are, pays well, doesn’t drain your energy and makes you excited about going to work.

The problem is, you have no idea what that could be.

Here’s another scenario. You’ve already been thinking about career change for awhile, and you have some clues about what you want to do next. But you don’t know how to get started.

If either of these sound familiar, it’s time to enlist your network. Your circle of friends and associates can play a key role in helping you find your next career. Here are 6 action steps  you can take to put your network to work.    


Get several pieces of paper and a favorite writing implement. (Yes, I’m talking old school.) Think about categories of people you come in contact with–online or off–such as friends, family, colleagues, school pals, workout buddies, neighbors, fellow dog owners, folks you worship with, vendors, favorite retailers. Draw a circle for each group. Within each circle, start a list. The goal here is to cast a wide net. Gather in everyone you can and include their names in the respective circles.


When it comes to finding your next career, there are times for discretion. It’s probably not advisable to broadcast to colleagues (or certainly the boss) that you hate your job. Given your circumstances, to whom can you honestly tell your story, and who will be most honest with you? Mark these with a star. They are your “Kitchen Cabinet.” As you do this, understand the distinction – where discretion might be appropriate, feeling shameful about your situation is not. Don’t let pride get in the way of relaying your career hopes and dreams with people who can help.


In the early phases of finding your next career, you’ll want to get in touch with your passions, and take stock of your strengths. One way to do that is by taking a skills inventory with the people who know you the best. Probe your Kitchen Cabinet for the moments and/or activities when they notice you’re the happiest. Ask them to name 3 things that you’re really good at. Keep track of this.



If I could wave a magic wand, and you could work at any company or for any one person, where and who would that be. Come up with 10 companies or individuals that rock your world. Don’t hold back here. What are the common threads? Check out their staff, Boards of Directors, corporate offices and subsidiaries. Do any of these companies or individuals have connections to where you live? Be open to opportunities that might lead to volunteering or being mentored, because those can lead to a job. These will become important targets as you find your next career.


After decades of successful networking, I’ve realized that most people are just a few degrees of separation away. But it takes sleuthing to discover who in your network might know any of your targets. Now’s the time to check in with all of your circles, and start asking around. Once the info comes in, you’ll create a chart that links your network and targets.



Commit to reaching out to 3 people each week from your network. Go for a diverse group – those that know you well, but also engage with acquaintances. Both will have something to offer. Be ready to listen, ask if they know anyone on your wish list and be open to their suggestions as to who else you could talk to. As you participate in these meetings, your circles will grow. These are the stepping stones that will help you find your next career.

For more career change strategies, get in touch for a complimentary coaching session. Now’s the time to get started!


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