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Networking is critical to landing your next job, but when you are changing careers, your network will predominately be helpful to your old career, not your new one. Furthermore, your existing network will have existing expectations and opinions of you and may have a harder time seeing you in your new career. Therefore, changing careers often means changing your network. Here are seven networking contacts to prioritize for your career change:

Cheerleaders

Changing your network doesn’t mean deserting your existing network. In fact, the cheerleaders you already know – the most optimistic, supportive people – are critical to your career change. These will be people who can motivate you when you’re frustrated or encourage you when you feel stuck. Stay in touch with these people, and spend your breaks with them.

Do not assume that all your close friends are cheerleaders. Some people are more cynical and may discourage you , thinking they are looking out for your best interest. Some people are so fearful about their own careers or taking risks in their career that they project these fears onto you. Steer clear of naysayers as you embark on your career change. You will have enough self-doubt to contend with, without also having to reassure your supposed friends!

Connectors

Other important contacts for your career change who may already be in your network are connectors – the sociable, outgoing people who always seem to know everyone and what’s going on. These connectors might be in people-intensive careers, such as sales or professional services. Or they might just have personalities that lend themselves to always being out and about. Whatever the reason, these connectors are critical to your career change because they are more likely to know about your new field, or at least know someone who knows.

If you haven’t kept up with your connectors recently, don’t just assume that their wealth of relationships means that they will readily share these relationships with you. Make sure to rekindle your relationship with these connectors well before asking for information, or certainly an introduction. Stay in touch with your connectors with outreach that is helpful and useful to them.

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Shutterstock

Networking is critical to landing your next job, but when you are changing careers, your network will predominately be helpful to your old career, not your new one. Furthermore, your existing network will have existing expectations and opinions of you and may have a harder time seeing you in your new career. Therefore, changing careers often means changing your network. Here are seven networking contacts to prioritize for your career change:

Cheerleaders

Changing your network doesn’t mean deserting your existing network. In fact, the cheerleaders you already know – the most optimistic, supportive people – are critical to your career change. These will be people who can motivate you when you’re frustrated or encourage you when you feel stuck. Stay in touch with these people, and spend your breaks with them.

Do not assume that all your close friends are cheerleaders. Some people are more cynical and may discourage you , thinking they are looking out for your best interest. Some people are so fearful about their own careers or taking risks in their career that they project these fears onto you. Steer clear of naysayers as you embark on your career change. You will have enough self-doubt to contend with, without also having to reassure your supposed friends!

Connectors

Other important contacts for your career change who may already be in your network are connectors – the sociable, outgoing people who always seem to know everyone and what’s going on. These connectors might be in people-intensive careers, such as sales or professional services. Or they might just have personalities that lend themselves to always being out and about. Whatever the reason, these connectors are critical to your career change because they are more likely to know about your new field, or at least know someone who knows.

If you haven’t kept up with your connectors recently, don’t just assume that their wealth of relationships means that they will readily share these relationships with you. Make sure to rekindle your relationship with these connectors well before asking for information, or certainly an introduction. Stay in touch with your connectors with outreach that is helpful and useful to them.

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