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Steps to a New Job

How you can secure your employment by moving up—or out—in these tough economic times.

With a worsening economy and rising unemployment, a new job—or even a career change—could be in your future. To guide your journey, try these steps.

Research opportunities. Find out which sections in your company might better weather economic turmoil. "Don't be afraid to approach upper management and inquire which departments are likely to grow and which might be more vulnerable," suggests Graciela Kenig, a Chicago-based career development expert.

Boost your knowledge. Earn a degree or take some courses that enhance your skills portfolio, and seek out a coworker as a mentor who can show you some new ropes that will help you transfer to a more secure department, move up, or move on.

Spread your wings. Reassess your experience and the chance of flying solo. That's what Julio Rosado, 45, did before quitting his job at a car insurance company in 2000 and launching an insurance agency in Texas. Before taking off, he found a mentor and used online financial tools to crunch out a start-up budget. He and his wife then sold their home to finance the business. "You must make sacrifices," he says. It's hard work, but he relishes being his own boss—and not waiting for the corporate axe to fall.

Learn what a mentoring relationship can do for you. In this exclusive Q and A, New York fashion buyer Mercedes Gonzalez shares her experience as a mentor.

You may also like: Get the Most Out of Your Money.

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