Staying Focused in a Competitive Industry: Kristen Mozian’s Job Search Story

When you’re looking for jobs out-of-state, it can be tempting to go after anything you can find. But Kristen Mozian had a passion for the economic development sector. So she focused in on this competitive industry and utilized a strong professional network to find a new job that she loves. And it all started by reaching out to one person.

What do you do for a career? Who do you work for?

The Connecticut Small Business Development Center provides no-cost business advising, training, and resources to small business owners and entrepreneurs. My job is to increase awareness and participation in our program.

How did you find your job? What resources did you use? What tool or tactic helped the most?

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is part of a national federal program under the Small Business Administration. I have worked for SBDCs in Oregon in some capacity over the last 7 years. During that time, I went to national conferences in which I met professionals from other SBDCs all over the country.

For family reasons, I started considering moving back to my home state, Connecticut, at the end of 2016, and knew I didn’t want just any job. I am very passionate about my career in economic development and wanted to stay in the field. From the national conferences, I had one professional contact in Connecticut, so I reached out to her.

Long story short, I ended up interviewing and getting her old position. Being an out-of-state candidate, it was nice having someone on the inside being able to put in a good word so I could actually enter the interview process.

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What was the most difficult part of your job search? How did you overcome this challenge?

The biggest challenge for me moving back to Connecticut was to stay in the economic development industry. It’s not the easiest industry to find jobs in, as jobs tend to have low turnover and/or don’t pay well. I was tempted to look outside of the industry but I kept moving toward my long-term career goals and it paid off.

What is the single best piece of advice you would offer other job-seekers?

Build your network and use your network. That advice is offered in every job-seeking advice blog or book, and it is so true. It is important to develop a network of professionals in the industries you’re most interested in when you’re not looking for a job. Be sure to cultivate those relationships so when you are looking for a new opportunity you have a group of supporters behind you.

Why do you love your job?

I love my job because it makes an impact – both on the lives of the small business owners and for the greater economy. I am a big believer and advocate for small businesses, and everyday I get to reach out to small business owners and introduce them to resources that make their goals a reality.