Dear Matt: With the economy struggling and rising food and gas prices, I am looking into a second job or additional part-time job as a way to make some extra money. Do you have any ideas on how I could go about this? I'd like to find something in a totally different field.

Matt: I asked Twin Cities-based career coach Cindy Edwards to help me answer this question.

One good way to find a part-time job that benefits you not only financially, but professionally and personally, is to start a process that identifies what type of company you would like to work for, what type of work you want to do, what personal needs you have, and what type of people you want to work with, says Edwards, who offers a free 30-minute career assessment to prospective clients.

Ask yourself:

What do I want from an organization? Consider culture, values, industries, products, size and management practices.

What type of work do I want to do? Consider interests, knowledge, skills, abilities and strengths.

What personal needs do I want met? Consider financial needs/wants and life/work balance.

What type of people do I want to work with? Consider personality characteristics, style and communication needs, group values and behaviors.

"Finding your fit when seeking a new job and growing in your career is about matching your personal preferences with what an employer has to offer," says Edwards.

Have you always been curious about working for a certain company or in a certain industry? Check around to see who is hiring. Do you have a hobby or passion you would like to pursue - and get paid for it? Look into opportunities in these fields. Or, do you simply want to find a job that lets you forget about the stress of your full-time job, is close to home and provides some extra money? Identify those key factors and narrow down potential employers.

Remember, even though this is a part-time job, it's important to treat this as seriously as any other job you apply for. Show prospective employers you can do what they need and you will find yourself with a chance to make that extra money while also making more professional contacts.

And, if you get a part-time job that isn't the ideal job or is just a way to make some extra money, use that as motivation to truly understand how important your full-time job is, or how important it is to keep learning new skills in your preferred field. Use your part-time job to motivate you to succeed in your full-time job or career.

Matt Krumrie is a freelance writer from Inver Grove Heights, and has eight years of experience reporting on the employment industry. The first Sunday of each month this column will answer readers’ questions. E-mail questions or subject ideas to