If you've decided it's time to leave your job, evaluating your current position and researching all the available options are essential steps to achieving success in securing a new role.
Consider what you've learnt from your job, weigh up your strengths and determine which areas you need to develop.
This will leave you in the best position when speaking to recruitment consultancies and employers about what you want to achieve next.
Recruitment consultancies can offer insights about market conditions, which sectors are recruiting and how long the hiring process is currently taking. Ask for salary information and sign up for job alerts.
"A good starting point is to identify particular employers who you are keen to work for and determine what it is that appeals about them to you," said James Murray, Associate Director at Robert Walters.
"Providing this information will help your recruitment consultant to isolate particular opportunities that are likely to be of the most appeal to you."
Choosing a consultancy to register with
Look for an established, specialist consultancy with a good reputation.
Although it is often worthwhile registering with more than one consultancy, too many will lead to your CV being sent to the same organisations.
"Consider the benefits of registering exclusively with one consultancy. Top agencies will actively market your CV to their best clients and target organisations on your behalf," James Murray added.
"Another factor to think about is whether a consultancy works on a commission basis - if so, you will only find out about the handful of roles that your individual consultant is dealing with."
Networking is a great way of tapping into the 'hidden' jobs market, giving you a real advantage over other candidates.
Your network should include everyone who can help direct your job search, such as past and present co-workers, bosses, business partners and friends.
Expand your network through sites such as LinkedIn by engaging with groups and discussion pages relevant to your area of specialisation.
Offline networking should also form an key part of your strategy, attending events and seminars related to your profession.
"Effective networking is an important skill, but many professionals find it uncomfortable. Approach networking events with your focus on how you can assist others," James Murray continued.
"Doing so will improve your confidence in these situations and help create goodwill among other professionals."
Search job boards
Research online job boards that cater to your target industry, using their search engines to filter roles by title, salary and location.
You can create user accounts to upload your CV (for companies to find) but this can be a risky strategy as you have no idea whose desk it may land on.
Read the trade press
Whatever sector you work in, it's critical you understand the issues affecting your profession or industry, so make sure you stay up-to-date with leading trade publications. If you're looking at changing careers entirely, this will give you a flavour for the skills needed to break into a new industry.
Secured your dream job interview? Read the top four things to avoid on the day
Or, find out what you're worth using the Robert Walters Salary Survey