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January is a popular time of year to start looking for a new job. And it’s important to identify whether your dissatisfaction is temporary or seasonal.

Follow these steps to make your career change a success.

Work out why your current job isn’t making you happy – if you are returning to work after the Christmas break, has it left you feeling unmotivated, rather than raring to go? January can make you feel a bit flat after the holidays; however, if you’ve been thinking about it for a while, it is the perfect time to start looking for somewhere new.

To ensure you are moving on from your current job for the right reasons, evaluate the options you have with your current employer. Make a list and decide what is making you unhappy in your role and reach out to your line manager to ask if there are any progression opportunities that could improve your situation.

Go over your options – when you are stuck in a job you dislike, it can be hard to find the time and headspace to work out what you’d like to do instead. Before you start your search for a new job or career, it’s important to invest some time “getting to know yourself”. It might seem tricky or uncertain, but it’s worth doing. Only you have the answers – all you need to do is access them. Knowing what you really want will save time and effort in the long run.

A 15 minute action could include emailing a contact who works in a sector of interest to you i.e. Life coaching – find a local or online life coaching course, or attend networking events. People often wait for a free weekend to start job hunting but in reality, it’s small, consistent actions taken on a daily basis that prove to be the most beneficial.

Do your research – when it comes to searching for a new job, the more information you arm yourself with, the better position you will be in to make a decision. Make a list of what you want, what you need and what you don’t want. Research roles, speak to people who work in your target field, or if possible get some work experience.

Ask for help – it can be helpful to talk through your options with a confidant. Find support, either through existing friends and family, life coaches and mentors, or by connecting with people in the new fields you are considering who may be happy to help you with their insights and knowledge.

Think about joining relevant LinkedIn group and meet people for coffee to have a chat. Networking is the way forward so do as much as possible to support you in your new career.

Focus on quality, not quantity – the coming of a new year may have given you the kickstart you need to find a new opportunity. But before you start applying for jobs, don’t forget the importance of a well-edited application, cover letter and CV. Focus on quality, tailor all applications, even if they are speculative. Avoid ‘one click apply’ buttons and fill in forms with attention to detail to show you’re committed to every application.

Take your time – once you have decided you want to leave, the often long process of finding a new job and the rejection that comes with it – can be challenging. Maintain your motivation by laying out a realistic timetable for the next few months to get you through the stages of searching, applying, interviewing and your notice period.

Looking for a new job doesn’t happen overnight, so stay relevant by updating your skills, knowledge and experience whenever possible.

Good luck.