Knowing how to plan your career search can be just as important as having the right qualifications.
To do things right you need to do more than just surf Internet job boards or register with a recruitment consultancy. Think of your career search as a full time job in itself: It takes time to research and locate your ideal role. Be prepared to put as much effort into your search as you would into a full time job and if you are already employed, set aside some time every day to devote to your search.
Don't just blanket the market with CVs or register with hundreds of job boards. Spend time thinking about what you really want out of your job and make a list of the five most important points: Work/life balance? Fast track career development? Overseas travel? Then consider your skills and experience - as you review job opportunities look for those that match both your priorities and your skills.
Try to objectively assess how in-demand your skills are. A specialist recruitment consultancy can often help with this as they are talking to employers in your market every day.
Make sure that you focus on abilities and achievements rather than just the experience that you have had.
It is vital to undertake some background research about the organisation that is interviewing you and their business sector. Make sure that your job search involves keeping up to date with what is going on across the wider business world by reading the Financial Times or the Economist and at least one major generalist broadsheet. It is also worth setting up your own files on relevant sectors and keeping press cuttings so that you are aware of developments in a particular area when an interview arises.
Once an interview has been arranged, get hold of an annual report and any product or services brochures that are available. These should be widely available on the company's website and your recruitment consultant will have visited the client as part of the recruitment process, so pick their brains about corporate structure, culture, personality mix, etc.
There may be, as has been widely reported, a war for talent out there, but employers will still look to recruit the best - planning and research therefore will be key to your success.
By David Leyshon, Managing Director of specialist engineering and technical recruiter, CBSbutler.