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So, New Years is over and, what with one thing and another, you’ve already broken most of your resolutions. Still, there’s no shame in delaying climbing Everest or learning Spanish for another year; but what about getting that next big break? Maybe you’re stuck in a job below your abilities, maybe you just want a challenge, or maybe Steve from accounts has just swiped your expensive biscuits again. Whatever the reason, you’re ready to move on, and 2013 is the year you make it big. For all of you January jobseekers, here is our indispensable guide to segueing gently from whatever career dead-end you’re stuck in to your dream job:

Starting Your Search

First, you need to get your research on. Unless you’ve got your eye on a similar role, now’s the time to start thinking realistically about your goals. Where do you want to be in five years’ time? Provided you haven’t set yourself an impossible target (like CEO or something), you’ve now got a good starting point. Read up on your chosen area, identify at what level someone with your specific experience could come in and start looking for likely roles. Don’t over or underestimate yourself; even if it’s in a whole new industry you’ve probably got transferable skills. Identify these skills and build on them; you’ll be surprised to learn just how talented you are.

Acquire New Skills

If you have a dream sector in mind, but sadly lack a fundamental qualification, now may be the time to go back to school. I know, I know, but it’s not all bad news. Short, compact courses can bring you up to speed in weeks, while their part-time counterparts can still see you qualified in well under six months. Best of all, they’re affordable and look fantastic on the CV. Once you’ve identified areas for improvement, choose a course tailored to your specific needs, rather than something broad and generic. Knowing what your dream career requires should allow you to zero in on exactly what an employer wants to see; use that knowledge, choose wisely and get learning!

Managing Your Search

This is where things get a little difficult. As anyone who has ever been made redundant will tell you, looking for work is a fulltime job in itself. If you’re already doing a full week, that can leave precious little time for real life as it is. The simplest solution is to search from work. It’s OK, everyone does it; just make sure you’re sensible. Don’t, for the love of God, use company email; or start asking your manager for references before you’ve got a lead. Carry on as always, give the job your all, and use your downtime to sneakily plan your exit. If you’re offered an interview, request the 8am or lunchtime slot; it saves you having to think up increasingly-creative excuses to explain your absence.

At the end of the day, you want your last months at your current job to be stress-free; keep things professional, don’t let on your plans to jump ship and put in the extra hours searching. When you finally make your escape, it’ll all seem worth it.

Leave Gracefully

So you did it. You did that course, got the interview and now you’re home free. Congratulations. You may well be feeling invincible, but a quick word of caution: now is not the time to live out those ‘sticking it to your boss’ fantasies. In the long run, leaving gracefully is going to do you more favours; with references, contacts and fallbacks than telling your boss what you really think of them. After all, you’re gonna be outta here in two weeks; better just put it all behind you with a smile and get on with preparing for your new life, rather than spend it plotting your bosses ‘hilarious’ comeuppance.    

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Matt is a writer and researcher for http://www.legalweekjobs.com, get in touch for thousands of opportunities in the legal sector worldwide. Have you stuck to your resolutions?

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