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Considering a career change? Some caveats...

STAY WHERE YOU ARE until you find the position you are seeking. We all get frustrated with our jobs and are tempted to tell the boss that we have had it and quit.  DON'T!  It may create more problems and perhaps burn a bridge that may be useful when references are needed.

ALLOW SEVERAL MONTHS to secure the position you are seeking. You will want to take your time to find a position appropriate to your experience, education, and skills. The rule of thumb is to allow one month of search time for each 10K of salary. Thus, a position paying 70K may require up to seven months to land.

SHARPEN YOUR SKILLS by taking seminars/workshops/classes that bring you up to speed in the occupation and industry in which you are seeking employment. Community colleges, adult learning facilities, and universities provide abundant opportunities to upgrade your skills.  Remember, software and internet skills are a requirement in any position.

DEVELOP A MARKETING PLAN that includes listing positions and firms that you are targeting; preparing a professional appearing résumé, cover letter, and related marketing materials; expanding your network; and becoming active in professional and community organizations.

TAKE CARE OF DETAILS by obtaining an e-mail address, rewording your answering machine message (no heavy metal) and edit your personal homepage (if applicable) to insure that it is appropriate for viewing by a prospective employer. Make sure there is nothing that would embarrass you on any social media websites such as Facebook.

STRENGTHEN YOUR INTERVIEWING SKILLS by learning about the industry in which you would like to work. For resources use professional magazines and blogs, the business section of your local newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, and the CNN Financial/Business page on the Internet. To develop poise and sharpen your response to typical interview questions asked by employers, interview for positions that are not critical.

DEVELOP YOUR PERSONAL, PROFESSIONAL, AND COMMUNITY NETWORK The best career opportunities are normally not advertised. Most firms put feelers out through their professional networks/industry associations, Rotary contacts, business/personal associates, and golf/tennis friends asking if they know anyone who might be qualified. And do establish a LinkedIn presence.