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ImageDear Career Coach
My company is going through a retrenchment exercise and has asked for volunteers to take redundancy. I have been with the company for 15 years and been lucky enough to receive a lot of training. But for the last few years I have been in the same job and feel as though I am getting stale and not using my skills. I would really like the challenge of a new job. My problem is that, even though I am single and have no dependents, I am worried that this might be the wrong time to make a change. But I also dread staying in this job for even another year. What do you think I should do?

Sandra, UK

The real question, Sandra, is what you think you should do. I re-read your e-mail a couple of times and it seems to me that you already know the answer. I hear you say that you have developed skills that you feel you are not using, that you find your job boring and that you want a new challenge. This sounds as though you have reached the end of the road as far as your present role is concerned.

The real obstacle that you identify is how to find a new job in this economic climate. While it may be more difficult to find a job at this time, I don't think that's a good enough reason to continue feeling bored and stifled. So what are your options?

Although your company is aiming to downsize, it is still worth enquiring about alternative roles within the company that may make better use of your skills than what you are currently doing. Alternatively, will the impending retrenchment exercise create some new opportunities or new responsibilities for your role if you stay?

If the internal opportunities don't exist, external opportunities do. My assumption is that 15 years of service should provide you with a redundancy package that will give you time to search for a new and more rewarding job. But before you rush to take the offer, think carefully about what you would like to do next. Assess the skills that you have developed and research the kind of job roles that you are interested in.

Then brush up your CV and make sure that it highlights the skills and experience that you want to be using in your next job. Plan your job search campaign thoroughly: research the right recruitment agencies to register with, identify some companies that may be worth approaching directly, read the publications and magazines that advertise relevant jobs, and start actively networking. Make a list of actual and potential contacts who can help you find out more about the job roles you want, talk to people doing similar jobs to learn more about what is needed, and follow up on all the referrals and advice that you are given.

Once you have some clarity about where you are going, you will be amazed at how many opportunities really are out there. Even in an economic downturn, you can find a job  if you stay focused and learn to make the most of your opportunities.

Best of luck!

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