Published: 08/12/2005 Volume 115 No. 5985 Page 39

So you know for certain that your present job will end. How do you find a new one? Do not aim too narrowly by putting lots of constraints on what you would accept in a job. Often this means creating irreconcilable demands on what you are looking for - for instance, liking the security and status of a 'proper' job yet yearning for the excitement and unpredictability of freelance consultancy.

When the job pack states 'essentials', take them seriously. The more specific they are, the less likely you are to be shortlisted if you cannot satisfy a requirement such as fluency in a foreign language or statutory licensing.

Similarly, never ignore unstated but common sense requirements such as the importance of sector experience, or applying for a job for which you are grossly over-qualified.

Be clear what you really want and face up to any contradictions - for instance, it is unlikely that any senior job will be stress-free. If being stressfree is your aim, you might be better off seeking part-time work or downsizing your ambitions. Be realistic about whether your experience is likely to fit the profile of any potential new job and focus your efforts on what you are wellequipped to do through experience, qualifications and aptitude.

Most job searchers know about the visible job market - whether in a magazine like HSJ or online. Far fewer consider the invisible market - the place where many more jobs can be found. Tap into this through skillful networking; approach your contacts directly for advice on your next move, as well as seeking secondments and attachments.

The most senior jobs virtually always have headhunter involvement. Identify the people who specialise in your kind of job by asking your human resources director for advice, looking at job ads and contacting relevant agencies.

Once you have made contact with a likely headhunter, keep the contact warm. Never be coy - if you are too modest it may suggest you think too small for the job. And finally, be available. If you are never there to talk or do not return calls promptly, the headhunter will quickly lose interest.

Jenny Rogers is an executive coach specialising in the public sector and is director of Management Futures.