Believe it or not, you are better equipped to land your dream job than you ever were, and changing careers can be an opportunity for advancement if you approach it wisely.

Chances are you've contemplated your ideal job. Maybe you've even landed a good job, but it hasn't worked out as you'd imagined. Believe it or not, you are better equipped to land your dream job than you ever were, and changing careers can be an opportunity for advancement if you approach it wisely.

Visualising your ideal job is useful early in a career change, but planning your route will increase your chances of success. Before going on the job hunt it's a good idea to answer the following questions. The more specific your answers the better.

• Why are you looking for a new career?

Are you looking to improve your income, environment, or effectiveness? Are you pursuing a new opportunity or want to learn a new skill? If you feel like it's time for a change there's probably a good reason for it, but it's also a good idea to maintain what you've already built.

A career change will likely be easiest within your network of past and current employers, so ask if they have any opportunities which may suit you. Whether or not you find a new job with them, try to keep on good terms as you may need them as references later.

• What requirements do you have in a job?

Your practical requirements are a great place to start when changing jobs. Are you looking for a job with a specific salary, location or time commitment? How flexible are you with each? It's a good idea to research the industry's presence, salaries, and what's involved in doing the job you're after.

Online forums and search engines are a great tool to gain insight and feedback from workers already in the field. Talking with people face to face is even better (i.e. at places of business, parties or conventions) as it will grow your network. Don't be discouraged if you come up short in your research. Perhaps there's an opportunity to help build an industry!

In addition to factors that will affect your lifestyle, your happiness at work is important to consider. Will a new career provide an upgrade to your work environment, responsibility and impact? When you do land your dream job will it continue to stimulate, challenge and fulfill you? Even dream jobs have ups and downs, but you'll minimise the risks by predicting and preparing for the challenges.

• What options are currently available?

After you've pinpointed exactly what you're looking for it's time to consider your options. Are you looking for something beyond what your current employer can offer? Would you be just as happy with a promotion if one was offered? Perhaps there's a solution hiding in plain sight, and someone you already know could be waiting for the right candidate to express interest.