A recent poll of 311 users of agent information tool gazetteers.com showed a third (33%) have started the new year with the intention of finding a new job.

Changing jobs was the most popular ambition, above a new look (28%), new house (23%) and a new relationship (17%).

But with the current economic climate and high unemployment, some travel personnel may be scared to take the plunge. We asked recruitment expert Angus Chisholm, managing director of C&M Recruitment, for some tips.

Is now a good time to look for a new job?

2012 will be another challenging year. However, there will always be businesses and individuals who prosper. We have seen a consistent and good number of permanent vacancies across the travel and hospitality sectors throughout 2011 despite a lot of negative sentiment, and this looks set to continue. We expect to see some positive signs in the second half of 2012 and businesses will plan recruitment strategies to deal with any upturn in confidence, which should mean more opportunities.

What should I do first?

The first thing is to ask yourself why you want to leave your current position, to ensure it is for the right reasons. Then take time to identify the type of position you want and with which companies. Time spent researching thoroughly will always be well spent. It will help you make the best decision about other companies and vacancies, and is also excellent preparation for interviews.

How easy is it to swap sectors within travel?

There are a certain roles that are easier to move between as the skills can be transferred reasonably easily, such as a tailor-made travel consultant and a business travel consultant. One of the great things about the travel industry is that it often requires ‘soft’ skills as opposed to specific qualifications. The key is getting an interview to show you have the right skills.

What do travel sector employers value most?

The industry often requires strong people skills as opposed to qualifications. From our experience, employers prefer experience to qualifications for most positions; having both is clearly advantageous. There are of course roles where qualifications would be desirable, such as accounting, marketing and IT.

How important is my CV?

A good CV is vital as it’s the tool that will be used to determine whether you get the chance to impress at an interview. I don’t think paying for a single CV to be put together is the way to go, as each CV should be bespoke. Research every role and company, and write your CV accordingly. It’s vital that any CV and covering letter are tailored specifically for the vacancy. A competent recruitment consultancy will help with your CV for free and should help secure an interview as they will have the ear of hirers they work with.