I had lunch with a friend the other day who left her job earlier this year. She relayed to me how she had gotten fed up with a particular client, and so she decided to quit. She had about four months of living expenses saved up, so she figured she was good to go while she looked for another job. Four months later, she finds herself running out of money with no prospects in the pipeline.

I was a little shocked to realize that my friend had seriously underestimated the state of the economy. If, like her, you find yourself in a really unsatisfactory work situation at the moment, leaving your job might be the best thing for your mental health. However, with nearly 10% of Americans out of work altogether and another 9% working fewer hours than they would prefer to, you simply have to have a plan before you can consider quitting on a whim.

Hate Your Job? Have a Plan Before You Quit

The first step in your employment transition should be to figure out what types of positions you will target in your job search. It’s very difficult to position yourself as a candidate if you don’t have a specific goal in mind. Once you determine your career path, carefully consider the people in your network that can help you find another position. Next, spend a lot of time and thought putting together a polished looking resume. Have at least two other people review it for you and provide you with feedback. Even the brightest employees often need help from a professional resume writer to pull together an effective document.

If you’re looking to quit your job, you should begin your networking process while you’re still bringing in a paycheck. You can upload your resume to job boards so that recruiters will find you. It’s a good idea to acquire some networking business cards for yourself—in case you leave your position before a contact has time to get in touch with you at your current company.

I love my work!

The last thing you need to realistically consider before quitting a job is what your financial situation will look like. Bearing in mind that many companies take two months to even respond to an application, and then another month to complete the interview process, many candidates are finding themselves out of work for much longer than they had expected. Can you realistically survive for the next year if, heaven forbid, you aren’t able to find another position immediately?

I wish I could have told my friend these things four months ago. Hopefully, you will avoid her mistake: no matter how bad your day is at work, have a solid plan in place before you quit!

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, speaker and President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast. She creates high-impact, best-in-class, resumes and cover letters that transform job searches into interviews and ultimately job offers. For more information about professional resume writing or to read more career and job search related articles visit http://www.greatresumesfast.com or call 1.800.991.5187.