There is an old African proverb that says: "The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago ... the second best time is now."

This accurately encapsulates the soundest piece of advice available when you are looking to make a career move or job change, and that is start now!

There are a huge number of times when I have met individuals in my role as a business and career coach who a) either don't want to start the process of career and job change, or b) simply don't know how to start, or indeed c) feel they have the luxury of time on their side (perhaps because they are on 'gardening leave' or have a redundancy programme in place). All of them some time in the process say that they wish they had started much sooner.

You see, it is the willingness to take action that is the most important step in effecting change of any kind, and this is absolutely essential in the context of job search and career change activity.

But maybe for some of us the way we think about our own career development is fundamentally affected by our preferred behavioural styles and by the attitudes we tend to have. Students of organisational behaviour would recognise two different types of individuals within businesses: externalisers and internalisers. This has nothing to do with extroverts and introverts.

Externalisers feel that their progress in their career and life is influenced by outside factors over which they really have no control. You might often hear colleagues saying things like "You need to be really lucky to get the right role", or "There is just nothing happening in the job market". Internalisers, on the other hand, believe that what happens in the world about them is as a direct consequence of their own behaviours and actions. The more activity they generate, the more opportunities arise and the more they are able to exert a positive influence on their chances for success. In the job market those activities could include setting up informal chats with network contacts who might be instrumental in helping you to make your next move, refreshing your CV, polishing your interview skills, or perhaps responding to a couple of interesting job advertisements in the back pages of this magazine.

It really is your choice: you can wait around for things to happen, you can delay thinking about your career development, or you can take that important first step and start your campaign of action.

So is the job market a bit tough at this moment, or are you going to Plant that Tree now......?

Glenn Steward is a professional business coach and director of The Trading Edge Co