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DOES YOUR CAREER CHANGE NEED A REALITY CHECK?

It is a job seeker's prerogative to be interested in a particular type of position. This often means a total career change, and a reality check.

Your current position bores you. You've stayed in it way too long because you needed the security of a weekly paycheck. Now you have found yourself in a situation in which you need to find a new job. Should you apply for the same boring position as your last one or reinvent yourself and follow your dream job?

The answer is surprisingly simple and complex at the same time: Yes, you should follow your dream job. If you cannot afford to do this immediately, apply for the boring position and prepare yourself for the second position part-time if you can. When you are ready, do not expect the job search to be quick or the pay scale to be more or even the same.

Depending on how broad the gap in experience and requirements are, the steeper the learning curve. The steeper the learning curve, the less leverage you will have in negotiating your desired salary. This is because the hiring company is going to train you, and takes that into consideration when making an offer.

Many job seekers make an emotional decision without doing their research to see if they really understand what the position is about and, more importantly, if they qualify.

Being qualified is not limited to experience and abilities. It extends to technical qualifications and credentials such as a required degree or state licensing.

Last, but certainly not least, job seekers fail to properly create a resume that showcases their transferrable skills. Worse, they do not write a compelling cover letter acknowledging that they are changing their career and outlining what they feel are their best qualifications for the new position.

When we say outlining qualifications, we're not talking about communication skills and ability to work well with others. We're talking about tangible experience, even if not an exact match. Do not make the common mistake in confusing qualifications with attributes.

Even if a job ad specifies that the qualifications include many attributes, list these items sparingly and offset them with real specifics such as number of years of experience, industry knowledge, technical skills and required credentials.

Speaking of job ads, which is exactly where you will find the information you need to determine if this type of position is right for you and if you qualify.

Let's take nursing for instance. Maybe you've always wanted to work in a position caring for the elderly or helping people recover from surgery or trauma. Your current position as a customer service representative (CSR) is okay, but it does not fulfill you. Your company is now relocating and you do not want to move that far.

You are in a situation where you will collect unemployment and a severance package, giving you six months to find a new job. You do some soul searching, speak with friends and family members and decide that you want to be a Surgical Technician. Well, that's half the battle. Many people have difficulty just making a decision about what they want to do.

If you were to send out your CSR resume, you would not be considered. Not because you are not a people person, hardworking and efficient. It is because