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Have you ever wondered if you might have picked the wrong career path? If so, you’re not alone.

Ask a friend, “How did you end up in your career?” There’s a good chance they’ll say that they just happened to fall into whatever it is that they do. Perhaps they happened to get a particular internship during college that happened to lead to a job. Or, maybe their parents were connected to a certain company. Or, they had a friend who contacted them about a job.

You may have started your own career out in a similar way. And, once you were on the path, you learned more about the field, were promoted, and never looked back – until now.

Typically, you begin to question your career path because of a life event. For example, maybe you’re getting a little older and you’d like to do something more meaningful. Perhaps you’ve been doing something meaningful that doesn’t pay well and you need to make more money because you’ve started a family. Or, you may not like your job – plain and simple.

Whatever the reason, the idea of career reinvention can be daunting. We often hear that it’s virtually impossible, or that we’ll have to start from the very bottom. Sometimes, a big career shift does require us to take a pay cut, but it’s not a guarantee. Neither is starting at the bottom.

The first key to reinventing your career is to take the reins yourself. This isn’t the time to fall into another career path, or to try to get your foot in the door just to test something out. It’s time to identify possible alternative careers. Evaluate your transferable skills. What are the things that make you great at your current job that you could take with you to another type of career? For example, perhaps you’re a good public speaker or maybe you know how to organize groups of people. These skills can help in all sorts of roles.

Also, think about the other skills you have that may not be spelled out on your resume. For example, you may work at a nonprofit, but on the side, you’ve been investing in real estate. Make a list of the knowledge you have that’s not outlined on your resume. Find ways to incorporate this information into your existing resume. You might add a section for volunteering, consulting, skills or leadership.

Then, make a list of what else you’d like to learn to do in the future and figure out how to get there. Do you wish you knew more about computers? If so, look for classes you can take. Look for a nonprofit, or small company where you might volunteer your services to learn “on the job.” Don’t wait for your future boss to see something in you. Find it yourself, and look for ways to nurture this new skill.

The best news is, your timing is perfect for change. What would you like to do differently in 2017?

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

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