Have you ever thought that you might have picked the wrong career path? If so, you're not alone. Ask a friend how they ended up in their career. There's a good chance they just happened to fall into it through a college internship or some network connections.
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You may have started your own career out in a similar way. But then you were on the path, you learned more, you got promoted, and you never looked back – until now.
Many people start to question their career paths because of life events. Perhaps you are getting a little older and would like to do something more meaningful with your time. Perhaps you need something that pays better because you're starting a family.
Or maybe you just don't like your job, plain and simple.
Whatever the reason behind it, the idea of a career reinvention can be daunting. Many say it's virtually impossible to pull off or that career-changers have to start over from the very bottom of the corporate ladder. It is sometimes true that a career shift leads to a pay cut, but that's not a guarantee – and neither is starting over from the bottom.
Take the Reins: You Control Your Career
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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 test something out. Rather, it's time to identify possible alternative careers.
Evaluate your transferable skills. What makes you great at your current job? Could you take those skills and qualities with you to another career? For example, if you're a good public speaker or know how to organize groups of people, these skills can help in all sorts of roles.
Also think about the 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.
Make a list of what you'd like to learn to do in the future, and then 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.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Memphis Daily News.
Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at her firm, Copeland Coaching.