Oprah’s Advice for a Great Career


Oprah Winfrey is undeniably one of the most powerful and effective communicators of our time.

So, when she shares advice for a great career, we take note!

Recently, Oprah gave the commencement address to University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism graduates. Unsurprisingly, her 23-minute speech was packed with inspirational and worthwhile advice all new entrants to the workforce would be well advised to follow.

Here are a few takeaways from her speech:

The best career lessons stand the test of time.


By her own admission, Oprah didn’t have any new lessons to share, but she said, “I often think that it’s not the new lessons, so much as it is really learning the old ones again and again.”

Just because the career advice you hear from others isn’t revelatory, that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. In fact, “tried and true” career recommendations are often the best. Oprah listed many simple things we’ve all heard that form the foundation of a successful career:

  • Make your bed
  • Eat a good breakfast
  • Recycle
  • Pay your bills on time
  • Put your phone away at the dinner table
  • Be nice to kids, animals and your elders
  • Do not equate money and fame with accomplishment and character
  • Do the right thing, even when nobody else is looking

Your job may not always fulfill you. Show up and do your best anyway.


In her address, Oprah said, “Your job is not always going to fulfill you. There will be some days that you just might be bored. Other days, you may not feel like going to work at all.” But, she also said that you shouldn’t let those boring, unfulfilling days deter you. She continued by saying, “Go anyway…The number one lesson I can offer you is…to become so skilled, so vigilant, so flat-out fantastic at what you do that your talent cannot be dismissed.”

To build a fulfilling career, you need to work hard, even on the unfulfilling days:

  • Even when you’re tired or bored
  • Even when someone else takes credit for your work
  • Even when tasks are menial or dirty

Career success doesn’t come from being perfect – or by trying to “one up” others.


It comes from having a strong work ethic, striving to learn more and having enough passion and dedication to something that you excel in it.

Oprah concluded her address by reminding graduates to stop comparing themselves with others. “Your life journey is about learning to become more of who you are and fulfilling the highest, truest expression of yourself as a human being,” she said. “That’s why you’re here. You will do that through your work and your art, your relationships, and your love.”

Are you a recent graduate looking for work?


You’re in luck: It’s a great time to be entering the job market! Unemployment is at historic lows, and employers are competing to hire talented, motivated people like you. Here are two ways to make your search more successful: