What we Can Learn From Oprah’s Latest Career Change

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and the five steps you need to take to get there.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: Oprah Winfrey attends the Tribeca Tune In: Greenleaf at BMCC John Zuccotti Theater on April 20, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

There’s been some good news to come from American shores today with the announcement that the queen of the small-screen, Oprah Winfrey is back, in a brand-new role that sees the talk-show host, producer and philanthropist bring her star-power to the US version of the 60 Minutes team as a contributor. Since her reign on daytime TV halted in 2011, Oprah has far from put the brakes on career wise: constantly keeping busy with acting gigs on the big-screen, spearheading her own cable network, and penning wildly successful tomes. But it’s her latest endeavour that is sure to bring some much needed perspective to the US audience. Explained by the queen of daytime TV herself, she sees her new gig in the context of divisive world events, explaining her “intention is to bring relevant insight and perspective, to look at what separates us, and help facilitate real conversations between people from different backgrounds.”

With stats suggesting people are making career changes up to seven times during their working life, it’s no surprise that even celebrities as notable as Oprah are ditching their posts and pivoting into new roles. And while they make the slashie-life look easy, it’s a little more than a quick hop, skip and a jump to the other side of the greener field when it comes to career changes. Here, we give you the first five steps you need to consider when deciding how to change career paths.

Pause and ponder
While it’s all well and good to hate your current job title, what’s a little harder to do is evaluate the daily tasks of your role and pinpoint what you enjoy and what sends you into instant-dread. By creating a daily inventory, with a pen a paper next to your desk each day, you can narrow your search of what might be your next move before you start laboriously scrolling through job listings without any idea of what you’re after. This will also help you make a more informed decision on the new roles you are about to apply for, and whether they are actually the right fit for you.

Put on your investigating hat
Once you’ve decided on what your next move might be, the best next step is to speak to people that are already in the belly of your potential new industry. It’s easy to concoct whimsical notions of what your new trade will be like, but by getting informed, you will get real, honest insight on the pros and cons of your new course, while also gaining a practical trajectory for how long it will take you to work your way up into the dream gig. Try your own network first, and make sure your insider is honest and upfront on both positives and negatives of this career path – you need a well-rounded perspective before taking the leap.

Create little missions
When re-navigating to your new destination, making clear and defined goals is a great way to evaluate how long it’s going to take to get there. Start with the end goal and work your way backwards to smaller, achievable goals set within a realistic time frame. Then the whole “career change” idea is not an entirely daunting pursuit, but a small series of gradual steps up a different ladder. Sometimes setting a series of goals can be daunting in itself, so apps like GoalsOnTrack will help get you started, allowing you to record the goal, the purpose behind it, start and end dates (hello accountability!) and even dedicated space for an action plan.

Become the expert
Once you’ve plotted out your trajectory, it’s best to figure out the tools you need to do get the job done. Whether that looks like an online course, night school, or interning in the position you want, doing the ground work at the beginning will have you standing on a strong foundation for future growth and promotions later on. Online platforms like Skillshare provide you with over 14,000 classes spread over diverse categories. Whether it’s tips for freelancing successfully or a beginners guide to the art of SEO, they serve as a great introduction to dip your toe into new skill sets.

Catch their attention
Though you may feel like you are starting your new career from scratch, there is that beautiful (sometimes overused) pairing of buzzwords that employers are always drawn to: transferable skills. Instead of using your resume as just a list of prior experience, see it as more of a creative elevator pitch to show how your career pivot will be able to benefit the company and gives you an edge over other applicants. When it comes to narrowing down what skills you are going to put on your glistening resume, and making sure your ‘pitch’ is quick and effective, Jessica H. Hernandez, an executive CV writer suggests writing your resume with extreme detail, and then going back to edit out anything that is not a skill required in the job you are applying for. Hernandez suggests asking yourself the question: is this point critical to the story I am trying to convey to my employer? If the answer is yes, then leave it in. If not, move onto the next one. That way, your skills will be perfectly targeted to your new role and, dare we say, transferable.

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