American Idol’s Lessons for Job Seekers

Millions tune in, week after week, to see who will be the next American Idol. But did you know that, beyond entertainment, American Idol can help you find and land a job? For all you job seeker “hopefuls,” here are 4 job search tips based on the teachings of AI:

1. Choose the right song. When Idol hopefuls choose the “wrong” song, something just seems off. They’re pitchy. Or too cabaret. Or just boring. To truly shine, contestants need to choose the right song.

Job Seeker Tip: As a job seeker the first step is to choose the right jobs, the ones that match who you are and what you want. If you target the right job opportunities, you’ll find it easy to let your strengths shine through.

2. Authenticity. AI judges have no time for copycat performances. Quicker than you can say “karaoke,” contestants who don’t put their own twist on a song will disappoint the judges.

Job Seeker Tip: Just as with an AI performance, you need to enter the job search arena knowing who you are and what sets you apart. Taking a career interest test can help you understand yourself – your interests, skills, personality — and discover your true calling.

3. Be memorable. AI contenders know that having a good voice is just half the battle. Originality counts and performers (like this season’s Adam Lambert, for example) aren’t afraid to take risks.

Job Seeker Tip: Looking for a job is also a competition. You are competing with hundreds, if not thousands, of other applicants. Don’t send a cookie cutter resume. Make sure your resume stands out and highlights your greatest strengths.

4. Learn to take criticism. Love him or hate him, Simon usually calls it as he sees it whether he’s picking on one contestant’s unfortunate costume choice or complimenting another on an outstanding performance.Job Seeker Tip: If you can find someone to step into Simon’s shoes to provide you with some helpful feedback, perhaps in a kinder and gentler way, your job search will yield better results. Seek out constructive feedback on all aspects of your job search — resume, cover letter, interviewing. And learn how to take the feedback and use it to improve your chances of landing a job.

You are going to face many Simons, says career counselor, Heather Hay, “and being able to smile in the face of adversity while maintaining your composure is essential.” Move on, keep a positive attitude, and know that eventually you’ll have a starring role in a great job — which is even better than receiving a standing O!

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