Job Hunting is Like American Idol

To Be a Rising Star: Job Seekers Have to Know How to Shine

All the American Idol contestants from the first year to now have had to endure a long road and a tough contest in their search for the brass ring.

Job seekers are very much in the same situation. There is a lot of competition in the world of work; people with more experience, education, and, quite frankly, more talent. However, perseverance, determination and a little bit of heart can go a long way in helping candidates succeed.

What job seekers – just like the Idol competitors – need to understand is there are rules and in order to be successful – on Idol or in any other career choice – it is important to know what they are.

1. There Will Always Be Critics

You may go for an interview and do well with everyone except one holdout – let’s call him Simon. Whether or not Simon influences the final decision depends greatly on Simon’s role in the organization.

If he is the human resources professional who conducts the initial interview or the hiring manager who makes the final choice, then this is an important person to win over. However, if Simon is just one of many who participate in a long series of face-to-face meetings with candidates (kind of like Simon’s real-life role on American Idol), he may have his say, but may ultimately not impact the final outcome.

2. Personality Does Pay Off

Cute and just a little bit cheeky pays off big for American Idol. And while that same behavior isn’t recommended for Corporate America, it is important that you don’t come across as drab and uninteresting.

Candidates for employment, just like Idol contestants, need to be charming and upbeat. If a job seeker has been making the rounds and is running out of patience for the entire job search process, that disappointment or frustration should not come across in the interview.

3. Dress to Impress

Is this an old saying or what? Unfortunately, it still holds up today. And many an Idol contestant has wandered out onto the stage in inappropriate or ill-fitting clothes only to face rude comments. Don’t make that same mistake.

Appropriate interview wear does not have to be a business suit; however, it does have to be appropriate for the company and position for which the candidate is being considered. Nice slacks with shirt and tie or a skirt and blouse may be equally appropriate.

4. If You’ve Got it, Flaunt it

In this case, we mean talent. This year for the first time, American Idol contestants are allowed to showcase their musical talent by accompanying themselves on an instrument.

What job seekers can draw from this is that they should take every opportunity to demonstrate their unique ability or special skills by making sure to communicate to employers why they offer something the competition doesn’t.

For the Idol contestants that may mean playing the guitar or showcasing their unusual vocal style. For job seekers, it may mean telling potential employers about their one-of-a-kind job experience or technical know-how.

5. There is Only One Winner

They may invite you in, but you can’t always win. Just like on American Idol, there’s only room for one at the top. At the end of the day, it just may be that someone else is given the job.

It may be disappointing, but it’s part of the process. It just means that candidates have to continue their search. The good news is that unlike the American Idol castoffs, there will be the next week to try it all over again.