Why Every Job Seeker Must Watch American Idol

American IdolOK I admit it, just like the O’Jays crooned back in the day, ‘I Love Music, Any Kind Of Music.’ But even if you are not a music lover this show is worth watching for the valuable job search tips you can glean from it. And to pay tribute to Idol 2011 and new talent acquisition specialists Steven Tyler and J Lo, until they anoint a new winner in May I am offering all readers a free resume critique and a 10% discount should you decide to hire me.

Now over the next few weeks I will be pointing out what job hunters from coast to coast can learn from this show.      .


What does every job hunter, from a CEO down to a hotel Maid in Manhattan (sorry J Lo, no disrespect intended), have in common?  You’re right – they are all looking for a new, better paying, and/or more satisfying job; and for some the quest is costlier than it is for others in terms of time, effort, frustration, money and pride.

All kidding aside, job hunting is serious business. Every one of the COUNTLESS contestants who auditioned for this show had a purpose for entering and this is a must for every job seeker as well. So, know this in no uncertain terms, every search must begin with a positive outlook and a defined purpose for each action you take or you’re doomed before you begin.

Now the first point of comparison between your job search and the quest to be named the American Idol winner is the sheer volume and comparative quality of the competition, and the initial screening process.  The next is how important it is to draw attention to you from the get-go and impress the judges with more than just talent alone.

This is how it works in both cases. TV talent scouts and producers screen the big crowds in large groups in each city for the show. Then the executive producers audition smaller groups looking for a combination of talent and panache and then they select 100 or so candidates to audition live on TV for the judges.

In a job search there are usually 100-1000 people who submit a resume for a single job advertised on multiple platforms i.e. job boards, company website, ads, etc. and if you’re lucky enough to get through the ATS and initial screeners scrutiny you will get a phone screen and/or a meet and greet first interview.

Now looking at the shows competition (people with no talent but some entertainment value aside), the audition cuts always include a high percentage of highly talented singers who just could not find a personal brand to stand out in the field.

The same holds true in a job search. The majority of people submit a résumé that puts them in the middle of the pack while others with equal talent whose résumés stand out with their personal brand are chosen in greater proportion to go on to the next level.

So lesson #1 is to know how much competition you face and to find ways to set yourself apart from them.


Perry Newman, CPC CSMS is a nationally recognized executive resume writer, career coach, AIPC certified recruiter and SMMU certified social media strategist known for his ability to help his clients get results. You can view his sample resumes at http://www.perrynewman.com, and email him your resume at perry@perrynewman.com for FREE resume critique.

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