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Career-Life Times, Issue #34--American Idol’s Top 7 Lessons for Job Seekers
February 04, 2007

Issue 34, Feb. 4, 2007

Ready to GET HIRED, GET NOTICED, and GET AHEAD? Read on...

In This Issue:

  • American Idol’s Top 7 Lessons for Job Seekers
  • Jobster May Be Your Best Path to a New Job
  • Got a Web Cam? Create an Interview Video
  • Changing Careers After 50--What You Must Know!
  • Cover Letter Writing: The Secret To Getting Your Dream Job
  • Resources
  • Worth Quoting
  • Just for Laughs
  • Random Rants & Ramblings

    American Idol’s Top 7 Lessons for Job Seekers

    The Fox network’s hit reality show American Idol (AI) is watched by millions of viewers. Whether or not you’re a fan of the show, it has some valuable lessons if you’re in the market for a new job.

    After all, an audition is very much like a job interview, and the panel of judges are like hiring managers--some are encouraging, sensitive and polite, while others can be negative, insensitive and downright mean. (Fortunately, most hiring managers are more like AI judges Randy Jackson or Paula Abdul than judge Simon Cowell.)

    Here are seven lessons job seekers can learn from AI:

    1. Determine whether you’ve chosen the right career path.

    Many of us fantasize about being a rich and famous pop star or rock singer. Very few of us actually decide to pursue that as a serious career path.

    During the second episode of the 2007 season of AI, Simon said to one contestant, “This is not the career path for you.” That was actually kinder than most of his rejections, but he made a valid point. As with any type of job, just fantasizing about doing it is not enough. Even wanting it more than anything in the world is not enough. You have to be right for the career, and the career has to be right for you.

    See related Lesson 3.

    2. Research the position and the company.

    This season a contestant told the panel he’d seen only one or two episodes of AI and wasn’t a fan. That’s like saying during an interview, “I haven’t bothered to read the job description or research your company. But I think this place sucks.”

    Many contestants are shocked at Simon’s scathing comments. Haven’t they ever watched the show? They should not only watch it, they should record every episode and study every comment and decision made by the judges!

    Doing research about the position and the company is one of the most important—and most often ignored—steps you can take to boost your chances of success. With the world of information available on the Internet, there’s no excuse for not doing such research.

    3. Know your strengths and make sure you have the right skills for the job.

    This is probably more difficult for AI contestants than regular job seekers. Some are clearly delusional about their singing talent (or lack thereof). But many are encouraged to compete by their friends, family members, and even singing coaches who rave about their abilities!

    One female contestant who had been rejected by all three judges refused to accept their apparent failure to recognize her talent. “I’ve had 10 years of formal singing lessons!” she argued. “My coach says I have great talent!”

    Don’t rely on opinions from family or friends -- or paid coaches whose motive is to suck your money by encouraging you to keep trying (and keep paying them).

    If doing an accurate self-assessment would be difficult, try to get honest opinions from people who have no reason to spare your feelings, nor incentive to lie.

    Discover your true strengths—and your weaknesses. Compare your strengths, talents and skills to those required for the position, and make sure they match.

    4. Anticipate likely questions; prepare great answers.

    “Why are you here?” and “Do you really think you can win?” are questions often asked of AI contestants. All should expect those questions and be prepared to answer them.

    As with many job interview questions, they seem unnecessary because the answers should be obvious, right? But even with such simple, basic questions, the answers will vary quite a bit—and often give the interviewer good insights into the personality of those giving them.

    Take the “Do you really think you can win?” question as an example and compare these actual answers:

    Contestant One: “Yes.”
    Contestant Two: “Absolutely! I’ve been an AI fan since the beginning. I know what you’re looking for, and I’m going to rock your world!”

    While some may think that second answer is a bit much, it made Simon and the other judges visibly sit up and pay close attention—quite an accomplishment when you consider the volume of excruciatingly bad auditions those exhausted judges had already endured that day!

    What you say is very important; but so is how you say it.

    5. Personality matters.

    The winner of AI is rarely the best singer. That’s simply not enough. He or she must also have a personality that fits the image of an idol; one that people will love.

    Likewise, the winner of a job interview is not necessarily the person with the best skills. Personality matters. An interview is no place to be timid or low-key… or arrogant and loud. People want to hire people they like. Let your likeable (yet professional) personality show.

    6. Don’t take it personally if you don’t get the job.

    The odds of winning the AI contest are astronomical, even for extraordinarily talented singers. Yet many contestants are heartbroken, shocked, or outraged when they find out they won’t be receiving the “golden ticket” that allows them to advance to the next round. Some swear at the judges and even look ready to punch someone (usually Simon) in the face (no wonder beefy security men are lurking just out of sight of the cameras)!

    AI fans may remember William Hung. He was virtually laughed off the stage during his audition. But despite being unanimously rejected, he became sought-after and famous (for a while) in his own right. This would never have happened if he’d shown anger, disgust, or arrogance at not “getting the job.”

    For every available job, there are likely dozens of highly qualified applicants. Accept that the odds are usually against you.

    Disappointment is natural. But becoming angry at the decision maker will do you absolutely no good. Remain professional, receive feedback graciously, and think about how to improve your chances of winning the next job. You never know what other opportunities you may be sabotaging if you show negative behavior!

    7. Don’t give up on your dreams.

    Can you imagine if former AI contestant (and current successful singer and Academy Award nominee) Jennifer Hudson had given up on her dreams after being voted off the show during the third season?

    Persevere! If you truly have the talent, skills, and passion to fulfill your dreams, and you’ve accepted the lessons of this article, don’t let anyone discourage you.

    Go forth and live the life you’ve imagined!

    Jobster May Be Your Best Path to a New Job

    According to an article in the January/February 2007 issue of Business 2.0 magazine entitled "Taking on the Recruiting Monster," recruiters and hiring managers are switching from online job board giants like, and to an exciting, more user-friendly site:

    Jobster is different because it combines elements of social networking with a focus on the recruiter's/employer's perspective, and because it offers a more personalized and customizable tool for job seekers. It makes matching the right person to the right job much easier.

    If Jobster is becoming the recruiting tool of choice by more and more hiring managers, smart job seekers will take advantage of this. Go to Jobster, create a profile, tag yourself, rank your skills, get noticed and get hired!

    Here's the link:

    Got a Web Cam? Create an Interview Video

    I recently received an interesting email from the creators of a new website called Their site offers job seekers the opportunity to record an interview video via a web cam, which they can "attach" to their resumes via a link.

    Basically, as a job seeker you would go to their site and fill out a brief form to start the process. They will provide you with sample interview questions which you answer while recording yourself with your own web camera. The resulting interview video would be stored on their site, and you would receive a link to it that you would include in your resume (and anywhere else you wanted to post it).

    The idea is that someone reading your resume online (anywhere your resume resides) could click on that link and watch your interview video.

    This sounds like a great way to differentiate yourself from other job candidates. Just be careful that the video you create will enhance your image to potential job seekers, not do the opposite. Look neat and professional, speak clearly, give thorough answers to the questions... the same type of preparations as for any other type of interview.

    Because I do not have a web cam, I could not test this service personally. But they offer a money-back guarantee, and I've talked them into offering a F*R*E*E* trial period through February 28th. So if you're interested, please don't delay.

    I'd love to hear some feedback from anyone who uses this service.

    Here's the link:

    Changing Careers After 50--What You Must Know!

    This is a guest article by Dr. David McDermott

    If you’ve heard of the “The Apprentice”, the NBC show hosted, written, and produced by Donald Trump, involving entrepreneurs competing for a chance to land the ultimate job, you might have also heard of a law suit that was filed against him, by a Richard J. Hewett, a rejected applicant claiming he was turned away because of age discrimination.

    Changing your career at any age can be a scary and stressful situation, but making a career change after 50 can leave you dealing with an entirely new set of issues. Not only do you consider age discrimination, but you think about having to learn new job duties, your physical capabilities, keeping up with the younger employees, and whether this job change is in your best interests at this time of your life.

    If you’re thinking about making a career change after 50, here are some things you must know.

    Assessment: Make an assessment of your life and the things that truly make you happy.

    Do not Rush: You’ve made it this far so don’t rush into the first job that comes along. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Consider all your options.

    Career Counseling: Talk to a career counselor. You don’t want to change your entire life if you’re going through a mid-life crisis. Talking to a career counselor can help you make good choices whether you need a new career or just a life change.

    Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness: Don’t change your career to make more money if it’s not a job you can be happy with. Money doesn’t make you happy. Choose a career that provides you with an income you’re comfortable with and allows you to enjoy your job.

    Skills: When you’re in your 50’s it’s not unusual to realize the importance of making the most of your skills and knowledge. While this is something anyone with a job thinks about, as you get older you might want to also consider fulfilling your mental or spiritual needs.

    Don’t be Afraid: Changing careers is a stressful time no matter what anyone says. Ask your family and friends for support when you need it.

    Possibilities: Do a reality check. Set goals that you can achieve and are obtainable. Don’t confuse your dreams with reality.

    Resentment: Don’t resent your younger co-workers. You were once in their shoes. They need you just as much as you need them!

    Contacts: Don’t be afraid to use old contacts when you’re thinking about making the big change. They might have some helpful information you can use.

    Alternatives: Maybe full-time work is not for you. Look at other alternatives such as volunteering, temp-work, consulting, part-time work, or maybe a combination of these.

    Keep in Shape: As you get older it is most important that you stay healthy and fit, both mentally and physically. Make sure you maintain a positive outlook on life. Wisdom and health is a powerful combination!

    Go with the Flow: As you get older it’s not always easy to agree with the younger generation. Learn not to be a stick in the mud. Times have changed and you need to be flexible.

    Making a career change after 50 is not always easy, but it is possible. With a little persistence, a healthy and positive attitude, and the support of family

    Dr. David McDermott walked away from a career as a plastic surgeon where he was helping people change on the outside. He now teaches profound personal change from the inside out, using the Ultimate Decision Making Model, you're own! Find out more at

    Cover Letter Writing: The Secret To Getting Your Dream Job

    This article was submitted by Aaron Krall

    What is the first thing your future potential employer will see? Is it your resume? Your immaculate shiny shoes? You in your nice new suit?


    Even before your future employer sees your resume, he/she will see your cover letter. In fact your cover letter may be more important than your resume! If your cover letter does not demand attention and compel your employer to look at your resume, what good is superb resume?

    Writing a cover letter is not something you should take lightly. You want to make sure it catches your readers eye so they will open it up and see that award winning resume of yours...

    To read the rest of the article, please click here: Cover Letter Writing: The Secret To Getting Your Dream Job.


    Jobster. As discussed above, this exciting job board is different from the rest and definitely worth checking out. Go here: Check it out here:

    Got Tips? Earn Cash. Here's a fairly easy way to make a few bucks online: submit a tip to and earn $3 if/when it's published.

    I submitted three tips the other day, just off the top of my head. Each tip was less than 200 words. The process was quite simple.

    Within two days, I received email messages saying all three of my tips had been accepted, and I'd be paid as soon as they were published. (Payment can actually take a long time. When you go to the site, you can see how many tips have been submitted and how many have been published so far.)

    But what the heck...a $9 I.O.U. for about 20 minutes work. I won't get rich doing this, but it's fun and a few extra bucks never hurts.

    They do not accept and publish all tips, but if you make them truly useful and on topics that are of general interest to a lot of people, I'd say your chances of getting paid are pretty good. Especially if you get in early!

    Your tips need to be "original" -- when submitting them you are stating that they are not copyright material or copied from other sources.

    In addition to submitting tips, check out the ones already there. It's a handy, helpful website!

    Check it out here:

    Buy Kevin's "Instant Job Search System," Get My "Job Interview Success System" F*r*e*e*! My friend Kevin Donlin, President of Guaranteed Resumes and frequent contributor to this newsletter, has created an exciting new tool that promises to get you the job of your choice--and make the money you dream of--within just 30 days. Guaranteed. Plus he's throwing in five special bonuses.

    If you've been my subscriber for very long, you've read some of Kevin's articles and know the quality and value of his advice. I have no doubt that his new System will enable thousands of job seekers to obtain their career goals, and I want to help him to help others.

    So as an incentive to check out Kevin's new System, here's my offer to you: buy Kevin's System (which is currently $39.95, an incredible bargain) and I'll give you my complete "Job Interview Success System" as a free bonus. Here's what you need to do:

    (1) Go take a look at what Kevin's "Instant Job Search System" is all about by clicking on this link: Kevin's System.
    (2) If you like what you see there, buy it.
    (3) Email me a copy of your receipt (don't worry, it won't reveal your credit card number)
    (4) Once I verify that you purchased Kevin's System from the above link, I'll give you instant access to my "Job Interview Success System" (a $39.95 value, which you can read about here: Bonnie's System).
    (5) You use both Systems to win an awesome new dream job!

    Worth Quoting

    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.
    Small people always do that, but the really great ones
    make you feel that you too, can become great."
    (Mark Twain)

    Just for Laughs

    Superbowl Fun

    A man had 50 yard-line tickets for the Super Bowl. As he sits down, Joe comes down and asks if anyone is sitting in the seat next to him.

    "No," says the man, "The seat is empty."

    "This is incredible," said Joe. "Who in their right mind would have a seat like this for the Super Bowl, one of the biggest sporting events in the world, and not use it?"

    The man said, "Well, actually, the seat belongs to me. I was supposed to come with my wife, but she passed away. This is the first Super Bowl we haven't been to together since we got married in 1967."

    "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that," said Joe. "That's terrible. But couldn't you find someone else -- a friend or relative, or even a neighbor to take the seat?"

    The man shakes his head. "No, they're all at the funeral."

    Random Rants & Ramblings

    Out of Mind, Out of Sight. Sometimes we can look right at something and not see it. Out of mind, out of sight.

    For example, my coworker recently pointed out how filthy the carpet in our office has become since the company that provides janitorial service for our building was changed. When he said this, I looked at the carpet. The same carpet I've been walking on for months. I was shocked by all the stains, clearly visible to me now, as if they'd appeared overnight. I'd never noticed them before.

    Perhaps I'm incredibly unobservant, but the point I'm attempting to make is that we often overlook things because we're not thinking about them.

    There's a saying that goes something like, "When the student is ready, the master will appear." When you're actively looking for something, you're much more likely to see it.

    What are YOU looking for? Think about that carefully. If, for instance, you're looking for a new job as a "secretary," you might not see opportunities for "an event planner." Of course not all secretaries want to be event planners, but if you carefully consider all of your skills, experience, capabilities--and especially what you enjoy doing--you just may start to see new opportunies appear that were invisible to you just a moment ago.

    So, what did you think of this issue? Any suggestions? Topic ideas? Questions? I really appreciate your feedback. Please send me a note at

    Please forward this to your friends!


    P.S. To prevent your email service provider's spam filter from interrupting delivery or this newsletter to your email inbox, please add to your address book or "safe list."

    P.S.S. I apologize for the glitches (especially in links) you may see if you receive this as straight text. If you can receive your email in HTML format, choose that and it'll look a lot better.


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