You Only Get One Chance: The American Idol Analogy

2011 04 06 16 58 00

Most of you have probably caught American Idol on TV. At the least, you will likely know that it’s a talent competition that week-after-week eliminates competitors until the eventual winner remains.

During the hectic rounds of auditions, where thousands of hopefuls arrive at stadiums to have their shot at celebrity and riches, there will always be someone who, when standing before the judges, fails spectacularly. They’re unprepared, they have forgotten the words to the song, or they have not selected a song to suit their style. Maybe they’ve arrived looking like they just took a break from jogging.

Inevitably, upon being told “No”, you’ll hear them beg, “Oh please, please let me get through the auditions!” they sob. “I’ll do better, I swear. I’ll make you proud of me, let me show you what I can do. I’ll do so much better next time!”

In most cases for those people, that ship has sailed. They had one chance, they weren’t prepared and it’s gone.

Today, I was speaking with a chap called Darren. He’d asked me to look at his resume and give my thoughts. After speaking to him for a while and hearing the passion and the experience that exuded from every pore, I couldn’t align the person on the paper with the man to whom I was speaking.

  • The man on the paper looked like he was lazy with the constant use of abbreviations and ampersands making him look like he was trying to save himself the effort of typing or like text messages, was restricted to a certain number of characters.  Darren could never be called lazy.
  • The man on paper seemed evasive referring to actions he’d taken but not following through with the results. Darren was able to proudly rattle off multiple results as he talked on the phone; achievements that were nowhere to be found in his resume!
  • The man on paper was somewhat dull. The same phrases like “Developed and implemented” or “Established” or “Responsible for” had been used multiple times, bullet point after bullet point. Darren spoke articulately.

Darren and his resume were speaking about two different people.

It was then, that he sounded somewhat desperate as he said to me:

“If recruiters just called me in and spoke with me, I’d tell them everything! I can show them, I can tell them what I can do. All I need is the chance to get before them!”

The second those words were out, I had a mental picture of those pleading American Idol hopefuls. Darren was no different.

He had his chance to get seen and he’d blown it. His resume was his big chance.

Your resume is the very first opportunity you have to get seen. It is every bit as important as those people standing in front of the judges on American Idol. They want to see the total package so they can envisage that person as a star performer. So do job search recruiters and employers. Your resume is the first thing people see about you.

If it’s not your true self, if it is not showcasing your achievements or reflecting every single value proposition you have, then why plead for a second chance when you’ve been so cavalier about your first?



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About Gayle Howard

If you are interested in working with Gayle Howard—an executive resume writer, Certified Master Resume Writer, multi-award-winning resume writer, and Master LinkedIn profile writer, drop her a line now using the contact form at the link above. Gayle can help you get interviews for your dream job and bring the world of business to you by maximizing your exposure and connections on LinkedIn.