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Career Advice, Brought to You by American Idol

When it comes to landing a dream job, American Idol contestants are just like the rest of us. In fact, they can teach us a thing or two about interviewing. I know it sounds a little crazy, but hear me out. In the career world, it's widely known that just because you're qualified for the job, doesn't mean you'll get it. If another candidate brings the same skills to the table, the interviewers simply determine who they like better. The same goes for American Idol hopefuls.

For those of you familiar with the show, you know that when the final 24 contestants are selected to perform on stage, they all have one huge thing in common: they can sing. The only qualification they need to set foot on stage is a great voice, so they've already nailed that part of the interview. Past that, it's their personalities that keep them going round after round (sometimes unjustly, depending on who you ask). Think of it as a glorified, televised, lights-and-glamour battery of interviews. They're job-seekers with the right qualifications, just like you and me, but sometimes they have to look past their skills and rely on likability to boost their career success.

You see, the contestant (aka, the candidate) who makes the strongest emotional connection with the audience (aka, the interviewers) is the one who'll come out on top and land their dream job. Granted, some will sing better than others, but ultimately it's their likability, character, and overall charisma that keep them in the spotlight. Those whom Simon Cowell unforgettably labels "forgettable" are likely to see their way out much sooner than those who leave a lasting impression.

On the other hand, a strong personality can go a long way if qualifications are lacking. Case in point: Sanjaya Malakar from last season. He far outlasted other finer singers with his fearless attitude. The judges may not have liked him, but he appealed most to those who mattered most and it served him well.

So what can American Idol teach us? You could be extremely well qualified for a job, but sometimes that's just not enough. Remember Melinda Doolittle? She was a favorite among the judges for her professional, well-seasoned voice, but she didn't shine quite as brightly as the others.

With that in mind, the most important thing to remember is that even if your skills don't exactly match the requirements listed in the job description, apply anyway. With a strong background, a good attitude, and a winning personality that resonates with those who meet with you, you could find yourself happily employed in a job you may not have thought you had a chance in landing.

What do you think? Has this logic ever worked in your favor?

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