In high school, I always felt the need to be a little different. I wanted to stand out–but in a good way. So, I tried out for plays and won parts–not big ones–but character roles in the innocent plays produced by St. Joseph Academy (for girls).

Sister Mary Thomas was young–probably 26 or so. And, oh, she loved the boys who would come from Dowling High School to play the men’s parts. That was OK–she had great taste in men–er, boys.

My sophomore year we produced Around the World in 80 Days. I played a ridiculous matron with one high, screechy solo. The part was NOT my choice. I would have given my eye teeth (whatever those are) for the part of the ingenue–pretty, sweet and wholesome. Also, kissable. On stage.

On the night of the first performance, I witnessed the female and male lead smooching back stage. This was pretty bold–considering Sister Mary Thomas–and the fact that in the 1960’s you could be expelled for PDA.

I wanted to get noticed–and I didn’t care how. Playing that ridiculous character, I had my chance. I played the lines with extra drama. I made larger gestures. In the scene where I got to overhear a conversation and sneak into a room, I got my friend to play a few dramatic notes on the piano to draw attention to me.

The result: I made a larger impact, I got bigger laughs. In short, I made lemonade out of my lemon role. My father met me backstage (a huge no-no for parents), gave me a hug that lifted me off the floor and said “You stole the show. You were the STAR tonight.” Nothing he could have said would have made me feel better.

Are you being the STAR of your own Job or Job Search? Here are some ideas:

Volunteer to create and make a presentation. Several of my engineering clients have been asked to give PowerPoint shows of their work in interviews. How about doing one, even if you’re not asked? Stand out by sharing your best work on a tablet or laptop.

Be interested. Be interesting. Really show your prospective manager or HR recruiter that you are interested in the job. Read every word you can find on the web about the company. Look up everyone on LinkedIn and Facebook. Try this: ask your interviewer a question about her career: “I noticed that you changed industries back in ’94 when you first came into technology. How difficult was that switch for you?”

Deliver your resume by hand. Yeh, I know. Time-consuming and crazy. One client got his job by showing up and asking to see the hiring manager. In one afternoon, he met–briefly–with two pretty surprised managers. He had two offers two weeks later.

Call on the phone. Figure out who your future boss might be. Then, call and give a prepared speech about your services and tell them that you are available for immediate hire. If you’re feeling scared, call after or before hours and leave a message. Chances are–that day–they have someone on their team who is either leaving, or they wish he would!

Tell your connection to the company–any connection. One client interviewed with a gaming company for a training position. She talked about how her child had learned so much from games and how excited she was about gamification in the learning environment.

Make your name–and yourself–memorable. In my advertising career, we used to screen 8-10 new grads in a marathon interview session each spring. One candidate, named Baker, brought a home-baked cookie to each of her six private interviews. Do you think we remembered her?

With so many good-looking candidates out there, it’s wise to find ways to steal the show. Keep it fun and professional–and it’s all good.

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