Why 'The Voice' Should Be Required Viewing For All Job Seekers

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The Voice
NBC
If you watch 'The Voice' it doesn't take long to start counting the contestants who have experienced:
  • Dead/dying parents/siblings
  • Small town anything (see The Swon Bros)
  • Family working multiple jobs
  • Toddlers and babies with fabulous ringlets and wide manga eyes
  • Loving supportive god-fearing wives
  • Hipster grandparents with adorable hats
  • Musical bandleader relatives
  • Failed No-Chair Turn returnees
  • Misunderstood/misfits/last picked on high school softball team
  • Moving from various countries to pursue 1) American Dream 2) Musical dreams
  • Learning English by learning to sing (see above)
  • Justin Bieber-like youtube/twitter fans.
What you don't hear about much is anyone who had a "normal" life. Those journeys to success are ho-hum and don't generate either sobs or ratings. They sorely lack what's pivotal to cutting through the crowds these days: story.

Should you doubt the daunting power of story, you are hereby assigned to watch a minimum of two hours of The Voice Blind Auditions. The show has advanced into the Battle Rounds now - so the individual stories are somewhat truncated. You need to watch the early shows in which the contestants are positioned and branded.

From its inception, The Voice has always "gotten" social media (Christina Milian aside) but they haven't been rightfully lauded for their brand-worthy storytelling. American Idol pioneered in this category but in recent seasons has been unable to upgrade either its talent pool or its storytelling. By using its auditions to mock many of the weirdo wannabees, Idol distracts from the heart of what hooks viewers: hope and its cousin, outrage.

Let's not forget the judges. Downhome Blake and his glass of bubbly whatever. Gwen leaping on stage showing off fashionista girl power. Pharrell sporting both his trademark hats and smooth eloquence. Adam at ease in his sexiest man alive skin and deep producer expertise. Their on-stage verbal romp highlights each of their brand personalities brilliantly.
What can you take from this? Go ahead and make fun of a silly TV show. But the skills you need to succeed in the job market and workplace are the same ones on display via The Voice:

Talent. All of this commentary assumes you have the capabilities to deserve whatever break your branding creates for you.

Willingness to put yourself out there. That's where you start. It's the old Wayne Gretzky quip "you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take." Are you willing to tell and then share your story? Are you willing to apply, meet, tap dance, whatever it takes to put you in the running?

Your story. Of course you have one. You just have to identify the right one. The one that matches your professional mission. Get assistance if you are stumped. There are many tools and experts who work in brand personality development. My guess is that few of The Voice contestants volunteered their engagingly heartwrenching stories. Some savvy producers discerned what would up their chances (and the show's ratings) and helped develop the positioning.

My mother used to say when I'd kvetch about a classmate: "Everybody has a story. You just don't know what it is yet."
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