Who is Susan Boyle?


Prior to April 11, 2009, almost no one could have answered

that question. Her obscure status changed instantly—and internationally—because

on that date Susan’s audition as a singing contestant on “Britain’s Got

Talent” (taped in January) made it onto television.


Her challenge was almost unparalleled for an aspiring

singer. Previously, this Scotland

songbird had entered a few local contests, but nothing at this level. Now she

was facing host Simon Cowell, renowned as a tough, sometimes vicious judge on

“American Idol.”


When Susan stepped onto the stage, the crowd sounded

restless or even slightly hostile. At best they were not betting on her

success. Susan did not look like the other contestants. She admitted that she

was forty-seven years old, and she lacked grace as she crossed the stage with

her ample size.


Cowell asked, “What do you want to do?”


Without hesitation, she replied: “I want to be a

professional singer.”


Then the music started, with Susan giving a high-energy

rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream,” from Les Miserable.


Within seconds, the mood of the auditorium changed, both

visibly and audibly. Simon raised his eyebrows in amazement. The other two

judges stared in disbelief. Were they really hearing these sounds from this

unlikely source?


As the song moved forward, so did the listeners. The

audience stood and cheered. Applause became sustained. No one wanted her to

stop singing. When she did, judge Piers Morgan assured Susan, “No one is

laughing now. That was stunning, an amazing performance.”


Another judge, Amanda Holden remarked, “It was a complete

privilege listening to that.”


Simon Cowell assured Susan she could “go back to your

village with your head held high,” and with three “yeses” from the judges.


Susan’s mesmerizing performance has become the topic for

newscasts, talk shows, You Tube, and entertainment columns. One estimate is

that the video of her performance might become the first video to attract 100 million



Well, whether you are a singer or not, Susan Boyle’s case

offers an extremely valuable lesson for your job search. I’ll state it



A potential employer

is looking for the applicant who has rare, instantly recognizable talent.


Before I go farther, I’ll admit that I have written many

articles about the need for:


*Listening attentively

*Knowing the company’s product/service

*Using high caliber referrals

*Dressing like a professional

*Asking the right questions

*Appearing friendly and approachable

*Speaking with energy and clear diction

I will continue to write those articles, and will include

these guidelines in my seminars and coaching. They are all important. Keep

doing those things.

However, they are not interview trump cards. So I repeat: To magnify your

chance of being selected as the successful candidate, illustrate—beyond a

doubt—that you are capable of doing what the employer needs. In fact, you are

more capable than anyone else who applies. That’s your most important step

toward landing a contract.


Throughout my twenty-three years in management,

this—demonstrable talent—was what  I

looked for in job applicants, and that remains the cornerstone for getting



Some ways you can confirm your talent, tactfully and modestly:


*Describe similar challenges you faced, and tell how you

overcame them

*Predict what you would do—specifically—to reduce this company’s struggles

*Name your favorite business authors and books

*Tell how you have spotlighted your talent, such as giving conference speeches

*Identify ways you have served your community in leadership roles

*Talk about colleagues you have coached/mentored

Throughout your job search, remember Susan Boyle. Her talent was so

overwhelming, so compellingly captivating that she rose to the top of the list.


You will too, when you showcase your superb, unmatched