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3 Career Lessons from 80’s Boy Bands

3 Career Lessons from 80’s Boy Bands

J.T. O'Donnell | CAREEREALISM

One of this summer’s hottest concert series is by two 80’s boy bands. Yes, The New Kids on the Block (NKTOB) and the Backstreet Boys (BSB) are hitting the road and selling out places like Chicago. Now, if these guys can come back with a vengeance, then so can anyone out there who is feeling like their career is in the toilet. Just follow these three simple lessons to get back on top and claim your fame:

Lesson 1: Get over the past and focus on your future. You can’t go back to the glory days, but you can create new ones. Recognize the potential you have to offer current audiences (a.k.a. hiring managers). Of course you’ve changed over the years – that’s a good thing. Focus on how you’ve gotten better with age.

Lesson 2: Know who needs you. Not everyone is rushing to buy tickets to this concert – and that’s okay. These two boy bands know a certain audience wants to see them again. So, they’ve built their entire marketing strategy around attracting them. Why try to get the heavy metal enthusiasts to pay attention to your old-school pop? Instead, these boy bands looked at what their biggest fans wanted and said, “We’ll deliver.” The same applies to you. Stop trying to get every employer’s attention. Instead, focus on employers that value and respect what you offer. The result is far more rewarding and positive.

Lesson 3: Update your look. There’s no way anyone would take this concert series seriously if the boys tried to wear the outfits they wore back in the 80’s. I guarantee the dance moves won’t be the same either (just not as flexible as they used to be!). While they are keeping the music true to what their fans know and love, they realize that part of showing they’ve got staying power is knowing they need to look great for their age! Sadly, far too many job seekers get stuck in their own time warp. They stick with professional attire that worked for them when their career was working for them. It’s time to throw out the 10+ year old suit and get some fashion sense. If necessary, work with a stylist to make sure your look says, “I’m with it,” from head to toe.

To sum it up, any career bounce back like this is done with some honest self-evaluation and strategic planning. It’s not rocket science, it is just common sense. The hardest part is not letting our egos get in the way. Yet, if we can embrace the potential of the comeback, we can let go of what isn’t working and focus on what can help us move forward. And, if that doesn’t work, simply go listen to these bands’ biggest hits: Step by Step, Hangin Tough, and We’ve Got it Goin’ On (the titles alone say it all).

Now, what lessons did I miss? Share below any additional career takeaways we can glean from these 80’s boy bands’ big comeback.

J.T. O’Donnell is the founder of CAREEREALISM.com and CEO of CareerHMO.com, a web-based career development company.

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