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Everyone Has an Asterisk* Driving Their Career Success


Paul Bailo, a fellow member of the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG) and an executive and entrepreneur in the overlapping worlds of marketing/digital/data, recently told me that everyone has an asterisk. It was the first time that I’d heard of this concept.

On Google’s first page for “everyone has an asterisk,” most of the links discuss baseball where the asterisks related to players’ performances being unfairly enhanced.

A couple of links took the opposite point-of-view and complain that total career results had been unfairly limited. Examples: Reduced playing time due to injuries and bad judgment by managers.

Asterisks Are Relevant to Successful Job Search and Career Success

All of us should be able to:

  • Identify several asterisks for ourselves;
  • Prioritize the most important positives and negatives for the opportunity; and
  • Leverage or negate these to obtain your next job.

Positive Asterisks

Paul tells his MBA students, “Asterisks are sometimes shining moments in our lives… you just have to know how to use them.” Examples for job search:

  • Exact same title as job spec
  • The square-peg concept.
  • Documented successes doing exactly what the job spec requires
  • Documented expertise in whatever is hot or current in your function
  • Respected current/previous companies
  • Awards/books/patents
  • Same college as the hiring manager
  • Same previous company as the hiring manager
  • Friends at the hiring company
  • References who are friends of the hiring manager
  • Local
  • Currently employed

There are hundreds of additional positive asterisks that could be leveraged for career success. Some can be used often because they are based on your experience and positioning, while some are relative only to a specific opportunity that you need to research to discover.

Negative Asterisks

  • In general, issues for most jobs:
    • Gap in resume
    • Consulting
    • 50+/60+
    • Limited digital marketing experience
    • Not local
    • Too expensive
  • Relative to specific opening:
    • Latest title doesn’t relate to job opening
    • Wrong (different) industry
    • Wrong (different) marketing sub-function specialization
    • Too senior
    • Too junior
    • Too small or too large current/previous companies

There can be hundreds of additional negative asterisks that need to be negated or even flipped to positives; the challenge is to identify these so you can address them proactively.

Common Ground

While the details of every person and every job search are somewhat different, “our experience of being ‘different’ has been the same.”  This quotation comes from another blog I found on Google… the only one that had nothing to do with sports: Normans.

This blog goes on to say: The truth is, everyone has an asterisk.  Some of ours are just a little bigger than others… I love my big asterisk.”

Rewriting this to apply to job search, I believe it means to embrace who each of us is and to communicate our uniqueness and our asterisks in ways that make us more obviously beneficial to our next employer.

It also suggests that we shouldn’t try to hide our asterisks but use them to our advantage, assuming they’re relevant. 

(Note:  Paul Bailo recently published another book that anyone searching for his or her next job should read: The Essential Digital Interview Handbook.)

(This content was originally posted at MENGonline.)

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

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