I like my players/characters to have stories and a life before they became "adventurers". I have a couple campaigns going with my current group, and to support this, I gave each character 500 xp and required them to spend it on completing a specialization purchasing a couple specific skills and one skill up choice up to rank 3 (limit rank two for other skills) and purchasing a couple extra specializations. I also assign them some real gear; I refuse to believe the rebellion (or any other military or criminal group) sends new recruits/initiates into dangerous situations with less combat gear than the typical group of teen ruffians.
This lets each character be good at something vs. being mostly useless random vagabonds meeting in a canteena and deciding to go rampaging across the galaxy together. They each have a past and something unique to contribute as well as something in common that binds them as allies. The power gamer in the group always manages to find something to abuse with this, but otherwise this seems to be a better starting power level than the base game suggests.
I limit how high players can buy their character's skills, characteristics and force rating up during the campaign, which does a good job gating power levels. I find that with the few exceptions found by our resident power gamer, talents other than dedication and force rating add more fun for players without adding a ton to power.