Seven Ways to Improve Your Chance of Getting Hired Today

In almost every company, there are hundreds or even thousands of job applicants for good positions. Needless to say, your chances of getting hired are slim unless you have extraordinary credentials. So what is the best strategy to pursue?
The truth is that there is still no substitute for sheer persistence. Nevertheless, there are many things you can do to improve your chances. These range in difficulty from no-cost actions like coming early for the interview to getting an MBA. You may even research on unorthodox techniques used in other countries.
You must take into account our cultural differences when trying out creative ways in applying. Much of the creative things you can do in the U.S. may be too aggressive for most people here.
The more ideas you can apply, the better your chances. Below are just seven ways that promises to improve your chances:
1. Research on your target company. This is one area where you can easily differentiate yourself. While most job applicants know something about the company, few can state more than a sentence or two about the firm. Be familiar not only with what the company does but also with its particular products and services. I know of one embarrassing incident wherein an applicant mistakenly cited a competitor’s product.
2. Take residence near your work area if possible. You may think that only the job applicant would care about how long the travel time is to work, but this is far from the truth. People who are over two hours away may still apply due to their desperation in looking for a job. Employers, however, know through experience that few people can stand to remain in such a situation if they have an option. What frequently happens is that the employee stays only long enough to find work nearer his home. This isn’t good for the company because hiring and training a replacement is extremely costly. For those who cannot find other employment, many find it difficult to avoid frequent tardiness if they live too far away, and this makes employers reluctant to hire them.
3. Volunteer to work for free for a while. If you have no job at present anyway, what have you to lose? This may work well in situations where it is difficult to assess your capabilities. However, in volunteering, you must be careful not to give the impression of being desperate. Exude the aura of confidence in your abilities.
4. Have a well-organized and comprehensive resume. For many companies, studying your resume is the first screening tool. The most common error is leaving out too many details. Include all the possible things that may be of interest to an employer. Make sure that there are no spelling or grammatical errors. If you are not a good writer, ask someone to proofread or, better yet, write your biodata. How your resume is written is almost as important as its content.
5. Review your online reputation. Take down from the Internet images or posts that may give a negative impression to a potential employer. It has become standard operating procedure for many companies to Google your name to know more about you before deciding to hire. What may seem like a funny picture of you sleeping on the floor dead drunk may lead someone to conclude that you are an immature alcoholic. Even a photo of you in a sexy outfit may be a reason for a denial.
6. Invest in improving your looks. To be honest, in most cases, being beautiful is an advantage. Fortunately, this is not the major factor in most positions. In fact, for very senior posts, it may even be a disadvantage since many people think that looking so good and being brilliant, too, is an unlikely combination. Still, there are some features that could be changed with a reasonable expense. One of these is your teeth. Having crooked and/or decaying teeth detract from your abilities. Taking the effort and expense to have them in good condition is a great investment.
7. Send a thank you letter after the interview. Whether you are hired or not, the interviewer took the time to attend to you and it would be a pleasant surprise to receive a thank you letter from you. I have read that it improves your chances of being hired by 20 per cent, although I think it may have been speculative. Anyway, if you are not qualified, then it would not matter; but in case you are one of the few candidates under final consideration, it may make a difference. Many recruiters do not care about thank you letters, but since there are those that do, it would be better to err on the safe side since it costs little to send the letter.
Looking for a job is a tedious process. It depends not only on your determination but also in finding ways to make you the preferred candidate. Having more strategies to differentiate yourself may give you the winning edge over other applicants.

*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. C-4, Sunday, July 8, 2012. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.