Previously, I wrote about how being an independent worker leads to greater independence. Achieving independence isn’t always easy, though. It doesn’t come gift-wrapped, hand-delivered to your home address, with free shipping and UPS tracking. It must be fought for on a daily basis. It must be earned with sweat and effort and fatigue. Part of the process of earning personal autonomy involves working for other people.

This occurs due to the amount of investment capital needed to start a business. For self-starter businesses, such as Amazon, the investment was the garage that Jeff Bezos used to open his company. Though he benefited by having seed money from other investors during the first years of Amazon, if he didn’t have a physical location and a product to start off with in order to prove the profitability of his business, investors would have been a lot less willing to put down money for his vision.

No one will invest on an unproven with idea with no actual testing done in the marketplace, especially not people with lots of money. Investors want to see balance sheets. They want to see how the company is managing its costs and whether, as successful investor Rick Rule would put it, their upkeep is becoming their downfall. In order to get to this point, a person (most often) has to gain investment capital by working for someone else while saving up their discretionary income.

Bezos himself spent his youth working on his grandfather’s ranch. After a successful college career, he worked for a Wall Street company called Fitel. He also worked at Bankers Trust and D.E. Shaw and Company. He left his job in New York to start up his own company in Washington state primarily because of tax laws. He hoped that as few people as possible would have to pay sales tax.

His move, and ownership of a house, would not have been possible had he not worked for other companies, trading his labor for money as an investment for future. For Bezos, the investment paid off- he is now a billionaire owner of one of the world’s biggest and most successful companies.

In between Bezos’ time at college and his time working for Wall Street was the process of applying and interviewing. In 1986, when he started his career, Jeff Bezos had an advantage over today’s workers- he did not have to try and make his name in a super-competitive job market in which even entry-level laborers are asked to demonstrate experience in their field. Though it seems clear that Bezos as a person would have succeeded in any market regardless of the difficulty, the same cannot be said for today’s workers, many of whom are looking to make that first bit of money in order to own a house or move to a more favorable location to start their own business.

How then, does anyone even get hired at all? Since starting up my (admittedly very modest) business called Trabex Books, I have begun to think in a new way. I’ve taken on a new perspective, one I did not have before. I became a company owner. I now had to figure out who to hire, and what criteria made a person a good hire. I have to take the long view for long-term success, instead of just looking for immediate short-term profits, which themselves may or may not fizzle out over time. I have to be selective: a publishing company needs more than a warm body capable of following all orders all the time.

Beyond the specific job skills required for someone to provide value for Trabex Books, I have to look at the type of person I’m hiring. Personality means a great deal; a motivated, positive individual will create more value than a lazy, non-motivated individual only in it for a paycheck. In hiring people, I have to consider the culture of my company. Culture, in this instance, is created not by the physical location of a business or by the type of work performed, but by the people who work there. Positive people lead to a positive culture. Negative people lead to a negative culture.

It’s not a stretch to say that the success and failure of a company is greatly dependent on the selective decisions of its owner.

Realizing this, I thought I would share with you all a few tips that I’ve learned on how to get hired for the job you deserve- which may be different from the job you want. These two are not always the same thing.

Be Positive

If you must attend one or more interviews, be aware that your employer is only seeing a snapshot of you. The interviewer only sees a temporary, single-day image that you present. This is why physical appearance is so important. If you don’t dress the part, your snapshot doesn’t look as good as it could otherwise. If you show you’re not willing to put in the effort to dress appropriately, then you’ve failed the interview (even if you get the job).

But assuming that you have dressed appropriately, you then have to set yourself apart from other people by being positive. This is often not hard to do. Many people are simply just very negative. There even indications- as I have observed personally- that people are going through the motions by interviewing, never believing that they have a chance, always presuming failure. If you presume failure, you will fail. It’s as simple as that.

Instead, if you presume success, you will appear successful. Interviewers pick up on positivity. Trust, if it can be established at all, is easier to establish when two people are positive and amicable. If you want to leave a positive impression, be positive. It’s as simple as that.

Your Experience Begins Five Years Ago

If you must take a job which requires experience- a dubious requirement, at best- bear in mind that your experience has made you who you are today. Take some time to consider every thing you have done, every job, no matter how temporary, every skill you’ve demonstrated, every employer you’ve worked for. Brainstorming for myself brings up the following skills:

Web Designer, Technical Writer, Novelist, Publisher, Editor, Forklift Driver, Warehouse Worker, Shipping Agent, Medical Claims Analyst, Data Entry Specialist, Secret Shopper, Chef, Food Service Professional, Human Resources Agent, Customer Service Agent, Telemarketer…and so on and so on.

You may not have as much experience in your career as I have, but if you look at everything you’ve done, it will soon become clear that you’re worth a lot more than ten dollars an hour at a gas station. If you think you’re worthwhile, you will give off an aura of being worth it.

Going into an interview with so much confidence that you feel the company needs you more than you need the company is never a bad thing. Mid-level managers may not recognize this quality, but self-starting, upward-mobile professionals will.

What Does the Company Want?

Figuring out what a company wants from you as an employee is the easiest way to ensure that you are successful with the company. Most companies want hard-working, dedicated people who are always on time. This is a common denominator which is easy to figure out.

But is there anything beyond that? If you apply for Target, whose concern is heavily interacting with the public, you’re likely to find that Target wants attractive, young, people who serve more as store decorations than as productive employees. If you apply for a warehouse where appearance isn’t as important, emphasis will be put on an ability to perform repetitive tasks over and over. If you apply for a state job, emphasis will be placed on passing written tests while obeying all orders at all times.

Thus, if you apply for a state job with a desire for workplace autonomy, you will be disappointed. If you apply for a warehouse job with a desire to be intellectually stimulated, you will be disappointed. If you apply for Target thinking you can display your tattoos and wear all your piercings, you will be disappointed. Though ultimately the most satisfying position is one in which people work for themselves, in the interim, the most satisfying (or least frustrating) job will be one in which what the company provides meets with what you want out of job. The more satisfied you are at work, the easier the job itself will be.

What to Do When a Company Doesn’t Hire You?

There really isn’t anything you can do when a company doesn’t hire you. As good as you may believe yourself to be, it’s possible that the company may have found a better candidate for the job. Interviewers and human resource personnel are also human; they make mistakes. The number of companies hiring warm bodies with no hope of future prospects in order to maximize profits for owners is on the rise. (That is the thought process, at least- it doesn’t always work out that way.)

If you’re in the market for a job, it’s more than likely that you will have to apply to multiple places until you can find one that finally agrees to bring you on. The time you have to spend unemployed or underemployed will be reduced drastically if you remain positive, realize your full talents, and keep in mind what an employer wants. Employers will always say “customer service, customer service” but behind that overt statement lies a hidden, implicit statement of, “I want the most fantastic, capable, talented individual I can find.”

If you happen to be that individual, all you have to do is demonstrate it.