Is being “hardworking” enough to get a job these days?


“I’m hardworking.”

This is probably the most abused statement in the history of job hunting and recruitment. It’s a common scenario that when interviewers ask job applicants the questions such as “Why should we hire you? What are your strengths? What is your most significant accomplishment?”, the word “hardworking” is often being used.

However, is being “hardworking” enough to get a job in this competitive job market?

 Do we get a job, receive promotion and earn a higher income to  provide for ourselves  and our family by demonstrating perseverance and diligence to carry out tasks at work?

 The answer is “Yes”. Yes, if we work hard on the right thing.

What is this right thing? How do we do this?

Successful speakers such as Jim Rohn and Tony Robbins shared and applied the following tips and techniques and eventually climbed their success ladder. I’m affirming this as someone who had experienced applying for jobs, teaching how to search and get a job, and recruiting people for an established retail merchandising company in the Philippines.

Join me as we apply these simple principles to grow both personally and professionally.


We often see people working hard on their job, and yet feel discontented and unhappy because they perceive their hard work as something that’s not compensated properly. In fact,  according to an article published by Dr. Ronald Riggio in Psychology Today, employees voice out dissatisfaction due to feelings of inequity in terms of pay.

“Many workers are unhappy because they believe that their pay is not fair compensation for their skills, effort, and dedication to the job,” Riggio says.

 The thing is, working hard on the job does not guarantee promotion or higher income. The same thing goes with applying for jobs; being hardworking doesn’t guarantee employment or job offer.

What we have to do is work hard on ourselves. We begin with knowing our KSAOs – KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, ABILITIES, and OTHER CHARACTERISTICS including our PERSONALITY, VALUES, GOALS, and PURPOSE.

 So let’s get our notebook and start making an inventory of ourselves. Regardless of the type of job we’ll apply for, it’s important that we know our KSAOs. For example, if we are applying for entry-level Human Resources position, a simple inventory may look like this.

Knowledge and Skills:

Knowledge about different areas of Human Resources – Recruitment and Selection, Training and Development, Compensation and Benefits, Employee Relations, Employee Discipline

Skills in interviewing, psychological testing, conducting training needs analysis, attention to detail, written communication,  good interpersonal skills, etc.

Abilities (innate): musical or artistic ability  (Companies also conduct activities that cater employees’ talents in employee engagement programs)


Extrovert (outgoing) vs.introvert (timid),  adventurous vs. cautious, independent or vs. conforming, calm vs. temperamental,  prefers routine vs. prefers variety etc.


Strong work ethic, variety and change at work, helping other (see‘s list of work values)

Goals and Purpose:

To gain work experience and establish a career in the long run, to help the family, to grow professionally and contribute to others etc.

We may also take personality tests  from the school’s career guidance testing office for students who are about to graduate or take legitimate online examinations for others (i.e.Keirsey Temperament Sorter).

In our inventory, it is important to ask ourselves, ” Of all the things we’ve accomplished so far, what stands out as most significant?” Answering this MSA (Most Significant Accomplishment) question  will give us an idea or our interests, values, strengths, and weaknesses.

Make this our priority as we job hunt. Don’t apply  or attend an interview without doing this. We’ll see how important it is as we draft our sales tool – our resumes – as we wait for recruiter’s call,  and attend job interviews.


Awareness of our KSAOs is not enough; we also need to couple our knowledge with action. Action means continuous improvement of things we know and can do.

Increase your knowledge about your field or area, be it in Business, Engineering, Technology, Education, Agriculture etc. Read books.

A higher paycheck can be just two books away.

Make it a habit of reading at least one or two books each week. It’s a good exercise for the brain.  At first, I found it difficult to read at least a book per week but when I studied speed reading, it became easier.

I just need to be committed and believe that the activity will help improve my life.

 I even finished reading John Maxwell’s “Your Road Map for Success” in just two nights.  I’ve made learning as an investment in myself.

Listen to audio and video programs in your field (we now have YouTube where we can easily check the latest trends in our field). Attend seminars or enroll a course if you can. Learn from other people’s experiences. “Don’t be lazy in learning”, Jim Rohn says.


Isn’t it frustrating when you know that you’re excellent at doing something, and yet you find it difficult getting a job?

You might be missing one crucial part of job hunting – marketing yourself.

Marketing ourselves means showing ourselves in the best light to the employers. It’s about recognizing what employers need and showing that we are the right people for the job. It’s also deeply connected to finding our UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION and using our resumes to show a match.

It’s also important to maximize the use of various platforms (e.g social media such as LinkedIn, online recruitment, campus recruitment, job boards, government employment offices) and of course your networks.

The key here is value. Become valuable and demonstrate such value.

One way to demonstrate such value in the initial stage of job hunting is through our major sales tool – our resume. The resume determines if applicants will have the opportunity to discuss his job fit through the interview and other recruitment processes.

When I was working as a Recruiter for an established company in the Philippines, I’ve noticed that many applicants especially the fresh graduates fall short in marketing themselves in their resume. It was as if different applicants follow the same resume template which wasn’t tailored to the specific jobs they’re applying for.

 The best technique for creating a resume that sells is to research about the position one is applying for and tailor the resume based on the position’s job description. Applicants should include job-relevant keywords and quantifiable outputs,  especially when applying for huge companies with comprehensive Applicant Tracking Systema nd database. Google’s Senior Vice President for Operations, Laszlo Bock, advises that in writing one’s accomplishments in a resume, it should be in this form: I accomplished X as measured by Y by doing Z.

If these techniques helped successful people including Rohn and Robbins meet their goals, these can help us too. As what the speaker,Brian Tracy says, “Success leaves clues”.

About Maricon Hernandez 

Passion for learning and development while empowering the youth drives Maricon Hernandez.  

A dreamer, educator, human resources practitioner,  and travel enthusiast,  Maricon visits and explores various tourist destinations with her colleagues and friends. She also speaks in seminars and writes articles about topics she’s passionate about. She believes that learning is a life-long process; life is worthwhile when she adds value to other people’s lives through the gifts and resources she has.

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