When you are applying for a show, you will need to take every advantage possible. Most of the shows select less than 1% of all people who apply making the shows far more selective than a job or even an Ivy League education as getting into Harvard has a 6% acceptance rate. I hope this puts it in perspective as making a show like Survivor, The Bachelor or Biggest Loser can be FAR more selective than being accepted to Harvard.
Follow the Guidelines
Each show has its own rules and requirements. This can include sending photos or videos with the application. It may include certain age or geographic restrictions. Before you invest a lot of time building your submission or travelling to a casting call, you want to ensure you meet all the requirements.
Apply Once Per Season
The vast majority of shows will only allow you to apply once per each season. You need to pick the format that works best for you to utilize your assets to their best. Some of the shows will kick you out of the pipeline if you go through multiple methods. You don’t want the casting director to think you are being a nuisance or someone they don’t want to work with.
Know the Show
When you are applying for a show that has been on the air before, then either read some wikipedia articles on the show or even better catch up on a few of the episodes from a previous season. You don’t necessarily want to come across as a die hard fan, but having an idea of what you’re signing up for is going to give the producers more confidence you’ll be up for what’s required. Some shows like Biggest Loser and Survivor have a history of putting some of the hard core fans on the show. If you do fit in this category then own it.
Plan to be on the Show
The vast majority of the reality shows will require contestants to leave their normal life for weeks to months. You need to get things in place to be able to leave and focus all your energies on the show. Most shows also don’t allow you to communicate freely with your friends and family back home so you need to get things set. Additionally, most contestants on the show won’t win a life changing amount of money so they will need to have a job when it’s over. Larger companies will often offer a sabbatical. Smaller companies may be willing to hold your position for several weeks for the possible marketing boost of having someone from a reality show on their boost.