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My favorite HUSTLER

In “Do Over,”Jon Acuff defined hustle in a way I can’t do better:

“Hustle knows you have to do the work others don’t to enjoy the results others won’t.”

Within my mind as a Career Coach and Recruiter, the idea of career hustle resonates. And no better do I witness that skill at peak performance than when I’m in Mexico.

“What (do) you like?“ (do)You like this? This? I(t’)s good? You already have (one like that)? You prefer color? How about esso (this)? Maybe t’s (one)? Perfecto! (Parentheses mine).

I mean, they never give up. They punch at all the angles while dangling sparkling jewels in front of your eyes to find out what you like, want, or need of what they’re peddling until they reach success: a deal.

This kind of hustle isn’t much different from that of the longstanding definition of how to master career progression, if you ask me. Once you have the low-down on what you love or hate about your current role, your key skill sets, your hopes, dreams and passion for where you see yourself going *(described in my last post), you or your recruitment asset hustle hard to stir-up opportunities that would spark your interest. And if they are top-notch recruitment agents, they hustle to surface as many opportunities as possible with clients to find with one of them...a match.

It all begins with “what are you good at?” Why would anyone want to hire “You?”

As a Career Coach, Employment Consultant, as well as Technical Recruiter for clients and companies, I’ve sliced and diced that question a million-and-one ways depending on the flavor of technology or expertise I’m working with for a client. And, as I wrote in my last post, your answer determines whether we have anything more to talk about.

Analyzing your talents and skills isn’t a simple matter in the run-up to determining where you should invest more $$ into yourself, or in an attempt to position yourself to be pitched by a recruiter. Much can be said for researching heavily where the most critical needs are at this moment in the tech industry. And it begins with a deep dive into your self…then taking time to do what it takes to get where you want to go.

Giving yourself a chance to bear fruit

Take me, for instance. I’m good at doing the type of networking and hob-nobbing that salespeople love. With two degrees and multiple specializations as well as professional certifications and internships under my belt, I landed my best job in my field only after I had torn apart my natural talents and interests and discovered what I had been good at all along: fearlessly striking up a conversation with a stranger.

And finding the right place to be in at the right time. Not to mention finding the most interesting person to talk to in the right place at the right time in the right industry. In any time frame – planned or spontaneous. In any place or situation – from boardroom to tech networking boondoggle. Using any means – from phone to in-person to digital or letter - to gain entry, an intro, info for a decision, to close a deal or to land a new contact - or position a highly-skilled individual for career progression.

Looking back, it surprises me I had to train for something that came so naturally, but specific industry training and trial-by-error layered-on top of my basic fun quotient set me on the path to surf fields as diverse as vocational rehab, technical product and behavioral services consulting, and high tech recruiting. My nose for interaction led me from college training in counseling for career starters, to home base in the aligned HR profession and beyond.

All the while leveraging talents, mastering new skillsets, trying-on new roles…and having a helluva lot of fun along the way.

It happened because I’ve been someone excited to discover interesting facts about people, like you, whom I meet – but also because I searched and did what any intelligent person would do: figured out a gameplan, and gave the challenge of new direction the chance to bear fruit.

So, what do I want to know about your expertise?

Your skills? Your raw, natural talents? Your abilities, your passions and dreams, and how you’ve used and grown them to leverage into career progression?

I will want to help you uncover your intangibles so you can maximize them; or evaluate your tangibles so I can best position you for a fit into my client’s skill base.

And, importantly, decipher whether you know your own personality EQ to help determine if you fit a client’s company culture.

If I am going to position you correctly in front of my A-team, it should be a deep dive. And it’s just this kind of dip into your work ethic - your “hustle ” - your sense of commitment, goal and aim, your project completion and results, your ability to interface, and your overall technical impact that can help you, and me, determine your strengths and weaknesses in relation to the market’s needs, and firmly set your roadmap.

For clinchers, I’m going to want to know about a problem you solved

How did you do that? How many lines of code did you personally write on that project? How long were you devoted to working on cutting-edge products and future technologies? How many programmers were on the largest team of which you were a member? What part of that project did you own and deliver? Where did you take a project from start to launch? Execute a go-to-market strategy? What techniques did you use to meet your deadlines, keep within budget, co-ordinate your efforts? What is your definition of working too hard? Describe how you work under tight deadlines. When did you enjoy being coached or managed? How did you change or grow as a result of that project? What would you do differently if you could start over? And more...

Undertaking 'A Side Project' is a positive worldview

Now for a real world example. Let’s say you are a rising business process analyst who has put solid career tracks down on his/her record in functional requirement processes at a bank where you work, but have become available on the market due to a company-wide lay-off. But I am looking for a Guru. Now I could forget all about the notion of finding a star who could solve all of our application heartaches and build a team, someone both strategic and analytical and able to manage a team while influencing change.

Or, I could try to pitch to my client to hire two people. Which would I prefer to do?

I’ll take a third choice, and would rather run with one person - you – with a mid-career rapsheet of strategic and analytical successes, who has notably spearheaded the creation of their own “client project” in which you prototyped user interface and design entitlement wizards, re-engineered processes, identified success and risk factors, reduced project contingencies and mentored a self-recruited team in writing requirements processes and procedures while managing the project cradle to grave during your career interim.

Proving your love of learning through the extra effort you took to ramp-up quickly on this side project, and your ability to draw on that critical experience. This success is a prime example of someone who used solid skills in analysis, felt the call to team lead and client manage and, using a mindful approach, decided to not wait for someone to anoint them to the next level, but instead built a project roll-out to open that door for themselves.

You are your own best 'Creation'

As a second example, let’s say you are a newly minted MBA grad who has just completed an internship in Search Engine Marketing at a major ecommerce company. You’re not a classic marketer, but have built-up analytical frameworks and now understand the digital realm where traditional marketers are still lagging. Your dream is to leverage that experience to land a plum Digital Marketing role in ecommerce. What should you do with your free time?

Of course you could find the next SEM role at another similar ecom company and wait for your career to ripen. Or, you could take side coursework or workshops you need to choose a product niche and build your own website, master it’s SEO and SEM, write all its content, find and build its audience and its relevance in not one, but multiple language markets to demonstrate the upside of your creative perspective to offset your inexperience.

Voila. Now you have not only a successful product rollout on your hands to tout that is generating you money, but a long list of new skills that can lead you to what you’re destined for. You’re positioned for growth into the role you truly want…or, for Angel Investment.

These are but two avenues available in a marketplace ripe with problems that need addressing that can take your secret lust and leverage it to a new level, on to something more fulfilling.

Got an idea for yourself? Give me a call to discuss.

Because I’m the one who wants to be in-on your thought-process when you gaze up to reach for the jewels…

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