What do Ray Kroc, John D. Rockefeller, Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey have in common? They are widely considered some of the greatest hustlers in the world. Another famous hustler from history? Genghis Khan, the Mongol leader who conquered more lands than anyone else in history. The word “hustle” sometimes implies negative connotations. To be called a “hustler” for example is to imply that someone is a trickster trying to pull a fast one. But any job seeker knows that a hustler is someone who has her eye on the prize and makes sure she isn’t dropping the ball when it comes to her professional goals. In this context, hustling is the art of constantly taking action to achieve the desired outcome. This is precisely what the above-mentioned luminaries did to turn their goals to reality. If your goal, for instance, is to score an interview at a company of your choice, then what changes have you undertaken to attain that goal? What decisions did you make to further that goal this week? You have to punch above your weight as a hustler to reach your goal.
Let’s examine first the qualities of a hustler. A hustler is a determined individual who has a clear idea of the goal and works tirelessly to achieve that goal. Hustlers use their time effectively to create opportunities while their competition squanders precious time binge watching TV shows or partying. Not that hustlers live in an isolated island totally avoiding the social scene – but they make sure their professional interests come first. You should indulge in the social scene by all means but do it once you have accomplished what you envisaged as your career goal.
Here are some tips to help you hustle for the job at hand:
- Focus on the task and eliminate distractions
Hustlers are single minded and focus maniacally on crafting a career definition. That’s what makes them so successful and effective. Time stands still for hustlers as they hone in on that to-do list and eliminate distractions like Facebook (yes, we’re calling it a massive distraction) and checking the latest show on Netflix. This is not to suggest that you shouldn’t have any downtime but make sure that it isn’t encroaching on the time you’ve set aside to work on accomplishing major goals. Take a long, hard look at your biggest time wasters (checking the latest news, updating your social media status, watching YouTube, etc.). If you want to hustle you have to ruthlessly cut these activities out and go for broke.
- Don’t be afraid to fail
Thomas Edison famously said, “I didn’t fail. I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Think about his persistence and the upbeat tone. Chances are you’ll fail often but you will also take away a lot of learnings from your failures. It’s a cliché but a truism that we learn more from our failures than from our successes. So you’ve got to open yourself up to the possibility of failure in order to take the next step to success. Persistence is also a sign of character, of that never-say-die attitude which is so essential to success. Be patient – and practice patience. You’ll reap the rewards in good time.
- Present your ideas
Hustlers challenge the sense of tediousness brought on by the status quo. They are constantly working to avoid this state of affairs. They are not particularly gung-ho about the ‘career cruising’ phase. They strategize, they network with other like-minded people, and they read to keep the internal fire burning. Hustlers stay focused by devoting some time to goal setting and learning new skills that would make them more marketable. If you’re hustling for a job or an interview take the time to network and meet people and attend events.
a ) Networking: Hustlers consciously work to be visible and present. The more opportunities they seek to meet new people at different places, the more chances they earn of being at the right place at the right time. So, step out of your comfort zone and attend that on-campus company presentation or strike up an engrossing conversation with company executives at the annual career fair. Volunteer at your local non-profit, speak as a panelist at the career builder forum for freshmen at your alma mater. Simply, hustle to reach out. Connect with people in your professional network including your school`s alums whose jobs appeal to your interests or who work with companies that you regard as dream companies.
b) Creating your unique brand: Ask yourself: What does your digital footprint look like? How does your LinkedIn profile or Twitter account measure up? Freshen up your online presence and make sure you’re presenting your best self. Create a personal website or start your own blog – it will set you apart from others. Starting and sustaining a blog means that you’re setting aside time for careful thought and then presenting, indeed giving away, your ideas and creating a reputation as a thought leader. Associate yourself with non-profit causes that you are passionate about. Consciously indulging in these activities adds to your brand and more importantly, informs the hiring manager what makes you-you!
- Knowledge Development
The popular Adage-Knowledge is power is truly abiding. Invest time and effort in empowering yourself by considering some professional development courses or certification/training programs. Be alive to any common patterns of skills or qualifications that crop up during job search for positions that strike you as particularly appealing. And while we are at the topic of job search, hustlers don`t shy away from visiting the company`s individual job boards to screen for that exciting obscure position. In fact, make job search an integral part of your daily routine. While at college or on the job-look for tasks or skills that you find yourself excelling at and then enquire about career development programs at your college or company that aim to fund and address such learning aspirations.
- Documenting your achievements
While at college handling a class project or interning, be alert to document tasks or achievements. Don`t merely state your experiences in your resume, rather convey your professional story. A story that says you are capable of rolling up your sleeves and getting things done. Make sure you specifically mention tasks which you independently managed, were recognized for and where you went beyond the job description. Signify the tangible impact, magic as it were, that you brought about. VMock platform helps you add that dash of impact to your resume to represent your career story.
- Interview Preparation
Hustlers prepare, practice and practice for job interviews. They work on defining an agenda which highlights their skills, qualifications and achievements. Reach out to the HR contact or consultant responsible for coordinating the interview and ask about the interview format and any skills based assessment that should be expected. During the interview, be proactive in asking questions that pique your curiosity about the company, its products or strategy. Construct the direction of the interview according to the position of the interviewer. If it is the founder or CEO, it is best to steer clear of questions enquiring about daily responsibilities.
- Making a mark at internship
Derive maximum value from your internship experience. A successful internship offers much more than a few months of professional experience. It can land you valuable connections, mentors and in several cases-permanent job offers. So, regard it as a rich training program. Show your eagerness to learn beyond your role, research and read up on the company`s future plans. Be a productive resource, ask for work instead of waiting for your supervisor to think of something to rope you in. Remember even the seemingly small tasks come with their individual lessons.
In short, hustlers never lose sight of the big picture. Remember that you have to make the time to hustle. Rest assured that distractions will abound every day but do you have what it takes to keep your eye on the prize? Remember what Jeff Bezos once said, “Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
So, be a bit more open to take action for your goals. They are your dreams-surely they need to be hustled for!