If you’re a career hacker, you know no one is going to hand you opportunities on a silver platter.
You know that keeping your head down and following the rules won’t result in an awesome life and career.
You know great careers aren’t found, they’re forged.
Career hacking is the relentless pursuit of discovering and doing what makes you come alive – and knowing you’ll have to get creative along the way.
Career Hackers is here to help you go your own way – without going it alone. We share articles, tools, tips, and resources for those who want to take charge of their careers.
Here are the core principles of career hacking.
1. Burn your resume.
Imagine if you couldn’t ever use your resume again. How would you show your value? Do that.
2. Learn out loud.
If you wait until you’re an expert to share your stuff, you never will. People value seeing your process as much as seeing the result. If you’re learning, let people see it. Don’t be shy. Show your work.
3. Create value.
Nobody will pay you for anything else. Figure out what relevant problems you can solve better or cheaper than the next best alternative. Do it.
4. Signal value.
If you can create value but no one knows it, no one will pay you for it. Demonstrate the value you create through tangible proof.
5. Be your own credential.
Don’t rely on third-party stamps of approval to impress people. Your reputation and what you’ve created will trump stale old bullet-points every time.
6. Do the job before you get the job.
The best way to prove you’re the right person for any job, client, customer, or investor? Do the thing you want them to pay you for. Before they pay you for it. Even the finest wines give you a sample before you buy the bottle.
7. Build a body of work.
You own your brand. If you’re not findable for the stuff you love and want people to hire you for, you’ll miss the best opportunities. Increase your luck surface by creating a portfolio.
8. Be the CEO of Me, Inc.
You’re not an employee, even if you’re an employee. Take charge of the business of you.
9. ABL: Always Be Learning.
Relentless novices beat stagnant experts in the long-term.
10. Pitch people.
Don’t wait to be invited. Don’t stick to formal applications. You’re the hunter. Pick your targets, research what they value, then take your best shot.
11. Done is better than perfect.
The thing you imagine doing is worth nothing compared to the thing you’ve done. Don’t be precious. Bad first versions lead to good fifth versions.
12. Daily progress is better than lofty goals.
It doesn’t matter what you’re gonna do in ten years if you haven’t done anything today.
13. Don’t do stuff you hate.
If you’re doing things that make you hate your life, stop. You don’t need to know what your passion is, but if you learn what it’s not and quit doing it, you’ll be moving in the right direction.
14. Ask ‘Why not?’
Flip the burden of proof. Anyone can ask, “Why would you do that?” Ask why not. When you see someone do something inspiring, ask, “Why couldn’t I?”
15. Creativity is a discipline.
You don’t have to wait for the muses to beam down genius from the ether. Creativity is not an accident or personality trait. It’s forged by the force of habit. Create to be a creator.
16. If in doubt, send it out.
The downside of taking your shot is smaller than you think. And the upside is bigger. There’s no upside to doing nothing, and the downside is huge.
17. On to the next one.
You won’t always win. Who cares. Always forward.
18. Don’t take anything personally.
It’s a game. Stay playful. Failures aren’t a reflection of your value in the universe.
19. Take everything personally.
Be the underdog in your own story. Not bitter, but motivated. Cultivate a chip on your shoulder and maintain an attitude of having something to prove. No one’s gonna give it to you.
20. Turn, ‘We should’ into, ‘I did’.
Suggestions are cheap, solutions are priceless.
21. Focus on what’s in your power to control.
The rest is only likely to make you grumpy.
22. Don’t gossip.
It’s bad for your health, reputation, and career.
23. Look for excuses to write thank you notes.
Go out of your way to be kind and generous just because. Build social capital. It has a funny way of coming back to you.
24. You don’t succeed by following the rules.
If you did, everyone would have careers they loved. It pays to be different.
25. To be interesting, be interested.
People want to interview, hire, work with, invest in, and buy from interesting people. But how to be interesting? Simple. Be interested. Cultivate genuine interest in every person, problem, business model, product, and philosophy in the world.
26. Curiosity is better than knowledge.
You don’t have to know all that much to win. But you do have to want to know a lot.
27. It will be fun, but it won’t be easy.
Remember playing video games as a kid and you couldn’t beat the final boss? The frustration. The agony. The pain. It was not easy. It was not a relaxed, leisurely activity. But damn, it sure was fun. That’s what hacking your career should be like.
Welcome to Career Hackers. Time to create a great career!