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Career Hacking FAQs

Q. Is this just about meeting people that have been there and done it?

A. No – though we would recommend that as a great starting point. You can hack your career in all manner of different ways. Career Hacking an umbrella term which encompasses just about anything that you can do to understand your goals and take you closer to them. Examples could include:

  • Meeting wise folk and discussing what they have done and why
  • Developing skills in a certain area that will help get you closer to your goal
  • Hacking your CV so that it’s a more effective tool
  • Creating and building an online profile that reflects your passions and direction
  • Hacking your interview skills – learning how to accurately articulate yourself

Q. You mention a village and wise folk, what do these metaphors represent? Is there other terminology that would be useful?

A. These analogies are best explained juxtaposed against the presentation, here is a list that will help:

Wise folk – People that have been to a destination that can tell you what it’s like and how they got there.

Village – This represents anywhere you can go that wise folk may gather.

Kindred Spirit – A kindred spirit is someone that you meet that shares similar values and beliefs as you. The old woman is an example of a kindred spirit of both the second and third explorer in our story.

Mentor – A mentor is someone that is prepared to walk along part of the route with you.

Destination – This represents a career destination, it could be somewhere you ultimately want to head to or a short term goal, but it represents where you are trying to go.

Route – This represents your plan of how you’re going to get to your destination, you should look for shortcuts and pitfalls that other people have faced in making this journey to understand the best route for you.

Q. Do I have to be a student to ‘hack’ my career?

A. Absolutely not, anyone can hack their career. It just requires starting to think about your career as something that you can manipulate rather than something that just happens. The principles of Career Hacking are equally relevant whether you’re still in university, see yourself as at the top of your game or are nearing the end of your journey. Ultimately it is about thinking about where you want to go and finding out the best route there.

Q. Do I have to draw anything?

A. Not at all – career mapping is just a way to get the concepts of Career Hacking across. That said we’d highly recommend you learn the art of career mapping as it enables you to discuss people’s careers with them and study them later: you will almost always get more value from looking at it later and thinking about it.

Q. Where are the ‘villages’? How do I meet the wise folk?

A. Every 2-3 seconds another Meetup group opens up on Meetup.com; the chances are that there are already a lot of people that share your interests meeting regularly. A first step can be finding these groups and going along to a meeting or event. They can be a great first step toward understanding your passion. If you’re very lucky you will have a few ‘connectors’ in your industry – these are the people that just seem to know everyone. Meetup is just one way though andyou can do almost anything to find people – ask your friends for recommendations, write to people directly from Linkedin, use social networks like Twitter and Facebook to try and find people.

It’s best to avoid using the internet as a first step: try to meet real people that have been there already.

Q. There seem to be a lot of wise folk out there – which should I listen to?

A. We would recommend seeking out the P.E.T.A.s, this is Positive Experienced Trusted Advisors.

  • Positive – You should aim as much as possible to find people that are positive about their industry, their jobs and the route they took.
  • Experienced – You should aim to listen to those that have actually been to the destination, avoid listening to recruiters, parents or advisors that have heard opinions or have stories about the destination you want to visit. If people want to help you, ask them to help put you in touch with people that have been to the destination you’re considering.
  • Trusted – You should find people you can trust. If they have been recommended then fantastic, but you will also find people that you naturally click with and establish rapport with – these are the wise folk you should look for and listen to.
  • Advisor – These people may be positive, experienced and trustworthy, but they are still only people with opinions. No one can tell you what you should do: they should only advise and offer their opinions. Those that tell you what is right and wrong should be taken with a pinch of salt. Seek out those that are happy to offer their opinions.

These people exist in every area and every industry – they are often the ones that are doing very well or writing books about their subject. They are often more than happy to tell their story. If you keep looking you will find these people.

Q. How many wise folk should I meet?

A. As many as possible! Remember this is about two things – finding the right destination and then finding the best route.

There are so many career destinations out there – unless you’re a master networker you won’t know of most of them purely because you won’t have met enough people yet. Even when you think you’ve zeroed in on a specific career destination you’ll find there are a lot of different sub-destinations. Some of them will suit you, others won’t – but some will be *perfect*. That’s what you’re looking for.

When it comes to routes – you can’t ever be sure you have found the best route across the island until you have spoken to everyone that has reached the destination: which means you should keep speaking to other people and finding out the route they took. They may share with you a pitfall to avoid or a shortcut you can take that only they know about. Everyone that has found success knows of a shortcut or two.

Q. Once I’ve left ‘the village’ do I need to keep in contact with the wise folk?

A. We would recommend building and sustaining relationships with the wise folk. If you’re lucky they may be happy to walk along part of the path with you. This is what we would call mentoring: there are many people in the industry that will be happy to take you under their wing, share guidance, contacts and advice with you without asking anything back for the pure reason that you are passionate about the exact same things that they are.

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