I don’t care what your major was. I don’t care where you went to school. We want to see hustle.
This comes from the latest episode of the “Skimm’d from the Couch” podcast by cofounders Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg. Now that their media startup The Skimm has been around for nearly six years, the co-CEOs share what stands out to them when looking to hire new candidates.
It’s all about the hustle.
Zakin even admits that she is more likely to hire a someone who worked in a restaurant than a Harvard MBA. So how do you show that you have hustle?
Learn on your own time
When I think of the word hustle, I tend to think of the hard working athlete who doesn’t have a lot of natural talent. He’s the one who stays after practice to run the drills a few more times and the one who is logging minutes in the weight room on weekends.
The working world is similar. If you don’t have the experiential knowledge of your coworkers, the only way to catch up is to fill in the gaps outside of working hours. Whether this means taking a Udemy course on Excel or working through Salesforce Trailhead, doing these tasks outside of work helps you create more value during working hours
Contribute both ideas and action
It’s hard to stand out as a hustler if you remain silent during team meetings. Share your ideas and contribute to the conversation! Most importantly, turn “we should” into “I did.” Follow through with your ideas by actually putting them into place rather than waiting for someone else to do it. )More on that topic in an episode of Office Hours here.)
When someone needs assistance or when the boss is looking for someone to do some grunt work, volunteer to help! Especially if you’re early in your career, the opportunity cost of your time is low, and it will only benefit you to get more experience. Keep this mindset for tasks no one will ask you to do as well – like changing the cooler’s water bottle or taking out the trash.
Work out loud
Siloed communication is a threat to businesses of any size. Prevent it from happening to you and your work by sharing updates on current projects. It’s rare that a project will only affect a single department, so be sure to bring the relevant parties from other departments in the loop, too.
You can also share your work outside of the company on your own blog, detailing different projects you’ve been a part of and your contribution. It will be impossible for someone to challenge your level of hustle if you have a digital paper trail documenting it.
Finally, show a strong sense of urgency. Those tasks you volunteered to help with or ideas you put out there are meaningless until you follow through. Develop the reputation of someone who hustles by turning around your projects quickly, responding to communication quickly, and adapting to changes quickly. That will get your further than an empty credential any day.