You’ve probably heard of growth hacking — using creative and unorthodox growth strategies — in the business context. But have you ever thought about applying the growth hacking mindset to your own career? We know someone who has. Meet Kenny Tang, Business Analytics Manager at Klook and our resident career growth hacker.
Why career growth hacking?
Kenny approaches the topic of personal development in a radically disciplined way. “I always list down all goals I want to achieve, habits I want to acquire and behaviors I want to change. If possible, I will quantify my goals to easily measure them. Then I check on my goals every other week to see if I made progress.”
Is this level of discipline really required to drive your growth forward? According to Kenny, yes. “Without a continuous reminder, we often lose track of our progress,” he says. It’s all too easy to get sucked into the routine and become stagnant. Stepping outside of your comfort zone takes conscious effort.
Always put yourself in the driver's seat of your own growth.
There is a method to this madness
“The benefit of working at Klook is the possibility to take on different roles or even move on to a completely new field, if you’re bold enough”, says Kenny. “I also took up some roles that were completely unfamiliar to me.”
From Partnerships Manager, to International Market Launcher, to API Connectivity Manager, up to his current role in Business Analytics, Kenny’s career journey at Klook has spanned drastically different functions (all of this in less than 5 years!). But how do you make these career transitions work when you don’t have a sufficient background in the field? Here is Kenny’s career hacking strategy.
Do your research
“I believe that to learn any new subject the most important thing is to expose yourself to different learning materials. Before I took up the role as API Connectivity Manager, I read tons of articles and books. I documented my learnings in an Excel sheet that became very useful whenever I needed to recall anything.”
With limited time, choose the materials wisely. "For some industries, like marketing or technology, reading a book might not be the best idea, because they change so frequently. Today Facebook could roll out a new ad feature, tomorrow Apple iOS might have an update that will impact tracking ad performance. As new information pops up every other day, it's better to identify the most popular blogs in the field to keep yourself updated.”
Meet Kenny Tang, Business Analytics Manager and our resident career growth hacker.
Ask the experts
“When I took on an expanded role to help kickstart the localization team in Europe, I called up a friend who worked at a translation agency and received a crash course from her about how the industry worked,” says Kenny. “The goal was to hire ten in-house linguists and a translation agency. I was vulnerable. I shamelessly asked the candidates and the agency a lot of questions. That’s how I acquired the knowledge.”
“As you do self-learning for any topic, you get stuck at certain points because you never experienced that in real life before. That’s when you need to talk to experts to overcome those bottlenecks.”
“For many roles, you just need to get the basic and foundational knowledge, the rest you pick up automatically as you do your job.”
Figure out what the basics are and get them right. Learn from others: ask experts about the things you couldn’t find in books and articles. And then dive right into it.
“Every second in your work hour could be a learning opportunity: when you talk to others, you learn about stakeholder management, when you write an email/Slack, you polish on communication skills. It's a matter of how self conscious you are,” explains Kenny. Scary as it is, most of your learning will happen on the job.
Make haste slowly
If you read this far, you’re probably getting excited about reaching your goals more efficiently and fast tracking your career. But there is one more important thing Kenny shared with us. Some things shouldn’t be rushed.
“Imagine a graph with two important lines. One line is our career path curve, which is job titles, salary etc. The second one is our learning curve, which represents knowledge, experience, skillset.”
There will be multiple plateaus and breakthroughs for your career path and learning curve. Your goal is to make sure that you don't get stuck in plateaus for too long, and the career path is not growing much faster than the learning curve.
“If the career path grows faster than the learning curve that means you get promoted too early, before your foundation is solid. When you become a manager, your schedule is packed with meetings, you’re doing stakeholder management — you have little time to work on polishing your skills and you fail to lead your team in the right direction. If your learning curve grows faster than your career path, you have the time you need to grow and develop before you get promoted. My advice is focus on your learning curve, not career path, especially in the early years of your career.”
Will you be applying some of these learnings to your own career? Because we’re feeling really inspired for our 2021 goals planning right now. Thanks, Kenny!
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Posted by Klook Careers