Successful Berklee Alumni #179: Chris Hansen

Chris Hansen

Graduated in 2010 with a major in Professional Music. Principal instrument: guitar.

Position: Executive Recruiter at Century Group, a recruiting/staffing firm specializing in finance and accounting professionals in the Bay Area. Specializing in placing upper level employees in permanent positions, Chris works both ends in this commission-based job: developing business by cold-calling companies to see if they could use help finding people, and finding appropriate people to fill these positions.

Overview: Chris started teaching guitar at a local (San Francisco) music school while in high school and continued to do so during breaks while at Berklee. Upon graduating, Chris was offered more hours, and elected to go that route rather than tour, in part because he suffered from tendinitis. For for years he was an “entrepreneurial musician” — teaching, gigging with corporate bands, working as a sideman and even scoring music for a film. But his income wasn’t great, hours were awkward, and debt was piling up and his tendinitis was giving him trouble, so he elected to branch out. He spend an hour each day applying to part-time positions, and got one selling memberships at a spa where he could work mornings. For the next year and a half he worked around 100 hours each week (!) until he was out of debt and had built up some extra money, then he put in his notice at both jobs and looked for something new.

A random conversation with the manager of a clothing store where he was shopping lead to a job as an assistant manager in the fall of 2015, then in the spring of 2016 he got a better opportunity: a bandmate was a manager a workers comp. processing firm that needed another clerk, and Chris was hired. In early 2017 he gave a friend good advice on how to land a job she would be interviewing for at a recruiting firm. She got the job, then encouraged him to apply for a similar position. The pay was better, so he took the job. He worked there until the spring of 2019, when he was recruited into his current job.
You can see Chris’s LinkedIn profile here.

Choice Quotes: “I enjoy being able to work with people in a way that’s focused on them. Teaching guitar was incredibly gratifying when I really could help someone move to the next level in what they’re trying to accomplish. As a recruiter, I help someone reach that next level in their career — pay, commute, benefits, corporate culture. And it feels the same. It works similarly when helping out a company that’s in a hard spot. Helping them find that employee / leader they really need who can help fix some issue they’re struggling with. I also enjoy a challenge, learning new things (in this case, the world of finance & accounting, which underlies every other business). “

“Go out and work hard, but also work smart. It’s not ‘work smarter not harder’, It’s both figuring out how to work smarter, then work harder at that than anybody else.”

“I’d consider myself an introvert, but at Berklee, getting up on stage & performing, jamming/performing with others, collaborating, networking with everyone really helped develop me and my confidence, self image, and people skills. Also, Berklee was an environment where you’re excited about meeting others, you want to learn what’s being taught — that helped my desire to learn, and set me up for continued learning & growth. “

One thing that really helped me was flipping the question. Rather than parents/teachers asking what we wanted to be: what we like/enjoy/are good at. But I was asked instead “How do you want to live?” Then find avenues that will produce that for you. And if you figure out the right profession, absolutely go for it!”

“If you want to be a recruiter, do what recruiters do and recruit! Go out on social media etc. Find folks who work at recruiting firms and reach out to them, visit in person if possible. (This applies to non-recruiter job, too!) If you can be energetic and thorough in reaching out to them, that tells them you’ll be similarly energetic and thorough as a recruiter. Even if they don’t have a role, if you impress them they may keep you in mind for other opportunities.



See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.