Once you’ve done your write-up it’s important to be able to share that information in a digestible form to your group members. Career guides can help people understand the landscape of a career path, the organisations involved and how to gain the career capital to enter that career path.
4.1 Why write a career guide?
- Provides an objective, birds-eye view of a career path or different career paths within a cause area
- Saves readers time and energy, provides information they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get (either for lack of access to important experts or time)
- If enough guides exist, readers can get a flavor of landscapes in different cause areas, making it easier for them to choose between paths
- Help identify gaps in the opportunity structure to enter this career path that people can work on
4.2 Before you begin
Has this been done already?
If you are writing a career guide for a commonly pursued or general path or career, it’s likely that there will be some advice in this space already. Doing a thorough search may save you hours and prevent you from reinventing the wheel.
- Check both EA and non-EA sources. Also check 80,000 Hours’ sources for their career profiles (these are good jumping off points for more in-depth research as well)
- Many resources already exist for a career in academia (e.g. economics or particular STEM fields), software engineering, start-up entrepreneurship, finance, management consulting, and more.
- There could still be significant value in compiling these sources, providing an EA analysis of them, and adding them to shared repositories of knowledge (local or global)
How much time do you have to invest?
Define how much time you have, and the quality of the guide you wish to achieve. For example, the author of the AI policy careers in the EU guide estimated it took about 150 hours in total to research and write the guide. About 120 hours was invested in learning about how the EU works, a piece of research that is highly reusable, and about 30 hours focused specifically on AI policy roles.
4.3 How to structure your writing
- Here is a template for Cause Area Guides from EA Denmark.
- Refer to this Check-list for writing the report from EA Denmark to orient you as you are writing the guide and staying focused on the important things.
If you’re writing a more in-depth guide, check out existing career advice resources for existing templates
Other ideas for guide templates
- 80,000 Hours, non-80K resources
- 80K cause area profiles
- 80K priority path profiles
- E.g. this General Guide to AI Policy or “”China specialist”” path
- Lauro found it useful to have the US AI Policy Guide as a template. that's where he took the 'where to aim long-term' and 'key routes in' format from, as well as a bunch of smaller things.
- 80K career profiles
- Animal Advocacy Careers’ advice page
- Interview Format
4.4 Cause Areas Guide
Thanks to EA Denmark for creating the original version! The priority rankings are how important it is to do each section. For an MVP you can start by just filling the “Priority: 1” sections.
Rank: (based on where this caused rank during your prioritization)
Main researchers: (names)
Status: In progress / Up-to-date / Out-of-date
Some links to quickly get an overview of the area (internationally).
Optionally: any other relevant info.
Describe the impact of working in this area in the local context. Is it really effective in your country? Upsides/downsides, maybe specific conditions, which one should meet to pick this area.
How to approach the area
A summary on how to get into the area
Local organizations within the area
List of Organizations
Include any relevant information about them. Are/were there any EA-minded orgs? Organizations should be approximately ranked by their impact.
Required Skills & Personal Traits
Try to add here the required skills for the orgs. Also would be nice to have personal traits (e.g. independent vs team-work) for these directions.
Ways to engage with the organizations
Examples: contact HR to set up a workshop there / contact the CEO and discuss internships in the company / find someone to organize a hackathon together.
What are the main bottlenecks for these orgs? Can we provide something useful to them? It can be non-effective organizations, and we can try to make them more effective. Or we can provide people to the organizations. Or we can take some projects on “out-source”.
Places to build your skills for the area (universities or intermediate organizations). This part is also relevant as a list of possible places we can approach to recruit more EAs.
Possible side projects or volunteer opportunities
Possible volunteer/side-activities one can do in case they want to contribute to the area or to test their personal fit.
Contacts for further guidelines
Here we can have experts from the EA community (local or international), some contacts from the organizations and/or people who just put a reasonable amount of time into researching this area (e.g. those, responsible for the section). Facebook groups can also be here. Ideally, we should have all of the above.
List of the next actions for the project. If someone works on this action, please label it with your name.
Any other notes
Feel free to put not-so-structured notes here. You’re also welcome to create a new section.
4.5 Check-list for Cause Area Guide
- Useful prompts to be mindful of while writing the report for each cause-area
- Does it serve the purpose?
- Does it have the recipient in mind?
- How would you convey the info to someone who's considering whether to pursue this cause area?
- Have you given advice within this cause area to people in the past?
- If yes, can you use that experience to inform your writing?
Area importance - why is this an important area to work on?
- One paragraph summary of the problem on a global scale (e.g. 80K material/problem profile) plus a link to the relevant website. If there's no 80K guide on it, it should still attempt to aim at using the scale, neglectedness, and tractability framework.
- 1-2 paragraphs that briefly describe why we think it's favorable to work on it in Denmark. Also, it should clarify whether we're focusing on solving a problem in DK or solve a global problem via the opportunities there are in DK.
- Write one paragraph on why we think it is NOT favorable to work on it in DK/why people should consider something else.
How to work on the problem
- Give a high-level strategy on how to approach the area from a career perspective.
- Add specific opportunities
- For each opportunity, we should add
- 1-3 lines on why we recommend the specific opportunity. Ideally, this would include our (un)certainty level. In any case, do your best to write clear next steps to research.
- We should have the following opportunities (MVP)
- 1-3 organizations to work for
- 1-3 educational programs
- 1-3 volunteer/side-activities people can do
- Ways of upskilling
- 1-3 relevant people that advisees can reach out to (within or outside EA DK)
- One contact person to reach out to
- Add the next steps on the guide
Do I adhere to the work guideline of the document?
- Add my name to next actions
- Support it by references
- Green for open questions
- Yellow if I want to get back to it.