Daily Endeavor Blog

This blog is about leading a work life worth living.

This blog is about leading a work life worth living.

How the Resume is Being Replaced…by You

What hiring managers use as your “resume” is changing. It’s becoming less backward-looking and more about the present. It’s not just where you’ve worked, it’s a deeper look into you. Very quickly, it’s becoming the conversations you’re in and what you have to say. If they can find you, the person considering you wants to know: what are you really into?

Bryan Wright's Human Evolution?

Why the Resume Exists

While most people think of resumes as something indispensable for job seekers, it’s in fact the hiring managers who initiated and have come to depend on them.

As originally conceived, the resume played a critical role for a hiring manager — a sorting mechanism for their time. The resume does not determine whether someone should be hired. The utility of a resume is as a filter. A resume answers whether a person should be considered — Is this person worth spending more time on?

The resume excels at being the quick look in the rear-view mirror. We all know it well — it’s a list of employment, usually full-time. Within that skeleton, there are three types of information that a hiring manager can use to sort people into worth-more-time or not.

  • Area of work (subfield experience, functional expertise)
  • Reputation of what you worked on (company, project)
  • Results (numbers, measures)

In other words, resumes are a short-hand for the arc of a story. They answer in brief: What did you do? With who? How did it work out?

If you’re considering someone for a team, and you know nothing about them yet, it’s easy to see the utility of a resume. It provides an initial reference point for comparison. It can start to give a sense of patterns over time. It can begin to answer the amount of growth required of the person in order for them to thrive in the new role.

What Hiring Managers Really Want to Know

Hiring managers face two hard problems that resumes can’t wholly solve:

  1. they need to discover talent, and
  2. they need to distinguish between them once they’ve found them.

Since they’ve been around, resumes have always been necessary but not sufficient on both counts.

Besides the most well-known complaints (easy to spoof, keywords are grossly inadequate, they’re free to replicate so thousands can show up for an open job), resumes have always had structural limitations in the questions they can quickly answer. After getting a historical baseline, hiring managers have filled the gaps in other (time-intensive) ways, usually through interviews and references.

So if you were going to make a hiring manager’s job easier for them, let’s figure out: what else do they want to know? (Or better, put yourself in their shoes — what else would you want to know if you’re considering someone to join your team?)

Even more helpful than the potential hire’s full-time role 3 or 10 years ago, when distinguishing candidates TODAY it’s immensely helpful to know what they’re really into right now. Where someone is investing their attention now is the best proxy for what truly motivates them, and as a result, a more distinctive predictor of whether they might thrive in the specific role at hand.

Think: what is this person so into that they’d talk about it even if they weren’t getting paid? What’s something either they’re learning quickly or teach a lot about? Hiring managers are looking for a fast and reliable way to gauge a candidate’s intrinsic motivation.

Current genuine interest is not the only input for a hiring decision, but it’s a huge one. Current genuine interest fuels a person’s willingness to expend the real effort required to grow and get the hard work done. It also helps signal what else — people and insights — they can bring to the table.

Beyond the historical list that a resume provides, hiring managers want to know:

  • What are you genuinely interested in?
  • What have you learned about it lately?
  • Who are you learning from (and who’s learning from you)?
  • How fast do you learn? Is it superficial or is there clear-thinking that’s leading to a point of view?

The hiring manager faces the needle in the haystack problem — and if you want to be readily hired, part of your job is to help them solve it. They’re trying to find a very specific person for a very specific role. Put another way, once they find you, the person considering you for a job is trying to discover if what you’re really into is what they really need.

As a job seeker, your job is to help make your answers to these questions as easily discoverable as possible. Your resume, built for a different purpose in a different era, isn’t going to get you there. Here’s what will: showcasing what you know, a few sentences at a time, around a very specific job (i.e. in a way that makes it easy for hiring managers to find you).

Remember, hiring managers are awash in a sea of resumes. They’re trying to separate the wheat from the chaff — they want to discover the few bits you’ve said online that are relevant to their open role without wading through the noise of all the other conversations you’re in. They want to quickly see who’s sharp at being an analyst in management consulting or doing curriculum development for new teacher development.

This is by the way precisely how Daily Endeavor and our partners can help you. At Daily Endeavor you can showcase what you know.

The main question for you: what have you done recently to make your interests and insights discoverable for hiring managers with a very specific job in mind?

Does Your Current Work Life Make You Happy?

livingonimpulse's wonder

PSFK held a salon this week on happiness over at the Soho House. In 11 Insights About Happiness they recap the conversation. Here are a few:

Moving from scarcity to abundance really does lead to different behavior:

Wanting to become happier is not a selfish pursuit. Happier individuals are more likely to go out of their way to aid and support others.

You’re quarterbacking:

Creating opportunities to be happier is important; people shape these environments and conditions on their own terms.

Context matters:

Self-tracking is more easily adapted and effective when it’s focused on an event or goal (i.e. marathon, a race).

…or discovering what you want from your work life.

Every job, every project sheds some light on what you may want more of (or less of). We track our weekly meetings, our calories, our reps, but how many are tracking what they really want from the immense portion of our lives dedicated to work? It’s hard to manage what’s not being measured.

By the way, if you’re looking to set goals (find a new job! quit smoking!) and get people in your life involved, there are two great sites with different approaches (and phenomenal founders) that are worth checking out: Health Rally and Social Workout.

Why Education is Opportunity

If you’re thinking about what to do next, one good rule of thumb is to explore areas where there is tremendous disruption and change ahead, and as a result, a surplus of opportunity.

How education occurs — how it’s designed, how it’s delivered (or isn’t) — is undergoing change on a tectonic scale. If you’re looking for work, it’s understatement to say there is opportunity there for you. **

Sir Ken Robinson speaks a lot on the state of education. I’m glad he does — his big picture thinking simplifies what’s complex, making conversation (and your job search) easier to start. It also happens that this talk in particular is one of the best examples of why I do what I do. It fires me up. Redesigning education at this scale is my life’s work.

RSA, as they always do, does a phenomenal job illustrating the talk.

** Note: At Daily Endeavor there are over 4,000 species of education jobs, and more being invented everyday out there.

Career Search Roundup for 2010-10-25

Matthew Inman - theoatmeal

Good News: People Want to Leave Their Jobs

In FORTUNE (print) this week Jena McGregor, based on a survey by the Corporate Executive Board, reports that 27% of “high-potential” employees plan to leave their current job in the next 12 months. It’s 1 in 5 for the general employee population. Some may think that’s bad news. It’s not. In fact it’s good news for employees and companies.

Corporate Executive Board study

McGregor continues to explain that perks hold some sway in keeping people around, but the potential for growth is the powerful motivator: “They want a mix of recognition and challenges that stretch them without completely stressing them out.” I had a conversation with Fast Company about this very topic 10 years ago.

Many people take jobs for money, but when they leave, most go when they quit learning.

One way to read the finding is that about half of us want to change our job every 2 years. Why is that?

People leave jobs when the no asshole rule is triggered, or when someone makes them an economic offer they can’t refuse, or most often, when they’ve learned 80% of what they can in a role and it’s time to take on the next challenge.

People stay in jobs when something about their current role affords more growth and learning, or when their personal expenses require them to stay.

There’s an assumption, really a mindset at this point, that changing roles is a bad thing. The refrain: It shows a lack of commitment. It signals low achievement. It’s disloyal to the company. It shows a lack of focus, the kind that comes from someone who doesn’t know what they want.

In my experience, not true.

In fact the opposite is more often the case: people who have an idea of what they want, even if not crystal clear, work their way toward it through trying on different responsibilities, creating results, then importantly moving on to do what’s next.

These people are the ones I want in my company. They see the work we can do together in part as a means to their own personal learning end. I can provide income and perks and a healthy culture, but there’s no motivation that I can provide that will ever be greater than the individual’s motivation to pursue and learn about something that fires them up.

The fact that people want to leave their job is a strong signal they’re taking their professional growth seriously. That’s as commitment- and achievement-oriented as I could wish for. Yes, there are exceptions. Some people perform poorly, some approach the relationship solely for maximum personal value extraction, and some aren’t ready to complete the work we need (which means I made a bad hiring decision).

Nevertheless, I look for someone who walks in and says “over the next two years, I want to see for myself whether I can X.” My job as a manager is to pair our needs with theirs — it’s to help them get the kind of experience they’re looking for while they’re creating the results we need.

Remember, changing jobs does not need to mean changing companies. At the end of two years, the best next step may be to do more work together but in a different capacity, or it may be for them to go get different experience elsewhere. The road is long, if the relationship is good, there’s always a chance we’ll meet up again.

I’m glad to see people want to leave their jobs. I can’t wait for the number to be higher.

Holstee Gets It

YCombinator shared a tweet today from the folks at Holstee. They have a manifesto that’s so consistent with our outlook (in fact, with our manifesto), I feel like we were separated at birth.

holstee manifesto

When we first asked what will you do with your one wild and precious life, this is exactly response we found ourselves answering with

There are hundreds of thousands species of work that you’ve likely never heard of. If the one you’re in isn’t firing you up, don’t settle. Explore your options. Find something that both meets your financial needs and your growth needs. Many people take jobs for money, but almost all leave them when they quit learning. We want to help you seek out a life worth living. And it looks like Holstee does too.

holstee manifesto espanol

Prototype Your Work Life (TEDxAshokaU)

In the fun chat with Lindsey Pollak last week I mentioned the freedom that comes with asking different questions — in particular, making the first step in the job search more manageable by asking two specific, time-bound questions: Over the next two years, what do you want to be better known for? Over the next two years, what do you want to go see for yourself?

If you’re interested in some of the why behind these questions, and why taking a prototyping point of view is helpful, here’s a short talk (13 min) I gave on the topic at AshokaU’s TEDx event at Google DC earlier this year. This talk is a partial introduction to the larger prototyping framework at Endeavor Prep.

If you haven’t met Ashoka yet, founder Bill Drayton gave rise to the term “social entrepreneur” a few decades ago, and since then Ashoka has been at the center of catalyzing change in nearly every corner of the world. AshokaU is their initiative bringing change-making to university campuses.

Video doesn’t always tell the full story of the participants in the room, but as a guest I can tell you they were great. AshokaU and their partners organized a very impressive two-day event. They’re doing some great stuff over there.

How to Discover Careers You Never Knew Existed

I had the real pleasure today of chatting with Lindsey Pollak over on her MyPath BlogTalkRadio Show. Lindsey of course is one of the central (& IMHO one of the best) voices describing career and workplace issues for Gen Y (see e.g. Getting from College to Career). She’s also recently been working with LinkedIn as they start to roll out tools for students.

In the short podcast (10 min) we cover why it’s so hard today to learn about the jobs that are out there and some of the more interesting ones. My favorite question is when she asks “Did you struggle at all?” to which the answer is definitely Yes. Interviews can so often be sterile and she makes it human.

Here’s the clip:

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What is Daily Endeavor?

Daily Endeavor is a free online guide to jobs to help people figure out what they want to do next professionally. It’s the first step in the job search.

The website is a continually improving collection of job reviews that are collectively and publicly written by people who have had them. Of the three major stages job seekers pass through – What do I want to do next? Who do I know in that area? Who’s hiring now? – All the job boards, like CareerBuilder, The Ladders, and Monster, solve the third; LinkedIn and Facebook solve the second (though LinkedIn is growing to do a good job on more than that); and Daily Endeavor solves the first.

When most people are asked “What do you want to do next?” they respond with “What are my options?” They don’t want to know who’s hiring tomorrow, at least not as their first step. They want to understand the types of jobs that exist and which ones might be right for them.

This need, which was continually the headline in hundreds of client conversations at Endeavor Prep, is critical and unmet for nearly every student in business school, law school, graduate school, college, and increasingly high school. We originally thought this pain was primarily felt by students, but as the economy tanked and our average client age increased, we learned it’s also the central need for people switching types of work in their 30s and 40s, and even those starting their encore careers.

Because there’s no easy way to learn about 99% of the types of jobs that exist (e.g. Research in Strategy Management Consulting, or Co-Founder in Microinsurance), people do the best they can and fill the void with informational interviews. They try to get meetings with people they know who can explain a little bit about what they do.

Informational interviews are great, but of course have some real limitations if you want to learn about a lot of areas, especially if those areas are varied. Organizing one-on-one meetings is really time consuming for both people involved. And most of all, your potential to learn is limited by who you know.

We’re building the world’s largest set of do-it-yourself “informational interviews” online so everyone can quickly explore, vet and “follow” jobs and professional categories during their job search.

If you’re looking for a job, Daily Endeavor enables you to explore the universe of options even if you don’t know a lot of people. Our goal is to democratize access to careers — we want you to be able to learn about professions regardless of who you know.

There’s more to say and more to come. For now, go ahead and check out Daily Endeavor. It’s the first step to get you started in your next job.

Bezos: Minimize Regrets


Bijan Sabet highlights an interview excerpt with Jeff Bezos from 2001 over at the Academy of Achievement (another great resource for learning about careers). When thinking about the big professional forks in the road — and they all feel big — Bezos worked to look through the long lens. It came down this: minimize regrets.

So, it really was a decision that I had to make for myself, and the framework I found which made the decision incredibly easy was what I called — which only a nerd would call — a “regret minimization framework.”…So, I wanted to project myself forward to age 80 and say, “Okay, now I’m looking back on my life. I want to have minimized the number of regrets I have.”

Great advice for not only what we choose to do next, but also how we choose to do it.

Whether it’s a job search with multiple potential directions, or you’re thinking about taking the plunge as a founder in a startup, what door, if left unopened, will bum you out? If you’re already doing what you want to be doing, is there something in how you’re going about it that may leave you with regret?

Don't settle. Do what you love.

Lead a work life worth living