How to apply
Due to high demand, we’re only able to work with a small fraction of people who apply. If you’re unsure, however, it doesn’t take long to apply, and many people say they find the application form helps them reflect on their plans. You can also always apply again if your situation changes.
We aim to work with the people who we can help have the greatest impact. This means we look for commitment to social impact, interest in our pressing problems, and evidence you can excel in a priority path. You don’t need to meet all of the criteria, but they all help.
We’re aware that factors like gender, race, and socioeconomic background can affect people’s willingness to call attention to their own achievements. We’d especially like to encourage people from under-represented backgrounds to apply.
Commitment to social impact
The aim of 80,000 Hours is to have the biggest social impact we can. We look to work with people who make social impact one of their main career goals. (See our definition of social impact for more.)
Prior involvement with the effective altruism community is helpful but not necessary. You should be familiar with the basic principles of social impact career choice as presented in our key ideas series. Ideally, you should have already tried to apply our more advanced research to your situation.
We take an analytical approach to social impact and career choice, and we’re most able to help people who do the same. We’ll look to see clear explanations of your plans, and how you hope to make an impact.
Interest in pressing problems
We’re best able to help people who are keen to work on the problems we see as most pressing. We’ll look for evidence of your interest in working in at least one of the priority paths listed above. We are keen to speak to people who have a strong existing commitment to a particular path, and also those who are at an earlier stage (e.g. considering one or more of these paths among several others).
In addition, we can often help people who are considering other paths within our top recommended problem areas, or even paths within completely different areas. If you want to work in a path that’s not listed above, please make sure your application demonstrates exceptional ability and includes a summary of the reasons why you think this is likely to be your highest-impact option.
Evidence you can excel in a priority path
Your application should provide evidence of past achievements and ability to excel in one of our priority paths, for example:
- You’ve completed a relevant side-project, such as volunteering or research.
- You excelled in your studies at one of the world’s top 20 universities.
- You previously worked in competitive roles.
- You received awards, grants or fellowships.
- You co-founded a successful business or social initiative.