Talk to the 80,000 Hours team
Speak with us for free about using your career to help solve one of the world’s most pressing problems.
We’ve spoken with over 2,000 people over the past three years.
On the call we can help you choose your focus, make connections, and find a fulfilling job to tackle important problems.
For more on what speaking with us is like and how we can help, listen to this podcast with one of our advisors.
How it works
Fill in our brief application form. Tell us your current thoughts on career options so we can work out how to help best.
If we think we can help, we’ll send you a link to book your call and ask for some extra information.
3.Have a one-on-one call
You’ll have a video call to talk through your career with one of our advisors and work out next steps.
4.Stay in touch
In some cases, your advisor will stay in touch with you after the call if they can continue supporting your career.
Who we can help
We’re most helpful for people who:
- Take an analytical approach to social impact and career choice.
- Aim to use their career to do the most good, and take seriously the idea of promoting welfare over the long term. (You can read more about what we think it means to help others as effectively as possible on our key ideas page.)
- Are interested in the problems we think are most pressing, which you can read about in our problem profiles.
If you’re not sure about whether to apply, we recommend that you do. It doesn’t take long and just filling out the form might help you think through your career. Plus, you can always apply again in the future.
We currently speak to about one in three people who apply.
If it doesn’t seem like we’re the best people for you to talk to, we might be able to put you in touch with someone else instead of us or offer you some resources that we think will help. We offer most people we don’t speak to an introduction to someone else or a free book.
If you know someone else who is interested in 80,000 Hours and could benefit from speaking with us, then we’d really appreciate it if you encouraged them to apply.
Our advising team
Michelle holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Oxford, where her thesis was on global priorities research. While completing that, she did the operational set-up of the Centre for Effective Altruism and then became executive director of Giving What We Can. She came to us fresh from setting up the Global Priorities Institute at Oxford.
Alex studied physics at Oxford, after which he completed Teach First and taught physics and maths at King’s Maths School. Alongside teaching he worked for SoGive as a senior analyst, and volunteered as a moderator for the forecasting platform Metaculus.
Matt came to 80,000 Hours after three years of litigating for a top global law firm. Before that, he led Harvard Law School’s Effective Altruism student group. He continues to support EA groups at law schools and EA community building in the legal field more broadly, in part through his organisation of the Legal Topics in Effective Altruism virtual programme.
Sudhanshu has been a consultant with giant multinationals, a corporate soft-skills trainer, a research engineer at a startup, and a PhD student in robotics. He’s worked in a variety of contexts, including manufacturing, financial services, and healthcare, and has degrees in mathematics, management, and machine learning.
Abigail Novick Hoskin
Abigail has a master’s in neuroscience from Oxford University and a PhD in psychology and neuroscience from Princeton University. Her research focused on memory, multitasking, cognitive control, and mental health. She has also done research on human subjective wellbeing and changing people’s attitudes towards moral psychology. She founded Princeton University Effective Altruism and particularly enjoys speaking with students.
Huon studied maths and philosophy at the Australian National University, where he was a core organiser for the university EA club. He worked in management consulting at a boutique firm before joining 80,000 Hours, and wrote his Honours Thesis on moral uncertainty.
Some people we've helped
Of the hundreds of people we’ve advised, 95% would recommend us to a friend and 76% said they changed their career plans to something higher impact.
As a direct result of advising, I found a role as Assistant Director of the Center for Human-Compatible AI at UC Berkeley, where I will contribute to shaping provably beneficial AI.
Technical Program Manager
The advising team is incredibly well-researched and connected in AI safety. Their advice is far more insightful, personalized, and impact-focused than most of what I got from Google, self-reflection, or the peers or mentors I would typically go to.
Natural Language Processing PhD student
New York University
A huge thank you for offering this service! University career counselors tend to focus on finding job listings, networking, and tweaking a resume — but the big issues I was able to explore with 80,000 Hours were far more important to me in thinking about my career over the next 30 years.
The Good Food Institute
We aim to work with the people we can most help to have a great impact. This means we look for people who:
- Make social impact one of their main career goals.
- Take an analytical approach to social impact and career choice.
- Are already somewhat familiar with the basic principles of social impact career choice as presented in our key ideas series.
- Are interested in working on our pressing problems.
- Have the ability to excel in a challenging career.
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 encourage people from underrepresented backgrounds to apply.
How much do I have to think about my career before applying? Do I have to have a career plan already?
You do not need to have a worked out career plan before applying. In fact, talking with us earlier in the process of planning might be better, so that we can help you answer some key uncertainties and work out where to focus your efforts.
If you have already done a lot of career planning, we’ll be happy to talk through your thoughts. But as long as you can write a couple of paragraphs in the application form setting out your current thinking (even if you have a lot of uncertainties) then that is enough for applying.
To get the most out of the call, it’s helpful for you to have some familiarity with some of 80,000 Hours’ content or the wider effective altruism movement. We find that it’s best for people to absorb these ideas at their own pace before talking. But we know there’s so much you could read and want to emphasise that you don’t need to have thought about everything before applying. There’s a list of resources you might have read in the application form — but don’t worry, we don’t expect you to have read all of those.
If you aren’t that familiar with 80,000 Hours’ content, we recommend you learn more before applying. For example, you can:
- Listen to our 10-part podcast series Effective Altruism: An Introduction. Together these give you the most essential information you need about some of the world’s most pressing problems, and how to work out how to do the most good.
- Check out a book like The Precipice by philosopher Toby Ord, which discusses the catastrophic risks that threaten the future of humanity and the reasons for taking those issues really seriously.
- Sign up for a free online introductory or in-depth EA programme. The programmes run regularly and they are a great way to learn more about the ideas alongside others.
As a rule of thumb, if you’ve done at least one of the above and the ideas have resonated with you, then it might be worth applying to speak with our team now.
Working out what problem to work on is an important factor in our approach to planning an impactful career, but we know it is a difficult question to form a view on. Talking this through with people is one of the most helpful things we can do on our calls. So if you’re unsure about which problem to work on, don’t let that stop you applying.
We speak with people at a wide range of different points in their career, including students. We can often be useful even if you don’t yet have a firm idea of what career seems like a good fit for you.
For example, we might be able to help you think about what directions seem most promising to try out first, talk through what subjects to study, suggest promising opportunities you can do during your vacations, and connect you with more people to build your network.
We speak with people at a wide range of different points in their career, including people who are mid- or late-career. We work closely with many organisations that are working on the problems we think are most pressing. They are often keen to find people with significant experience, and we might be able to flag particularly relevant roles — especially if you’re willing to be flexible.
Even if you’re very involved in the effective altruism community, you may find it useful to spend some focused time talking to an advisor about your career questions. We have helped people who are already highly engaged with the community by talking through their uncertainties about their career plans as well as introducing them to potential new employers, funders, and mentors. We can also double check you haven’t missed any of our relevant research.
Our donors cover the cost of this service because they see it as an opportunity for impact — many people we advise go on to have a greater impact over the course of their career than they would have otherwise.
We usually get back to people within about a month of applying. If you have an urgent decision to make, we encourage you to put that in your application, and email [email protected].
You can choose which advisor to book a call with when we send you the details for the call.
We understand that it can seem intimidating to apply, but we’d encourage you to give it a try if you think it might be helpful for you. If it helps, you can check out this Twitter thread from one of our advisors, Habiba, about the range of people she talks to in advising.
In particular, we know that things like gender, race, and socioeconomic background can often make people less willing to put themselves forward or call attention to their achievements. We really encourage people from underrepresented backgrounds to apply — we want our service to help people as much as possible.
We sincerely regret that we can’t advise everyone who applies. We read every application individually and are thankful that you took the time to apply. It’s really touching to read about people who have come across 80,000 Hours and are excited about using their careers to help others.
We aim to talk to the people we think we can help the most. But even if we can’t talk to you, we often suggest someone else you can talk to or provide more resources (such as a free book!).
If we can’t speak with you, that does not mean we think you won’t have a highly impactful career. Whether we can be helpful to you sometimes depends on contingent factors like whether one of our advisers happens to know of a role or introduction right now that might be a good fit for you. Also, unfortunately, it’s impossible for us to know everyone’s situation well enough to be completely sure we’re speaking to the right people. We try to do the best with the information we have from the application form but we might still make mistakes that aren’t a reflection on you at all.
You’re very welcome to re-apply, particularly if your situation changes. In the meantime, it might be worth reading our key ideas series and trying out our career planning process, which we developed to help people think through their career decisions. You can also get involved in our community to get help from other people trying to do good with their careers.
If you think you’d find it useful, yes! While we don’t guarantee additional calls to people we’ve already spoken to, and often speak to people only once, we think multiple calls can be really valuable in the right circumstances.
In general, we’re most excited to speak to people a second time when something about their situation has changed. For example:
- You might have changed your mind about which cause is most important for you to work on, so the plan from the first call no longer applies.
- You might have planned to do some exploring after the first call, and now, having narrowed down your options, be struggling to choose between the final few.
- You might have started a programme of study after speaking to us, and now be about to finish it.
- It could be something else entirely!
As with an initial application, even if we don’t think we’ll be especially helpful a second time, we might still be able to connect you with someone else to speak to, or highlight other resources or opportunities.
Please email us at [email protected].
Dr Zac Kenton
I was introduced to some experts in the field and others who were interested in following a similar path. These introductions have played a big part in me obtaining an internship at MILA. 80,000 Hours also helped me to be awarded an EA grant for pursuing research related to AI safety.
I am very grateful to 80,000 Hours. The career advising was invaluable in providing the confidence and the direction that I needed to pursue a PhD in computer science. Since the advising session, Peter continues to introduce me via email to influential individuals in relevant fields.
PhD Student, Machine Learning
University of Cambridge
80,000 Hours advising showed me that I could pursue a career that was both ethically and personally rewarding. They showed me that my job horizons — and therefore opportunities to do good — were broader than I had thought, even with my heavy involvement in effective altruism.
Associate Counsel for Policy & Governance