Career planning program

Career planning program

Last updated: 4th October, 2023

1. How our Career Planning Program works

  • This is a 5-week program with 3 separate tracts that aims to guide participants through the 80,000 Hours career planning course.
  • Weekly 1 hour long meetings with a small group and a facilitator.
  • The program lasts for 5 weeks.
  • There are 3 separate tracks that run simultaneously. If a person were to do each of the 3 tracks one-after-another it would take 15 weeks (3 x 5 weeks).
  • The 1st session of the 5 weeks is group co-working to fill out the relevant workbook for that track.
  • The 'homework' that participants do in between sessions is to investigate a cause area, longer-term path, or to complete an action step that is relevant to them.
  • The remaining 4 out of 5 sessions are spent in group discussion. Each week, each participant delivers an informal 5-10 minute presentation on the cause area or long-term path that they have investigated.

2. How to run this program

a. Set-up

  • Set up an application form. Here is an example from EA Virtual Program’s career planning program that you can copy.
  • Advertise the program using your group's usual channels.
  • Reach out individually to group members you think could benefit from the program.

b. Familiarise yourself with the workbooks

  • In each track there is a separate workbook.
  • The participants will need to submit their workbooks to you for you to leave comments after the first session of the program.
  • You can create a Google or Airtable form that allows participants to submit their form to you. See our template here.
  • Alternatively, you can just ask them to email the workbook to you when they're done.
  • Make sure to ask participants to change sharing settings on their workbook so that you can leave comments.

c. Prepare the templates

  • Tracks 1 and 2 have a presentation template, which participants can use to create their presentations that they will do each week. Familiarise yourself with them:
  • Track 1 template
  • Track 2 template

d. Run the sessions

Further information here

1. How to Facilitate

a. General guidance

  • It can be scary to be a facilitator because you might think that you need to know a lot about careers to help others with this program. I don’t think that’s true.
  • Here are 4 ways I think you can be helpful when commenting on people’s workbooks or during sessions
    1. Link sharing and resource provision
      • Just sharing links to interesting resources that you know about is good to do. When reading through someone’s workbook and you see that they are wondering about an issue, provide links to reading material on the topic that they can read about.
    2. Asking clarificatory questions on confusing things
      • Even if you don’t know much about careers, you can still ask useful questions that help clarify people’s thinking. Aim to be Socrates and ask questions that get people to clarify their own thinking and notice new perspectives. Notice things that are confusing to you or that you don’t understand, and ask the participant to explain it to you. Having the participant do this will help the participant clarify their own thoughts.
    3. Drilling down on motivated reasoning by asking questions
      • You can also help people avoid motivated reasoning by playing Devil’s Advocate and question their assumptions and conclusions. Be careful not to do this too forcefully and don’t make them feel like they have to change their mind; but ask open questions that get people to re-evaluate things that they might have been taking for granted.
    4. Providing your own quick takes
      • It’s okay to provide your opinion, even if it's relatively uninformed. Just make sure that you’re being upfront about the things that you do and don’t know, and your relative confidence in your opinions. It’s important not to come across as falsely authoritative; but its always okay to share your thoughts on things as long as you are not misrepresenting your beliefs.

b. Other points to be aware of in-session

  • Generic facilitation advice applies
    • See this page on facilitating group conversations.
    • Create a friendly environment; spend time on hellos & introductions
  • Stress that the presentations are informal, and that we're all collaborating on trying to work out what's true
    • They shouldn't be seen as a 'test' or something to worry about
  • Similarly, when you ask for workbooks to be submitted so you can comment, make it clear this is just so you can have a peek at their thinking and be someone to bounce ideas off, rather than because you're 'evaluating' their thinking

2. Session by session guidance

a. Session 1

  • Start with hellos and welcomes
  • Keep it friendly, light, and fun
  • Introduce my role
  • Tell people to go to
    Exploring cause areas
    Exploring cause areas
    Exploring job paths + Finding ways to make a difference
    Exploring job paths + Finding ways to make a difference
    Next steps and optimising your year
    Next steps and optimising your year
  • Walk through the ‘How this track works’ section
    • Why I ask people to do workbooks in session → commitment mechanism to do the workbook properly
    • What I mean about arguing for cause areas
      • People rule out causes because they don't think they can contribute → want you to hold off judgment on that right now
      • Take on the framing of 'what are the world's most pressing problems'
  • Tell people to book in a 1-1 now and make a copy of the workbook
  • Then start the coworking
    • People can ask questions in the chat
  • Remind people to ‘click the read more’ in the blue box of the workbook for more info
  • Get people to fill out the feedback form [make your own version]

b. Session 2-5

For tracks 1 & 2

  • Each person presents their slides for 10 minutes
    • (adjust this time if you have more or fewer participants)
  • Then they have 10 minutes to ask questions from the audience
    • When they run out of questions, the audience can ask them questions about the cause area
  • Have a 5 min break in the middle of the 90 min session
  • If there are lots of people (over 4) consider doing it in breakout rooms instead
    • Let people choose what breakout room they want to be in and what presentations they want to hear

For track 3

  • Each person goes through what went well that week, and what they need help with
  • After they finish, spend time discussing if there's anything you or other participants could do to help
    • Are you thinking about similar issues in your career planning?
    • Do you know someone in the career path they're uncertain about? Could you set up a meeting?
    • Do you know of relevant resources to send them?
    • Can you think of a cheap or easy way to test out the thing they're uncertain about?

e. Collect feedback

  • Create feedback forms to collect your participants' experiences, then put a link to the forms in the Notion pages for each track. Here's the Oxford version.
  • (Optional) Conduct 'exit interviews' with all participants. This is useful, but not necessary if you can't invest the time.

f. Follow-up

  • Set a reminder to check back in with participants some time after they've completed the program.
  • For Track 3 participants, check in 6 months later.
  • For Track 1 and 2 participants, check in next semester, or whenever you next run the program, to see if they want to participate in the next track.

3. The 3 tracks to this career program series

  1. Cause areas. First: we recommend people explore the arguments and cases for various cause areas that they might not know much about.
  2. Longer term paths. Second: if you have a rough idea of what causes you prioritise, you'll explore long term job paths for how you personally might contribute and actually make a difference on those cause areas.
  3. Next steps. Third: you can plan out the next career-related steps you want to take now and over the next year. We recommend doing this after you have an idea of what long term job paths you might be aiming for, and after you've done cause area exploration.

Select your track