How to Never Compete with all the Chumps and Their Resumes

Want to bypass the entire stack of resumes and stand head and shoulders above the competition for jobs?


Send a pitch.

What’s a pitch you ask?

And this.
And this, and this, and this.

Those are pitches.

Notice anything?

They are about the company. Tailored to THEM. They focus on the role, and the way the candidate could create value.

They aren’t rambling lists of all your accomplishments. They aren’t generic bullets. No, “Dear Sir or Madam”.

Getting an interview is like getting a date. Can you imagine walking up to every person at the bar, handing them a piece of paper, and saying, “To Whom It May Concern, this paper lists the ten reasons I’m dateable”? Think you’d get a lot of call backs?

Instead, if you’re interested in someone you show it. You take a minute to learn about them. You tell them the reasons you find THEM fascinating. You ask if you can get to know them better because you think they’re pretty great.

Companies are not so different. They don’t want a list of your status. They want to see your interest!

Show it with a pitch. You’ll get 10x the return vs a generic resume and application.


Here are some more pitches if you want more examples:

Create Your Own Life Podcast Interview

Had a really great and optimistic convo!

Here it is.

The 85/15 Rule in Job Hunting

85% of jobs are hired through a referral from your network. That’s insane.

It means applications aren’t doing anything for you. Ever heard of the 80/20 rule? Don’t spend your energy on the activity that takes 80% of the effort for 20% of the results (or in the case of cold job apps, only 15% results!).

So how to get those sweet, sweet referrals?

Turn your job hunt into a campaign!

The first step is people telling other people about you so they can tell other people to hire you is letting everyone know your skills, interests, and the fact that you’re for hire. Start learning and working OUT LOUD. People can see what you’re up to and refer you to others.

Check this out. Amanda listened to a great podcast episode. She took notes. And she decided to Tweet those notes and tag the host of the show. It’s a top 50 podcast. Yet he Retweeted her, which meant lots of people saw it. One of those was a hiring manager at a media company. Right there on Twitter, her asked her to apply.

Now she has not a cold application, but a referral from one of the company execs! All from Tweeting her work.

(You can use Crash if you want some help.)

Lions and Chiefs Haiku

No threat from Mahomes

Chiefs will not beat the Lions

They will beat themselves

The Book Dilemma

I love my books.

I don't like physical possessions in general. I'm always trying to get rid of stuff (much to the chagrin of my wife and kids). I want a laptop, phone, guitar, and roof over head. Everything else just seems like maintenance and mess.

Except books.

I'm a sucker for physical books.

I do purge them regularly, trying only to keep books that either a) I would read again, b) I will read for the first time, c) were so instrumental in my life I will reference or give them to others.

Still, it leaves a lot of books. Most of them are at the office, and the rest are scattered between different shelves in different rooms of my house. It drives me nuts. My preference is to have one contiguous wall of shelves where all my books can be arranged left to right top to bottom in order of my intellectual journey. I have done this probably half a dozen times in several different houses. But then my kids always pull them down, put them back out of order, etc. Then I loan some, then need some at the office, then we re-arrange rooms and bedrooms, and before long they are a scattered mess.

I've toyed with getting rid of the lot of them and going all digital. After all, I use Kindle and audiobooks now 75% of the time anyway. But I just have so much attached to so many of my books! I dream that one day my kids will scan the shelves and get excited by the same books I did as a teen. This probably means that they can sense this hope in me and will therefore be repelled by my books. That's how it is with my kids. ;-)

For now, I'm keeping them and resigning to them being in a state of semi-disarray. My pain is great.

Inner Game of Startups Issue #5

Today's post is the latest issue of the Inner Game of Startups newsletter, where I write totally awesome stuff you're missing out on if you don't subscribe. All the cool kids do.

Here's a teaser.

Feeling Like You’re Losing

I feel like I'm losing most of the time.

In fact, it's usually only in retrospect, when considering a condensed clump of the past when it looks like I've made progress in my various battles. In the moment, it feels like losing 90% of the time.

When I started Praxis, every conversation and effort to build a college alternative felt like a losing battle. The relentless onslaught of defensive status quo bias never ended. We just never seemed to win. But when I look back over what we built in six years and what Praxis is today and the hundreds of success stories, it's clear we were winning at least some of the time.

Crash is not too different. Opening people up to the world of opportunity in front of them, helping them see their career and job hunt in a whole new way and approach it like an entrepreneurial puzzle rather than a rule-following routine feels like losing most of the time. Most people shrug or say it's not possible or ignore it. It's pretty tiring.

There are some little wins here and there. I've learned to not hold back joy and celebration for each of those, because they are rare and it's important to get a mental boost now and then!

The timescale on which big battles are won is so different from the mental timescale of feeling the need to get a win. Those daily feelings of struggle compound and take a toll, even though they are making long term progress, the lack of a short term feeling of winning is hard. It's when I've got to manufacture meaning. Turn on some epic music, weave my narrative in a way that makes the body blows feel worth it.

I'm sure there is such a thing as a series of wins stacking up with unstoppable momentum. I think that happens and when it does you'd better be ready to seize it. But the way to be ready is to not give up when the long wins feel like short losses.

I Join the Skill Podcast to Talk About Crash and More

Had a really great conversation with Micah Merrick on his new Skill Podcast!

Check it out here, or iTunes, etc.

Notes on what we cover from the episode summary:

  • Their shared experiences being homeschooled as kids
  • What are the benefits of homeschooling, compared to public schools?
  • How the nature of work may change how many kids are homeschooled in the future
  • Are homeschooled kids, "socialized"?
  • Isaac's experiences in high school and college, and how they influenced his thinking on higher education
  • Why Isaac chose the private sector to pursue social change, despite spending time in the non-profit, government, and higher education worlds
  • The founding story of Isaac's first company, Praxis
  • Why students choose college over other, more compelling, options
  • What should we call students and their experiences who don't go to college right away, if at all?
  • The idea that might help fewer students choose college in the future
  • Be Your Own Credential
  • How you can build a signal that is more powerful than a college degree
  • The founding story of Crash
  • How Crash helps people find new opportunities
  • The early tweaks that Crash made to its initial product that rapidly improved growth
  • Crash's early results helping people find work
  • The difference between "waiting for your chance" and "winning in the market"
  • Isaac's nefarious super villain plot
  • How Isaac harnesses serendipity with Crash
  • The difference between "personal marketing" and "authenticity"
  • How Crash works for hiring managers, and not just for job seekers
  • Isaac's parting words of wisdom

Isaac Morehouse

Isaac Morehouse is the CEO of Crash, the career launch platform, and the founder of Praxis, a startup apprenticeship program. Isaac is dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. He’s written some books, done some podcasting, and is always experimenting with self-directed living and learning.

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Purging the Zombies of Past Selves

How to revive, and refresh, and renew

Something not alive, but not dead, and not through

Surgically remove the zombie on a chain

Or brutally dispose of the mind without a brain

Old stuff drags along, weighing down the new

But fused into the core, not easy to undo

The slow and careful way might not be quite enough

But fast and painful action may be just a bit too rough

There's no two ways about it, progress means some pain

Killing old dead remnants, and fleeing the remains

If it's not doing new thinking, it needs to be removed

Or at least flip the burden, until its usefulness is proved

Good Bias, Bad Bias

I was listening to a podcast conversation about overcoming biases to make better decisions.

We all love the idea of unbiased information processing, evaluating, and decision making. We don't want to be blinded by our prior experiences, tastes, and assumptions and miss something valuable or correct because of it. It is very valuable to ruthlessly examine your biases and make sure you aren't misreading the world and failing to achieve your goals because of it.

But bias is not a bad thing. Nor is it good. It's a neutral reality and an inescapable part of the way our minds work. It can be bad, it can be good, and it can be neither. Bias is nothing more than a way of seeing, or an inclination or opinion about causality. It's not possible to have no bias, as any thought or action would cease if you were merely an open sponge taking in stimuli without forming any judgement about it. A fully unbiased brain is one with no synaptic connections. Yes, those neural pathways become hard to escape and that can prevent better thought, but having no neural pathways precludes all thought.

Your bias is what makes you unique. Anything you excel at, you do because you have particular biases others do not, and these enable you to more effectively navigate the field. Breakthroughs don't come from unbiased people, but from people with a unique, counter-bias that doesn't jive with the status quo.

The most successful people I know are also the most biased. Not in weird socially conditioned ways. But in profound and productive ways. They have biases about what works in their field, and they can spot opportunity and make decisions faster than those who try endlessly to evaluate every contingency and arrive at an unbiased opinion.

Of course the very real danger is that past success cements biases that are not useful for present or future conditions. This is the norm. It's very hard to continue to question the very inclinations and mental shortcuts that served you well. But that's what growth is.

So the trick is not to try to get rid of bias. The trick is to become aware of its existence and just how pervasive and powerful it is. The trick is to question your bias, to manually override it at times, to take charge of it and reprogram it. The trick is to use it as a tool to serve your goals, rather than be its unwitting servant.

The Formula for Anxiety

The magnitude of anxiety seems to be equal to the delta between expectations and self-assessment.

That means there are two variables to work on to reduce anxiety. Expectations and assessment.

On the expectations front, sometimes it helps to step back and remind yourself that you owe nothing to anyone, status in the eyes of others is a distraction, and there are really only a few things that matter.

It's good to have expectations that exceed current reality. The discomfort it creates is the necessary impetus for action and progress, without which life is really depressing. But expectations can't be so far out of reach that they leave you hopeless.

Self assessment is a bit trickier. Trying to believe you are closer to your expectations is tough. The old positive thinking stuff doesn't work very well. Just telling yourself you are good isn't super effective if your subconscious doesn't believe it. Your inner self needs evidence along with intention. One of the best ways to raise your self assessment is to pair positive thoughts with small tangible accomplishments. Just bite sized bits of progress along the dimension of who you want to be.

Reducing the gap between expectations and self assessment is the key to anxiety reduction.


Risk and Building

It's not hard to take risk when things are only ideas.

You can radically change models, assumptions, and directions when nothing has been built. But as soon as you've put ideas into concrete form, risk gets hard.

The reason it gets hard isn't because you're limited by the instantiation of the idea in some physical, inescapable way. It's because humans form attachments to things they've built. Once built, you're attached, once attached, you begin to defend, once in defensive mode, new ideas are treated like enemies, and that means risk-taking gets shut down.

But if you never build, thinking risky thoughts is useless. The trick is to turn your ideas into something real so quickly and so often that you don't have time to form stagnating attachment to them.

MNF Hopeful Haiku

Why do I believe

Despite all the evidence

The Lions will win

Isaac Morehouse

Isaac Morehouse is the founder and CEO of Praxis, a startup apprenticeship program making degrees irrelevant for careers. Isaac is dedicated to the relentless pursuit of freedom. He’s written some books, done some podcasting, and is always experimenting with self-directed living and learning.

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