Career Spotlight: Eugene Hayden, Founder of Prometheus Labs; formerly Google & BCG

Lessons after reviewing 1.5k resumes and helping 20k+ people find jobs during the pandemic

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Every month, I feature a high performer in a Career Spotlight, and interview them on their experience, mindset, and habits.

Last month, I interviewed Angela Hu — a Product Manager at Spotify — to talk about product, and how to pivot from non-traditional industries.

For future features, if you have a recommendation of someone I should speak with or specific questions you’d like me to ask, please let me know.


This month’s spotlight will be with Eugene Hayden, founder and CEO of Prometheus Labs – a job search accelerator.

Eugene is also currently Data Scientist at PwC, and prior to that — an Industry Manager at Google, Researcher at Boston Consulting Group, and Senior Consultant at KPMG. On the side, he’s a contributing author for Business Insider — writing about career and recruitment best practices and is also an active voice on Linkedin.

I came across his profile last year while I was deep in the job hunt process. I noticed that he was sharing some of the best resources on resume optimization, career search mindset, and networking techniques.

Over the past 12 months, I’ve been constantly impressed by Eugene’s sheer will, rigor, and dedication to his mission of helping people find meaningful jobs.

He’s committed hundreds of hours of his free time to helping tens of thousands of people find jobs during COVID.

Eugene’s also got a ton of diverse experience at the world’s top companies and I think it’ll be worth sharing that with this audience.

Let’s kick it off.


Tell me about Prometheus Labs. What do you do today?

Eugene:

Hey! This is Eugene Hayden, and I’m currently a Data Scientist at a management consulting firm. I also support several social impact side projects. As a Data Scientist, I solve important problems for clients spanning multiple industries, using advanced analytics and data science tools. Every company is unique and it requires a deep understanding of business processes to create meaningful, bespoke insights.

One of my independent projects is Prometheus Labs.

Prometheus Labs is a community-based initiative that aims to empower job seekers by helping them find jobs during the pandemic. The idea was to accelerate the job search process for those heavily impacted by COVID-19.

I started the project in April 2020 to help my friends who were struggling to find meaningful jobs.

Initially, I built a database of 1,200 hiring managers who used the “I’m Hiring” profile tag on Linkedin. Later, the database grew 10x to 12,000 managers and received 1.5 million unique views on Linkedin and TikTok.

It was quite a journey. The key challenges involved figuring out how to access, connect, and organize public data, and also promoting it on social media. 

More than 50 incredible volunteers from various tech companies helped build the career tools. I also designed free resume templates that aim to increase applicant conversion rates. We do all this on a pro-bono basis and do not charge for our services.

Ultimately, my vision of Prometheus Labs is to decentralize the job application process.

It’s unfortunate to see great candidates being ghosted by recruiters and ignored on their online applications. Some job recruitment funnels only look for traditional signals such as pedigree, or GPA, which may leave out good candidates.

From your experience reviewing thousands of resumes, and doing hundreds of career consultations — what advice would you give to current job seekers?

Eugene:

Bit of a backstory: During the past 12 months, I volunteered in two resume marathons. A ‘resume marathon’ consists of broadcasting a message on my social channels —targeting 20,000+ followers — stating that anyone can submit a resume to receive free consultation.

As you could expect, demand for this was incredibly high during the pandemic as it was free. For three consecutive weeks, I fully booked off all my free time on both weekdays and weekends to complete this marathon.

I received over 1,500 resumes — this is what I learned:

  • Candidates with quantifiable achievements have better chances of convincing recruiters and hiring managers that their experience fits the role. Can you believe that 86% of applicants lack quantifiable accomplishments in resumes?

  • Recruiters and hiring managers will more likely be interested in candidates that tell stories using strong active verbs that display leadership skills. 

  • Focus on achievements, not just responsibilities. 32% of resumes don’t have emphasis on achievements — recruiters and hiring managers want to know your impact, not just your scope.

  • Resume formats vary from industry-to-industry, but best practices exist:

    • The best resumes had:

      • 1 page — with 450-600 words

      • A classic one-column format

      • Good structure and were to the point

    • Poor resumes had:

      • Images

      • Self-evaluated skills that were disconnected to their experiences

      • I even came across one 10 page resume

I’d encourage more people to share best practices in this area. We’re not competitors; we’re here to support each other. I’d love for folks to change their mindset around the job search.

How do you prioritize and balance the different elements in your life: full-time job, side hustle, passion projects, etc.?

Eugene:

I work hard and play harder. 

My day-to-day job and clients are my priority. Next is my own business and side projects, and following that — self-education and new experiences.

I strongly believe that discipline is the key to success. If you have a long-term vision and understand your motivations behind it, it’s much easier to perform and avoid burnout.

I use my calendar strategically to book 15 and 30-minute slots to prioritize. If I’m overwhelmed, I’ll do some physical activity or go for a walk.

You’ve grown your audience to 22,000+ followers. What are the principles behind building an audience and engagement?

Eugene:

 I follow only one principle: be relevant

Your content will go viral if it’s relevant to users. People view, engage with, and share relevant content — and social media algorithms will build on that momentum.

I try to reply to ALL comments on my posts to maximize engagement. I’ll also personally connect with folks who like and comment on my content. If they find the time to read my content, I’ll pay it forward and find time for them as well.

Once I’ve connected with people who engage with my content, they’ll continue to see future material as they’re subscribed. This creates a flywheel effect that builds momentum on itself.

The algorithms may be different on other social media platforms, but the principles are the same. I always prioritize engagement levels and aim to post 3-4 times weekly. 

Linkedin uses an algorithm that evaluates engagement levels during the first hour after content is published. If the levels are high enough, the post will be shared with a wider audience. I prefer organic growth as it ensures my content is always relevant and valuable.

What is the ultimate end goal?

Eugene:

Ask Elon Musk says:

“I'd like to die on Mars, just not on impact”

… or at least, I’d like to live with no regrets.

My philosophy involves me taking a stoic approach to life. I try to accept whatever is happening and remain logical rather than emotional. Emotions sometime distract me from the important things and cause me to behave irrationally.

For my career goals, it’s complicated as I’m considering several paths that depend on what opportunities I’m table to unlock. Generally, I like to work with like-minded people who have shared values, purpose, and goals. I’m constantly inspired by the engineers from Tesla, SpaceX, Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

For my personal goals, I’d like to live in different remote areas for a while, perhaps somewhere in Nepal. I spent two months living in the Annapurna region and Everest Base Camp in 2015-2016 — it’s such a unique place.

What key habits, mindsets, and behaviors do you attribute your career accomplishments to?

Eugene:

Persistence and perseverance.

Persistence is the intentional decision to achieve a goal — in spite of adversity and difficulty.

Perseverance is the continued commitment of an action — regardless of success or not.

Both have significantly contributed to my career accomplishments.

For those currently in the job search — what wisdom would you share with them?

Eugene:

Victory loves preparation.

  • Take a focused approach. Focus on being the best candidate for a specific team or hiring manager, rather than sending hundreds of resumes to a black hole that we like to call ‘the online application process.’

  • Build deep, meaningful relationships with people, instead of just using them to get a referral.


Further reading:


Appreciation & Support

As I’m sure you’re reading this — Eugene, thank you for your time and contribution to this article.

To those reading: thank you for taking the time to read this.

This article took a while to put together. If you enjoyed it, I’d love for you to subscribe or share it with a friend. I’m also on Twitter now… so how about a retweet? 👇🏻