My CV is an SMS bot named J-Bot

Txt ‘Hello’ to +61 439 465 391 to learn about what I’ve done, what I’m doing and a random fact that not a lot of people know.

Last week I saw slack had set up shop in Melbourne. After sending the link to a few friends, I skimmed through the article landing on key bits of information such as why they decided on Melbourne, where they were located and what jobs were available. I clicked the (medium) green highlighted “jobs” link and scrolled through looking for anything that might be relevant. “Operations engineer?” Nope. “Enterprise Account Executive?” They’ve made that up for sure. “Customer experience agent?” Interesting.

Initially, I wasn’t sure. But after coming up with the idea to design an sms bot instead of a traditional CV and bouncing this idea off a few friends, I thought I’d be crazy if I didn’t. So, I did it.

The caveat here is that I’ve been mildly obsessed with conversational interfaces and machine learning for a little while. The idea of bots and slash commands helping us complete everyday tasks in a very human manner makes all the sense to me, and clearly a lot of others. So when I stumbled across John Borthwick’s ‘Wick Bot’ and Dexter last month I was instantly hooked. I spent majority of my weekend building and texting ‘Alyx’: an sms bot that instantly makes recommendations for cafés, bars and restaurants*. Since then, myself and my friend, Clare, have been learning more and more about how people ask their friends for recommendations and improved Alyx’s responses based off this (I’m going to publish a post about Alyx soon).

Taking my learnings from Alyx, I developed a hypothesis and designed an sms bot named Roux that helps potential employers learn a bit more about me; where I’ve worked, why they should grab a coffee with me and also a random, but seemingly impressive, fact about me. Once it was up and running, I sent the number to 10 of my friends who I thought would provide the most useful feedback. Some are in recruitment, a few in communications and others are company founders and directors. I took their feedback on board (which ranged from “the messages are too long”, “you’re using too many emojis” and “that random fact is lame”), edited my cover letter and J-Bots matches and responses and tested it again with them. I then filled out the slack application form; giving them more detail into the ‘why’ and leaving the ‘what’ for Roux; quickly wrote this article; and hit submit on the application form.

Now I’m patiently playing the waiting game**. But, to be honest, I’ve already won because I’ve learnt so much during this process. Crafting a CV in the context of an SMS conversation has been useful. I was forced to cut out a lot of the BS and get to the point as opposed to wrapping it in cotton candy. If you’re reading this and are currently in the process of looking for a job, send a few txts to yourself (or someone else) explaining what you’ve done and why someone should grab a coffee with you. You might find the answers interesting.

*I’m going to publish a series about Alyx.
**I’ll continually add updates to this post
UPDATE: I didn’t get the job. J-Bot fell at the first stop.

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