If you already have a strong existing skill set, is there a way to apply that to one of the key problems?

If there’s any option in which you might excel, it’s usually worth considering, both for the potential impact and especially for the career capital; excellence in one field can often give you opportunities in others.

This is even more likely if you’re part of a community that’s coordinating or working in a small field. Communities tend to need a small number of experts covering each of their main bases.

For instance, anthropology isn’t the field we’d most often recommend someone learn, but it turned out that during the Ebola crisis, anthropologists played a vital role, since they understood how burial practices might affect transmission and how to change them. So, the biorisk community needs at least a few people with anthropology expertise.

This means that if you have an existing skill set that covers a base for a community within a top area, it can be a promising option, even if it’s obscure.

However, there are limits to what can be made relevant. We struggle to think of a way to connect some subjects directly to the top problem areas, so sometimes it will be better to retrain rather than apply an existing skill.

If you have an unusual skill set, it’s hard for us to give general advice online about how best to use it. Ideally, you can speak to experts in the problem areas you want to work on about how it might be applied. For the problems we focus on, we have some rough ideas about how particular skillsets can be applied here.

Read next: Learn about other high-impact careers

Want to consider more paths? See our list of the highest-impact career paths according to our research.

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