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Career capital is made up of the skills, connections, and credentials that allow a person to have impact in their job.

80,000 Hours holds that building career capital is one of the most important ways a person can have impact over the course of their career. Career capital is particularly likely to be important towards the beginning of a person’s career, when there is more to learn. In addition, the more uncertain someone is about their future career, the more important it is to build flexible career capital: that is, to build skills and connections that will be useful in a wide variety of jobs. Flexible career capital leaves more options open in the future.

According to 80,000 Hours, some of the best ways to build career capital include working for high performing organizations or teams, pursuing graduate studies in quantitative disciplines, learning highly transferable skills, and carrying out impressive and socially valuable projects (80,000 Hours 2016b). They also recommend saving a “runway”: a savings buffer that will allow a person to take lower paying jobs or internships later in their career (Todd 2015).

Further reading

80,000 Hours. 2016a. 9 ways to put yourself in a better position in any job.
A guide on how to increase career capital.

80,000 Hours. 2016b. The two most common ways people accidentally sabotage their career early on.
80,000 Hours’ full analysis of career capital.

Todd, Benjamin. 2015. Why even our readers should save enough to live for 6-24 months.