The world population is increasing at a rate of 190000 people per day – and that means that no job is secure.

There are so many extra people being added to the world, every moment, that there will always be new people to take a position – any position – no matter how rarified it is.

Should we all go out and just shoot ourselves now, to avoid the misery of being unemployed in such a grim future?

Not quite.

Let’s use my own case to illustrate – there are plenty of other people who have technical skills that rival mine in any area we might consider (programming, writing, business savvy, science, etc).

But is there anyone out there who has this combination, and can synthesize them together in new ways by seeing how they intertwine?

Not many (if any).

I sometimes help people prepare their applications for faculty jobs and the like (as part of my consulting work, when I have time).

The most common mistake I see people make is focusing in their applications on just their technical skills and their science. Yes, that stuff is important. But the problem is, it doesn’t stand out, it is not unique. Not in a world where there are 190k extra people added each day (seriously, we need to get birthrates under control!).

There will always excess supply versus the demand for people with any established set of skills (excepting brand new things that come along, in which case early adopters get an advantage, for a while).

The key lies in unique combinations of those skills. It lies in taking one’s own unique experiences and perspectives, combining them together in new ways that benefit the employer, humanity, and the world.

If you’re applying for a job, make that stand out. Don’t just list a bunch of skills or science that you’ve done. Bring it alive as part of your own unique story.

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