3 Ways to Become Irreplaceable at Work

Protecting a job is almost as important as finding one. When you land a position you love, you want to stay there as long as it continues to feed your long-term career plans.

Unfortunately, the vagaries of corporate life might not cooperate. Situations beyond your control can push you out of a position you love well before you’re ready to leave. Takeovers, management changes, restructuring efforts and layoffs all represent unexpected corporate detours that can divert your near-term career plans.

While you can’t control the decisions that lead to these events, you can put yourself in a strong position to weather them when they come. If you make yourself a key contributor, you can survive almost any shift in company structure.

The best way to protect your hard-earned position is to become irreplaceable. With that in mind, here are three key ways to make that happen:

Stepping up When Needed

You can’t become a central figure in your office by hiding in your workspace and avoiding eye contact with your boss. You need to seek out new tasks and responsibilities.

Volunteer for assignments. If you see a task that needs to be performed, pitch yourself for the role. Don’t just nominate yourself for projects your boss proposes, create opportunities for yourself by seeking out new possibilities your manager hadn’t even noticed.

This strategy will help your short-term prospects by putting yourself on your boss’s radar. You’ll become the go-to employee when new projects arise.

Beyond the short-term benefits, you set yourself up for long-term success. All the additional projects you complete allow you expand your skill set and make yourself more attractive for future employers or higher-level positions at your current firm.


Any business book will tell you that to have a successful company, you need a point of differentiation. That means you need something that makes the operation special. As an employee, this kind of advice may seem distant from your day-to-day experience. But while you aren’t the business owner, it has some value and relevance for your life.

You need to take this advice to the micro level: To stand out at work, it helps to have a skill that no one else can match. The further you dig into a specialty, the more necessary you become.

Become the only employee who can handle certain tasks. It may seem like concentrating too heavily might make your usefulness too narrow. But specializing in a key task makes you irreplaceable if a corporate shakeup does occur.


Relationships drive business. You’ve learned this in the job-hunting process. When you’re out of a job, the first thing you do is check in with your network to see what positions are available.

But networking isn’t only useful for finding a job. It can serve a key component in keeping one as well.

Building strong relationships with both management and your co-workers puts you in a good position to survive any unexpected reshufflings. You can call on these connections to protect your position in the worst-case scenario.

Meanwhile, having a wide acquaintanceship within the company can tip you off to upcoming changes ahead of time. The chances of an unexpected reshuffling diminish (at least the “unexpected” part), because you can count on getting advance warning.

Building a career takes a lot of help. Beyond your personal network, your development will benefit from professional input. Teaming with a strong recruiting firm can help you find strong opportunities and develop the skills necessary to keep them.

Contact SmartTalent today to find out what we can do to secure the perfect position for both your near- and long-term growth.

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