Looked at Apple or Google’s app stores recently? You’ll notice a curious trend: Of the billions of apps inhabiting each, many are top-rated, yet go unnoticed, while just a tiny handful of these applications generate the vast majority of the revenue. In a world of infinite competition, where we all receive the same skills, same training and look the same on paper, it’s imperative that, like this same elite group of software standouts, we too differentiate and establish ourselves as premium and irreplaceable candidates if we want to future-proof our jobs and careers—i.e. become essential.


Here are several ways to do so going forward:

  1. Boast unique skills, capabilities or contacts

  2. Master rare, or highly-specialized and difficult, talents

  3. Know more about markets, trends and competitors than rivals

  4. Serve our customers, colleagues and companies better than others

  5. Think like an owner, strategize like an entrepreneur, and take responsibility like a leader

  6. Make decisions and perform tasks without being given instruction

  7. Don’t be afraid to take risks, speak up and try new things


To achieve these goals, consider:

  1. Creating a personal and career development plan

  2. Attending courses, conferences, lectures and symposiums

  3. Pursing tasks or volunteering for responsibilities that stretch your comfort zone

  4. Staying abreast of new developments in your organization or industry

  5. Seeking out customers, colleagues and peers to get their insights and opinions

  6. Saying yes: Constantly going, seeing, doing, trying and learning from new experiences

  7. Presenting new ideas and strategies, deploying them, and consistently reiterating based on feedback received


As you can see, there are many ways to set yourself apart at work, and give yourself a leg up when it comes to future-proofing your job and career. The key is to always be learning and growing, allowing you to change in time with changing circumstances. In effect, the more proactive you are in a professional capacity, and more you strive to grow your experience and education, the more you’ll find and sustain lasting career success going forward.