What Does it Mean to be T-Shaped?

In a world where career, job and purpose are interchanged as we go from position to position, it can be hard to describe who you are in 2 pages or less. I have a little experience with this problem, and I am not alone.

As a member of the millennial generation, I have come to accept that I will not have the same job–or even the same career for more than 5 years. This also means that I can’t rely on a job title, or particular industry to define my career and what I offer.

So how should you aggregate your experience and skills into a cohesive offering?

This is where the concept of being T Shaped comes in. In general, you want to have a depth of skills, and also a breadth of skills (hence the T shape). Thinking of your skills this way can help provide a guidepost to how you present yourself, and what skills you would like to deepen or broaden in the future.


Seems like a lot? Don’t be discouraged. According to many industry professinals, being T shaped is highly desirable, and worth the effort. Industries are changing so quickly that you need people who can easily adapt and adjust. Innovation often comes from outside the standard practice of doing things, and that means that you need exposure to other methods and experiences. Working on your T Shape is not only of great value but also quite an advantage to a company’s bottom line.

Plus, for those of us who have more than one interest or career, this is a great way to not look like you can’t quite make up your mind on what you want. And for those of use that are still looking for the opportunity to find and do what you love, working on your T shape is an awesome place to start.



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