T-shaped skills is a metaphor used in the recruitment industry to describe a person who has the ability to consolidate knowledge from cross-disciplines (forming the horizontal stroke of T).
At the same time, they have the depth of skills and expertise in a single area and applying the skills in other areas other that one’s own expertise (thus forming the vertical stroke of T).
T-shaped skills are highly-sought skills nowadays, especially in engineers. Recruiters and hiring managers compete to find individuals who possess this set of skills.
Thus, if you want to be the most wanted, most valuable talent in any industry, you may consider becoming a T-shaped individual.
How do you become one?
Honing the T-shaped skills
One way to start honing your T-shaped skills is to build your in-depth understanding in one system (particular area). The system itself represents a big scale service (such as healthcare or education).
The big scale service consists of components, for example: people, demand and the service itself.
A cost-free solution for this is to participate in related webinars and online courses. Google has indexed a generous amount of resources for a variety of discipline.
For example, both Seth Godin and Neil Patel’s blogs have been one of the most well-known resources for digital marketers. One can find their own ‘influencers’ in their field and learn they information they have provided online.
The more costly side of this is partaking in paid courses or enrolling at the formal school. There are a lot of short courses or summer schools provided by educational institutions. Reading related books and attending the seminars will also help in enriching your knowledge in forming the vertical stroke of T.
Forming the horizontal side of T-shaped skills
To form the horizontal stroke of T, one should have breadth of understanding in a variety of fields. A digital marketer should also understand the art of writing, the fluency of public speaking, and the convincing power of a motivator.
This is because they shouldn’t only be able to market their product but also persuading people to buy them. They do this through powerful skills of writing and the ability to speak in a written form.
Having the ability to do this means they have to at least understand how to apply the skills outside their expertise. These skills can be obtained from many aspects, such as reading books or through mentoring.
Therefore, don’t be afraid to try new things outside your comfort zone. Those things you’re unsure of may lead to the valuable skills that will advance your career.