Think big picture. Think curiosity. Think creativity. Think using your personality, skillsets, hobbies, classroom knowledge, travel experiences, relationships and more to land yourself a dream career. Wishful thinking? Not according to the current talent-seeking field.
Being a T-shaped individual is a recent term that many companies are using in seeking candidates for management, consulting, research and other leadership positions. The vertical stem in the “T” represents the in-depth specialized knowledge of one or two fields (such as your major or field of study), while the horizontal crossbar refers to the complementary skills of communication, creativity, and ability to apply knowledge across situations. This is where out-of-classroom experience and curiosity about the world come in. The path to employment is not so linear anymore – employers today are longing for well-rounded, multidisciplinary workers to add to their team.
So the question is, how are you setting yourself up to be “T-shaped”?
Be open to change. Have new experiences, seek out more challenging positions, and enroll in diverse courses. Accept an internship that you may not initially be good at but will grow your skillsets in the long run. What a time to be alive, when we are not forced to chose one expertise, but rather encouraged to broaden our capabilities and intelligence.
Identify your core strengths. How can you apply these in particular settings? How do they make you unique? Learn to verbalize these strengths with confidence. It’s ok to talk about yourself sometimes.
Be optimistic. Don’t go through the motions; tell yourself that what you are learning is useful. You never know when you will be able to apply that outrageously long equation or dreadful sales pitch to the next interview. A positive (usually) always comes from a negative.
Similar to the author of this brilliant post, many students have the urge to try new things and not tie themselves down to the same desk in the same city for life. Fortunately, students no longer have to choose whether to be a business guru, a marketing professional, or a finance expert, or a health specialist, as dipping their toes into a little bit of everything may be the most treasured approach in the end.
The Career Advancement Program Academic Learning Module will help students reflect on their past experiences, skillsets, and future goals to obtain a gratifying, successful and meaningful career.