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❗️ Break into tech with this soft skill

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Want to break into tech?

You’re doing it wrong.

Or at least, you are if you’re just taking online courses.

As I shared a few weeks ago, 26% of my time is spent on things that aren’t part of my job description.

And this is something that isn’t taught with online courses.

(Unless, of course, you take an EntryLevel course, participate in the peer review task, and join our community of learners.)

What is the skill?

Communication.

Keep reading to discover why it’s so important - and how you can develop your communication skills even without a job.

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CEO roasted our team’s communication

Last month, my CEO got sick of our team.

Let me explain.

“You guys need to step it up,” he said. “I don’t understand half of your updates.”

(Okay, he was much nicer about it, but still.)

So he made us a handy document to save time.

I hope that, by sharing the document below, you can learn from our mistakes - and become the best employee any company has ever seen.

Forget everything you learned in school…

Being clear can save a lot of time.

At school, we’re taught to be verbose.

“Your paper must be at least 10 pages,” your teacher probably said.

But in the workplace, the opposite is true.

“I don’t want to read 10 pages of updates - I don’t have time for that. Just give me what I need to know. The shorter the better.”

CEOs are busy people. If you save them time while still communicating effectively, they’ll love you.

Just like how EntryLevel’s CEO loved how I actioned his feedback on communicating effectively 😛

...here’s how you can communicate more effectively

Categorize all communication into different buckets.

  1. FYI: I’m doing this - just letting you know
  2. Approval: I’m doing this, do you approve?
  3. Decision: Can you help me choose between A, B & C?
  4. Closing the loop: Remember that thing, I was doing? This is what happened.

Here’s an example message:

You can see I:

  • Mentioned key takeaways at the start INSTEAD OF a long introduction
  • Tagged relevant stakeholders with “FYI” so they know there’s no action needed from them
  • Linked to a document with more context, if people are curious
  • Included screenshots for quick understanding (so people don’t NEED to click into the document)

If you communicate like this, you’ll save everyone’s time - and as we know, time is money.

Idea from Soren Iverson (a designer). See how much it cost the company for everyone to read a Slack thread.

https://twitter.com/soren_iverson/status/1646876213326094336

But I don’t have a job! How do I practice this skill?

If you talk to other people, you’re already practicing communication.

Here are my suggested next steps for you:

  1. Get feedback from close friends and family - ask them how you can improve your communication skills
  2. Do cold outreach for your career - whether it’s communicating with mentors or recruiters to land a job. More responses = better communication. Double down on what works, and don’t forget to ask for feedback
  3. Find a “work-like” environment - could be a networking community, volunteer-run startup, or online course community like EntryLevel’s. Practice communicating with people there, especially when giving feedback on their projects

Before you jump into volunteering…

I have a hot take on this 😳🔥

I don’t think volunteering is the most effective way to develop skills and experience.

And I have good reasons for this - from both the company’s point of view and the volunteer’s.

But you’ll have to wait 1 more week for the article.

So be sure to check your inbox in exactly 1 week to find out why you shouldn’t offer your services for free - and what to do instead.

See you in a week!


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❗️ Break into tech with this soft skill

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