I challenge you to a daily, deliberate use of 10 minutes that should check three boxes for those trying to improve their soft skills:

Each year, I receive many requests from instructors and career skills professionals to emphasize the importance of soft skills to their students. Often, I find myself circling back to the same message: Soft skills matter in technical trades, maybe more today than ever before.

Given the importance of soft skills in today’s professional environment, it’s no surprise they are generally thought to be lacking in the newest generations entering today’s workforce.

How can we – how can YOU, change that? It’s simple – try the 30-day LinkedIn Challenge.

The Challenge

Step 1: Every day, get to where you’re going 10 minutes early.

Step 2: Spend that time adding three new connections on LinkedIn:

  • one person you know personally
  • one person who works in the same field you’re in or you’d like to get into
  • one person from an industry not directly connected to yours

For example: If you’re a welding student, add your instructor, the Miller weld rep in your area and Warren Buffet.

This will take you between one and three minutes to add three new connections.

Step 3: Use the remainder of the 10 minutes to read your LinkedIn feed. Your goal is to try and learn at least one new thing that is relevant to your career.

What is the 30-day challenge addressing?

The premise of the 30-day challenge is threefold:

  1. Time management and punctuality are underrepresented in many individuals beginning to enter the workforce today.
  2. Many entry-level candidates are coming in lacking rudimentary knowledge of their larger industries, even when they possess the requisite technical skills.
  3. Most professionals don’t have the support networks in place to help them stick, grow, and thrive at their current workplaces.

Why does the 30-day challenge matter?

  • It gives you something to fill your time with when you arrive 10 minutes early.
  • It makes you an investor in your own personal improvement plan.
  • It helps you become more than just a tradesperson, but an actual student of your trade.
  • It allows you to possess the same professional network advantages that workers already enjoy in other industries where networking is considered to be part of daily business.
  • It reinforces a continuous improvement mindset.

How to start

If you’re looking for a way to change your professional paradigm, whether within the manufacturing sector or not, start building the new version of you by trying the 30-day LinkedIn Challenge.

Start with these three connections:

  • Me (Josh Erickson at PMG Services)
  • Mike Rowe and his MikeRoweWorks Foundation
  • Someone you know personally.

If after 30-days, you think this challenge was a waste of your time, please send me an email and share your feedback.

For more information about improving your soft skills, check out our webinar Soft Skills: What are they and how do they impact the modern workforce

Josh Erickson, ReTool & Technical Solutions Associate