By Andrea Karapas, LPC (M.Ed. ’07)
There are the obvious reasons for staying up-to-date with what’s happening in your career field like maintaining a competitive edge in the job market or positioning yourself strategically for a promotion. But there are also some not so obvious reasons that might even be more important for your long-term professional success. Staying informed and navigating your career to be poised on the frontiers of knowledge can significantly increase your credibility, relevancy, and value among colleagues and thought leaders in your industry. There are five simple ways for you to keep up with current trends that will yield a big return. I highly recommend that you carve out 30 minutes of each day and devote that time to pursuing each of these strategies.
One of the simplest things you can do is subscribe to web publications like blogs and e-newsletters. Search for content focusing on new business trends and innovation. Wondering where the reputable blogs are? Check out Technorati, they’ve done all the sifting for you. Look for magazines, industry journals and books that will stretch your brain and give you new perspective. One of my favorites is Fast Company, a magazine dedicated to innovation, creativity, and the future of business.
Attending professional conferences and industry events puts you in the direct company of industry thought leaders. Not only are these great networking opportunities, but they’re amazing learning opportunities as well. New ideas are often first presented at professional conferences. Aren’t sure what associations exist in your industry? Check out the WEDDLE’s Association Directory.
Regular lunch or coffee meetings with your mentors can provide you with more than just advice and support. Mentors can give you new insight and perspective into your shared industry. Ask them what projects they’re working on, what they’re excited about…and don’t forget to listen.
LinkedIn groups are a highly underutilized resource for accessing industry experts. Many people join groups but never read anything that’s shared. Members of industry groups often have discussions relating to up and coming trends. There are also countless online forums and message boards devoted to industry discussions. Not sure where to look? Start with the Forum Finder.
Following industry thought leaders on social media can provide you with quick tips, links to important articles, and new insights saving you precious time that you’d spend searching for the good stuff on your own. Look for your industry contributors on Twitter and LinkedIn.