We are living in a fast-paced society – and in their efforts to stay fresh and modern, entire industries are constantly changing.
It’s essential for today’s professionals to stay up to date with what’s happening in their field, and what trends are affecting their industry in order to stay professionally relevant. With so much information, it can be overwhelming to keep up with the sheer number of articles, blogs, and journals for any given industry.
There are many highly educated professionals who get too comfortable, and find themselves at a loss for trends in their own market. So how do you get on track? Here’s how to stay on top of industry information.
1. Get social
Social media is one of the easiest ways to keep on to date on industry trends. Choose relevant news sources, competitors, industry groups and blogs to follow on your various accounts.
Twitter is especially useful for this, as you can use the “lists” feature to curate your own feeds, and organize them the way you like. Try creating a few lists – one for mainstream news sources, one for industry-specific journals and blogs, and one for competitors. It’s easy to scan your lists for attention-grabbing headlines and find key information without having to read every article.
LinkedIn is another great way to keep up with news. Join industry groups on LinkedIn, follow relevant companies, key Influencers (top industry leaders), and Channels (curated groups of articles by topic) to make your newsfeed a constant source of relevant information. You can stay on top of your LinkedIn news on the go with the LinkedIn Pulse app.
2. Use a news reader
If you are not already using a news reader, you should give it a try!
There is no easier way to collect and organize all your information sources into one easy-to-read location. You can subscribe to an RSS feed for almost any website with regularly updated content on the internet.
Use a news reader like Feedly or G2Reader to aggregate all the content from select industry websites, blogs, journals, trade magazines, and other news sources to create a one-stop-shop for all your news needs.
3. Get involved
Getting involved in an industry organization, either by attending events or volunteering on a committee is a great way to keep yourself in-the-know. Even more importantly, it’s a valuable networking forum that you will be able to leverage throughout your career.
Industry conferences are another great way to learn about important trends and issues. They are often very expensive to attend, but many companies will sponsor a certain number of employees to go.
Express your interest, and demonstrate to your boss why going to the conference is important for your role or your area of the business. If you don’t get selected for this event, at least you have put yourself in your manager’s mind for the next opportunity.
4. Update your skills
If you truly want to stay professionally relevant, you need to do more than just know what’s going on in the market. You need to ensure that you’re taking proactive steps to update your skills in order to stay ahead of the curve, and never find yourself obsolete.
Whether it’s a cutting edge management certification or a new programming language, take what you are learning about industry trends, and ensure that you are constantly updating your skills and knowledge base to reflect the changes in the market.
There are many companies that are willing to invest in their employees by paying for them to take a course to update or increase their skillset. Of course, this course must be relevant to the role you are in – speak with your manager or HR department to explore your opportunities.
5. Share your knowledge
Now that you’re up to date on all the important trends and events, you can communicate your learnings to your managers and teams.
It doesn’t have to be complicated to be useful. A weekly email update to your team summarizing current events or a simple Monday morning article suggestion will encourage your teams to stay up to date on industry information, and show your boss how you go the extra mile.
If you are unsure if this is acceptable at your company, run your idea by your manager first. Whether or not you decide to do it, your manager will likely appreciate the fact that you are taking the time to keep yourself up to date, and help your co-workers do the same.