Knowing whats going on in your industry and keeping up to date with changes, especially if its a continually evolving sector can be a massive help to focus your job search efforts.
There are lots of different ways you can keep your knowledge up to date, so let's get into it, shall we?
- Trade Journals - If you don't know what a trade journal is, it's a publication that is entirely devoted to one industry. They are available in print and online, and you usually have to sign up to them. They typically come out monthly and will be filled with excellent industry-specific content.
- Forums and Messageboards - Often, the places we spend a ton of time online already will have a subsection for your industry. Perhaps you regularly engage with a LinkedIn group about your industry or have a particular subreddit you follow. These can be valuable places to find out what's going on in your sector.
- As a Marketer for a Recruitment business in the Engineering, Manufacturing and Tech sectors, I spend a fair amount of time looking at articles on various recruitment blogs, and sector relevant sites like www.theengineer.com. Blogs can vary in quality but, if you see a raft of material appearing on a subject, it makes sense to follow it.
- Podcast and video - Some people find video and audio content much more comfortable to absorb than written work. There are millions of hours of content in both podcast and video form, and all it takes is a quick search on iTunes, Spotify or Youtube to find it
- Network with colleagues and customers - Talking about your industry with someone face to face can a great way to get up to date industry news. You should go to local industry events, conferences or courses. Make sure that you speak with the other people there, including the panellists and take in as much as you can.
- Keep an eye on your competitors - Sometimes keeping an eye on what your competition is up to can help you work out if they are following an emerging trend or not. Sometimes there's no method to what they are doing, can't help to have a peek though.
- Keep up with your own company - Keeping track on what's going on in your company can be very helpful in tracking industry changes and trends. Maybe a specific product isn't selling as well as it used to or people have stopped asking you to find them a particular skillset. These could be signs that things are changing and would be worth noting as possible threats or opportunities.
These are just a few ways that you can be on the pulse of your industry, but it's worth knowing what's going on. It will help you make informed decisions and could lead to great conversations with potential new employers.