Over the years I have discovered a daily practice that acts like nothing short of a superpower for your career.
It makes employees invaluable to their associates and clients. It helps job seekers stand out. And it ensures you always have a steady flow of interesting conversation topics, whether you find yourself at a networking event or unexpectedly in the elevator with the big boss.
What is this superpower? It’s actually quite simple: Get smarter about the news of your industry and the world around you.
In my book, Getting from College to Career, I devote an entire section to describing my number one job search and career development tip—one I share with every audience I ever speak to—which is to make sure you read the news every single day.
This one habit will pay astonishing dividends throughout your career. For one thing, it creates awareness of new opportunities, trends, companies and people to know. That’s helpful when you’re job hunting of course, but it also contributes to out-of-the box thinking at your current job, which is particularly crucial in today’s world where there is so much change and disruption happening so fast.
So what news sources will give you superpowers?
Here are the big three that I believe are imperative for you to peruse every day:
- General interest news site: Business headlines, only, right? Wrong. I routinely come up with great ideas and analogies reading the sports section, and I even think it’s important to be up on pop culture—especially in today’s intergenerational workplace—by at least glancing at what’s trending in music, movies, fashion and more.
- Local news source: While national and global news is important, it’s also vital to be apprised of what’s going on in your state and community in both business and politics.
- Industry news sources: And of course, being in the know for your industry can increase your credibility when discussing ideas with your colleagues and clients. In fact, I would add that it’s smart to ask your manager what news sources and thought leaders they pay attention to, so you can follow them, too.
But, but, I don’t have time to follow the news!
I actually believe you don’t have time not to be informed.
Six Tricks That Allow You To Focus In On Targeted News…On Your Own Schedule
- Sign up for Google Alerts: If you have a Gmail account, you can get Google Alerts sent to your inbox daily. Create alerts for keywords related to your industry, company, competitors, dream company, mentor, etc. When you keep tabs on the companies and people that matter to you, it creates an opportunity to reach out and say “Hey, great article I just read about you.” Or, “Congratulations on your recent acquisition. Will you be adding to your marketing department in the near future?” As you might guess, I have Google alerts for words like “Millennial” and “Generation Z.”
- Find thought leaders on LinkedIn: I’m sure you’re already connecting on this network with current and former colleagues, fellow alumni, neighbors, acquaintances and business associates. But don’t stop there: LinkedIn allows you to stay current on the insights of leaders in your field, even those to whom you’re not connected. Visit the Pulse Discover tab, and LinkedIn’s algorithm will identify leaders in your field for you to “follow,” or you can search for that buzzy insider everyone’s talking about. (And, of course, I’d love to have you follow me.)
- Check in on Twitter: Yes it moves fast, and no, you don’t have to obsessively stay up on each and every conversation. But following thought leaders and influencers, as well as some fun accounts, can be an ideal way to stay up on breaking news, as well as find articles that others deem noteworthy enough to share. One of my favorite tricks is to follow journalists who cover the topics that most interest me; they are always tweeting the most important stories in their field. (p.s. Follow me here!)
- Subscribe to industry newsletters: You’re going to want start with your own industry trade journals, but don’t stop there. Often reading about other fields can spark creative thinking that you can apply to your own career. Take a look at SmartBrief newsletters, which curate news for industries from aerospace to wealth management; and IndustryDive, which covers 13 industries from biopharma to waste. If, like me, you want to keep tabs on the millennial generation, here are some resources I’ve found to be particularly helpful in that space.
- Use apps like Flipboard and Pocket: Flipboard will take note of your interests and feed you relevant articles in a magazine-style format. Pocket (one of my all-time favorite productivity apps) allows you to save all your links to read offline whenever you have a few minutes, putting that commuting or line-waiting time to good use. Another bonus of Pocket is its curated newsletter of top links other Pocket-eers have saved.
- Listen to podcasts: Podcasts are your ultimate multi-tasking weapon. There is a podcast for virtually everything; just search for your industry or a specific thought leader + “podcast” and see what pops up. Download them to replay while you exercise, commute, do chores—virtually anytime that you can grab 20 minutes or so to take a listen and increase your knowledge. And if you’re looking for a good Podcast app, try Overcast.
PS: Stay tuned for a giant list of resources coming in the next few weeks! Subscribe to my newsletter to make sure you don’t miss out!
Over to you, Superheroes. I am always looking for fresh ideas for news sources! Share your go-tos in the comments below or on Twitter.
Lindsey Pollak is the leading expert on millennials and the multigenerational workplace, trusted by global companies, universities and the world’s top media outlets. A New York Times bestselling author and keynote speaker, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her presentations have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.