Even if you have only just begun your career, it won’t be long until you’re expected to become an expert in your field. We work in dynamic environments and fast-changing industries that require every professional - from the most junior to the most senior - to stay up to date with the latest industry trends and information.
Identifying these changes and staying abreast of industry evolutions, new technologies, new business practices and more is absolutely vital to staying ahead of the competition. Not only will you be able to do your job better armed with more information, but you’ll also make yourself more employable.
Here are five top ways to ensure you stay ahead of the pack.
1. Read, read, readKnowledge is power! The best - and quickest - way to gain new knowledge is to seek out articles, opinion pieces, journals and trade publications within your industry to digest, consume and pour over. If you’re keen to get ahead in your field, this should be a no-brainer - and enjoyable! After all, you love what you do, right?
But beyond reading the Straits Times every morning, ensure you’re also subscribed to international news portals to keep an eye on trends and happenings across the globe. You’ll look like the smartest person in the room if you reference yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article in your morning meeting.
2. Find a mentor, or buddy in your industry Informal learning via a mentor is key to understanding the ins and outs of your industry. Even better if that person has been on the same career path as you, or started out in a similar job. It could be someone you currently work with, who is more senior than you, or an outside professional you met at an event. Don’t be afraid to ask people for help and to be your mentor - it’s as simple as catching up for coffee once a month, and most people are more than happy to pass on their knowledge.
3. Network Industry events will help you meet people across the entire spectrum of your sector, giving you a real cross-section of the world you work in - and where you could go in your career. Singapore is a hive of industry events - there are literally dozens every week! If you follow trade publications and subscribe to relevant online newsletters, you’ll see these being advertised regularly. Many are free, but some only require a small fee to cover catering. If you’re keen on the larger events that have higher ticket prices, consider bringing this up with your boss as a learning opportunity - many companies have budget to spend on industry events for talent they want to see progress in the business.
4. Watch podcasts, videos and join relevant webinars To find tailored information around specific topics and industries, start following regular podcasts and consider joining webinars. Watch things like TED Talks and also jump on your company’s intranet - a lot of businesses will post and share videos of the top business leaders giving presentations overseas or hosting events. Consider also joining some online forums and contributing to discussion in there.
5. Follow industry stalwarts on social media Want business advice from Richard Branson? How about some insights from Elon Musk? Follow them on Twitter, and follow other key professionals across your specific industry on all facets of social media platforms. Social is one of the best up-to-date news sources - and if you’re following the right people, chances are they will be sharing and posting news that is relevant to your field. Get acquainted with these industry experts, and absorb their opinions and the information they share. You won’t regret it.