Turn industry trends into your interview edge
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Up your industry know-how in no time with these five simple tips:
- Set up Google Alerts with keywords related to your target industry
- Leverage social media as your way to information
- Use your university resources and join professional organizations
- Request informational interviews
- Attend industry conferences and read trade magazines
Do a weekly Google search to see what other professionals are saying about your field, or review Google Trends to track what’s “hot” around specific topics. You can also set up custom keyword searches on Google Alerts and get daily updates sent to your email. Make sure to update your keywords regularly and include the names of organizations, industries, trade shows and top players in your field.
Twitter is a great tool to stay up-to-date and find industry-specific tweets. Just harness the power of hashtags! Type the hashtag symbol followed by the name of your industry (for example, “#projectmanagement” or “#nursing”) and see what comes up. You can also follow the Twitter and LinkedIn feeds of industry leaders to get their insights on trends and future projections.
Whether you’re an alumni or a student, University of Phoenix Career Resources is your hub for career coaching. Phoenixes can tap this service at no cost. Also consider joining professional associations, which sometimes offer discounted student memberships and a wealth of industry information, as well as opportunities for networking and professional growth. Many maintain industry-specific email lists and online forums.
One of the best ways to gain industry-specific info is to conduct an informational interview with an industry pro. Prepare a list of interview questions for professionals you admire. These could pertain to trends, new developments, key players or problems and challenges. Always ask them for referrals to other professionals. Offer them any assistance you can in return and be sure to send a thank-you card or email expressing gratitude for their shared time and expertise.
Industry conferences and trade shows provide an effective way to network with industry pros and discover the forecast for your field. Check for any special student rates at registration! Industry-related magazines also provide information on the latest news, innovations and trends in the field. Online subscription-based resources provide in-depth analysis of specific companies and industries.
So, what are you waiting for? Whether you register for a conference, meet with a mentor, or comb Google and Twitter for trending topics, it’s time to set your daily alerts, start networking, and have fun!
Steven Starks is a Senior Career Counselor at University of Phoenix. He is also a National Certified Counselor and a featured career coach with TheMuse.com.