Do Industry Research With News 2.0 Tools
By Mark Swartz
Monster Contributing Writer
Staying informed about your industry or profession is essential to your career. Trends, events and noteworthy news can be mined for useful insights.
This applies to all stages of the career cycle. From recent grads to established employees, knowledge about your sector keeps you in the loop. It can be applied in job searches, before interviews, and for advancement or career change.
Industry research is simpler now that free news 2.0 tools abound. In fact there’s so much information available that your biggest problem will be filtering the results.
Industry Association Websites
Just about every occupation and industry has its own association. Sometimes there’s more than one, and there may also be provincial and local chapters.
As an example, typing “nursing association Canada” into Google.ca lists the following results among the top ten: Canadian Nurses Association, Canadian Network of Nursing Specialties, The Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada, and Canadian Gerontological Nursing Association.
What will you find on these types of sites? Typically you’ll learn what the sector or profession is about. There’ll be a catalogue of that association’s events (great for face-to-face networking in large settings). There may be in-depth research about the industry’s outlook, plus trends to be aware of. Also recent updates regarding that association will be posted there. Available certifications and professional development will show up too. Larger sites may have forums for direct interaction with your peers.
Trade Publications (specific to an industry or profession)
For news and observations about a profession or industry, “trade publications” are hard to beat. They feature current stories and in-depth articles on different aspects of the sector.
E-newsletters and e-magazines are the most common means of packaging this information. Most are free to view or subscribe to.
If you’re in a customer service role, check out the Customer Service Institute of Canada’s newsletter. Go to Foodservice and Hospitality magazine if you’re in that commercial grouping. Find the publications most relevant to your career by typing your profession or industry into a search engine, followed by the words “canada trade magazine”, e.g. welding canada trade magazine.
News Search and Alert Services
Sometimes you just want to view the latest headlines concerning your profession. They’re on tap 24/7 at a number of news search services.
Google.ca Advanced News Search and Bing.ca News Search are two of the better tools in this category. You can access these by typing in your search term, such as “teachers Canada”. When the results page appears, choose “News” from the top option bar. A new results-page appears, this time with the most recent headlines about that sector.
Can’t be bothered to check these sites regularly? Set up news alerts there instead. To set this up, just perform a search on that search site’s News, click the Create Alert link, and you can set the parameters of how many email alerts you get how often.
There are free apps available for news search and alerts for smartphones or tablets as well. Moreover, all of today’s Web browsers include RSS (Real Simple Syndication) readers. With an RSS reader, you can subscribe to updates at your news sources of choice.
News Rating Sites
A new generation of news spots is turning the tables on big-media companies by letting users decide which stories deserve headline treatment. At spots like Digg, Reddit and Wikio, users submit news headlines, rate the stories and comment.
Look to industry-specific categories or “tags” at these spots to find news relevant to you. But don’t rely on these spots for your entire news diet. Gossip, rumor and hype-driven top 10 lists are sometimes the big news here, even if those items aren’t essential reading.
You may be crushed by the onslaught of information by now. Add in blogs, podcasts, Tweets and Facebook updates – surely by now you’re sagging under the weight.
To avoid drowning in trade news, be selective. Use filters to specify keywords and phrases most meaningful to you. Limit the number of updates you receive per day. And have them bundled into manageable packets, either once a day or even weekly. That way you won’t be driven crazy by constant alerts.
When you increase your industry knowledge, apply it liberally. One day you could be setting up a blog of your own. It’s a good way to boost your career profile.