Next up in my series “Avoiding Unemployment“: Read. Read a book. Read a blog. Read a newspaper. Just read for fun.
There’s an old adage that says “readers are leaders.” You may laugh or scoff at its cheesiness, but it’s absolutely true. One of the best ways to prepare yourself for your career is to read what other people in your industry are reading — and do it often.
As a college student, I understand it’s difficult — if not downright impossible — to read while in school. After reading textbooks all day, the last thing you want to do is read some more. In fact, even though I love to read, I spent almost three years of my college career without reading much of anything except all the assigned readings I had for class. Big mistake.
This year, I renewed my outlook on reading. I made it part of my daily routine, and I was better prepared for my career because of it. Here’s what I suggest:
- Devote ten minutes (or more!) of your morning to reading news. No matter what industry you’re in, it’s important to know what’s happening across the country and the world. If you prefer, subscribe to a news service that will email you each morning with highlights of the biggest stories of the day. (I subscribe to the New York Times and the News Journal, our local newspaper, and that’s it — no need to clutter up your inbox.) Another thing I’ve done is make Newsmap my internet homepage — this is an awesome resource which visually reflects the top news stories via the Google News aggregator. With one glance, you can tell which news stories are the most talked about at that moment. It makes news consumption simple.
- Find a way to organize your industry news and read it regularly. Whether you prefer to set up a RSS feed (such as Google reader) or just bookmark your favorite sites, find an easy way to consume industry news. You don’t have to do it everyday (consider setting a “professional development hour” for yourself each week). If you are an aspiring PR/marketing/social media professional, I recommend PR Daily, Social Media Examiner, Ad Age, and Culpwrit. No matter what your profession, I recommend you tune into these blogs with great career advice: Youtern, The Intern Queen, Corn on the Job, and Seth’s Blog (always makes me think!).
- Read books. All the blogs in the world can’t substitute for reading an actual book. But, instead of viewing reading as a daunting task, see it as an opportunity to learn. Take it slow if you don’t have much time. Incorporate it into your daily activities, like reading while eating your breakfast. Or, aim to read a chapter or two each week. (This may equate to only five or ten pages each day.) Here are some of the top books I’ve read lately: Onward, Steve Jobs,The Networked Nonprofit, The Thank You Economy, and Good to Great.