How Reading Trade Publications Gives You a Competitive Edge

Believe it or not, your grade school teachers knew what they were talking about when they told you that reading is the roadmap to success; and, what you read can help you find a shortcut to your career destination.

How can something as simple as a little extra reading benefit you? Here are a few ways that reading trade publications can help you land the perfect job or acquire the knowledge and skill sets you need to succeed in your current line of work:

1. Improve your interview performance.

The ability to hold your own in a conversation about industry developments signals to an employer that you are well read, well informed, and — perhaps most importantly — serious about your career path in your chosen industry. By subscribing to complimentary magazines in your industry, you have information at your fingertips covering a range of topics that might come up in your next interview, including new products and technologies, important mergers and business transactions, upcoming conventions and trade shows — even hirings and firings.

2. Learn the ins and outs of a new industry.

Tom (last name withheld due to employer related privacy concerns), a senior executive in the hotel industry, recently decided to pursue a career change after more than 20 years in hotel management roles. He spoke to several recruiters about breaking into his chosen field, healthcare facilities management.

“Some of the best advice I received was to subscribe to industry publications,” Tom said. “The information I found in trade magazines not only helped me see the big picture and speak intelligently about the industry in job interviews, but also kept me up to speed about what companies might be hiring, what additional training I might need, and what trade shows and conferences would be the best for networking.”

3. Become a commodity in a tough economy.

Whether you are a jobseeker, a small business owner, or an employee in an organization of thousands, understanding your company’s role (or your prospective employer’s role) in the competitive landscape will allow you be a voice of influence to determine the best way to position the company’s products and services.

Joe Anthony, a senior executive at a national public relations agency, says that he reads trade publications to stay up to date on what tools, techniques and trends are making an impact in his industry. By reading various viewpoints of peers and competitors Anthony says he gains a wider perspective on what is happening in the world of PR.

“Reading the trades helps me stay on top of what companies and agencies are doing to advance their public relations initiatives,” Anthony said. “The information I find in trade magazines not only helps me see the big picture but it helps me remain valuable to my agency and my clients as an information source. Reading the trade magazines also allows me to keep up to speed on what agencies are making moves with new initiatives and new hires.”

4. Find out what skills you need to survive … and then acquire them!

While reading your new trade magazines you will discover that there are areas in which you may need to improve your skill set. The good news is, in addition to the free subscriptions you’ve acquired you can also easily find additional resources to help you build your background. Jobseekers and professionals can find a wide range of free white papers, webinars, podcasts, and software downloads that focus specifically a new concepts or technologies, offering an overview of, or even a detailed lesson in, an important new skill.

There are so many benefits related to educating yourself with these free industry resources. But, how can something so beneficial and simple also be available at no charge?

The short explanation is that your subscription is paid for by advertisers. More specifically, these magazine publishers offer subscriptions at no cost because they need a qualified reader base in order to sell advertising. To get your free subscription, you typically have to fill out a short online application to verify that you are (or have been, or shortly will be) professionally involved in some aspect of the industry the magazine covers.

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