Keeping Up to Keep Up

It’s a struggle to keep up with what’s going on in your industry. Even when you’re engrossed in it every day, it’s easy to miss the little stuff – who just hired a new head of research, which firm is thinking of expanding into the Midwest, the bank that just signed a deal for a new proprietary software system.

Still, when you’re in the mix, your network makes it a lot easier for you.  “Hey, did you hear Joe is taking an assignment in Asia?”  “You saw that XYZ is selling off its widget-hedging business to LMOP, right?”

Water cooler talk isn’t just gossip. It’s a way to keep current and hear about opportunities.

If you’re on the outside, it’s even harder.  But there are a few tactical things you can do to help yourself stay current and connected. These can also help you research a new industry you’re targeting.

Read, read, read. Subscribe to industry trade journals and digests. It’s a lot to read, but there are some sources to help.  FierceMarkets.com and SmartBrief.com offer free daily email digests.  They aggregate stories from a variety of publications targeted at specific industry or sector insiders, including those in financial services.

Talk to people. Keep your work network alive.  Meet for coffee. Meet for lunch. Meet for drinks. If you’re not local, schedule a “virtual coffee break” together over the phone.

Attend industry conferences and fundraisers. Stay in front of people, while also keeping your skills sharp.

Use social media. Join LinkedIn.com groups targeting your role, industry or sector and participate in the discussions. There are new groups created every day, some more valuable than others.  Try different groups and “unjoin” those that aren’t what you need. A first step to determining what may be helpful is to check out your connections’ groups.

Pay attention to the regulators.  When you’re in the industry, Compliance sends you regulatory updates about changes on the horizon. You can do that yourself by subscribing through your regulators’ websites. For example, FINRA sends a weekly digest to subscribers.

Building these few simple things into your week will help you stay connected with what’s going on – and provide insight into potential opportunities.

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