By Sharon Fleshman
When I speak of “reading days”, I’m not referring to those days between the last day of classes and finals. I’m talking about setting aside some time to catch up on reading of the non-academic variety. This is something I’m definitely anticipating as I wrap up a class that I’ve been taking and the pace in my office slows a bit.
After finals, after graduation or at some point during the summer, consider blocking off a few hours a week to read and reflect on developments in your field. Think of several newspapers, magazines or trade journals that are respected in your current (or targeted) industry. Commit to regularly skimming these periodicals for articles that intrigue you and provide you with updates and trends. For online resources, make sure to bookmark the websites for quick access. You may even want to take a break from your screen; pick up a relevant newspaper or magazine and note items of interest. Either way, this practice has two primary benefits:
You stay informed about your field. If you are seeking employment, your growing awareness of your field will likely enhance your conversations during job interviews or networking meetings. Once you are employed in your field of choice, continuing to be well-read will facilitate your professional development.
You uncover hidden jobs. For example, you could be reading the business section of a regional newspaper and see that a division of a given company is expanding. As you peruse a website geared toward the non-profit sector, you might find that an organization has received funding for a new project. Both of these scenarios would present opportunities for you to investigate the possibility of applying to jobs that haven’t been posted yet.
If you’d like to brainstorm ways to make the most of “reading days” for your career development or job search, contact a Career Services advisor or consult with a mentor in your field of interest. In the meantime, be sure to also venture into other genres, such as novels, biographies, or essays, which can inspire and energize you for the road ahead.