Be a sponge. Read outside of class. Class reading is important, but it is not the only thing you should read. Read books, blogs, newspapers and magazine articles. Be current. Know what is going on in the world.
Read the Classics
Know the classics. This is important for internships, classes and job interviews. People will talk about classic books, so it’s important to know not only what they are talking about, but how to relate and respond to their comments. Some of my personal favorites are: Huckleberry Finn, Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Great Gatsby.
Know Your Industry
If you are interested in a specific industry, make sure you are familiar with related books, newspapers and trade magazines. I work in the advertising industry, so it’s important that I read some of the industry-related classics like Hey Whipple, Squeeze This and Juicing the Orange. Professors and supervisors talk about these books, so reading them myself allows me to have an opinion in conversations where they come up.
In the advertising industry, most people read The Wall Street Journal. They focus on the Marketplace section and within that section, the Media and Marketing sub-section. This sub-section has the latest news about advertising campaigns and all sorts of information about trends in marketing and advertising. Figure out what books and newspapers people commonly read in your industry- and then start to read them, too. If you are in finance, for instance, read you should probably be reading The Financial Times.
It is also crucial to read trade magazines specific to your industry. In the advertising world, everyone reads AdAge. AdAge posts their content online for free so it is easy to read and stay relevant. It is so crucial to know what is going on in your specific industry, and almost all industries have trade magazines, so read them. You don’t want to show up for interviews not knowing the company just lost a $30 million on an account.
Digital is the Future
Stay on top of it. Everyone is trying to figure out the digital world and how to make money from it. As Gen Yers, we have an advantage. We are naturally more skilled with computers/ internet technology. Know the place you are interviewing or working’s digital strategy. This isn’t just relevant for marketing people. For people interests in Human Resources you should know that many companies now use Twitter to post jobs and look for new hires, check out @NBCUniCareers as an example.
It is not just crucial to know what is going on in your industry. You must know what is going on in the world. Know about climate change and the green movement. You must know about corruption cases in the finance industry, industry pay cuts and increased government regulation. If you do not know what is going on across industries you run the risk of looking obtuse asking for a pay raise when we are in an economic downturn.
Current news is great for small talk- it adds to your own personal education and leaves a good impression with others.
So read up!