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Following current events may seem like we’re time traveling back to elementary school. (Remember bringing news clips to class for discussion?) But seriously, following current and industry news can give you a huge career boost if you keep your focus.

Sadly, many of the Americans don’t follow current trends, or even enjoy it for that matter. In fact, only 45 percent of Americans reported enjoying following the news a lot while 36 percent enjoy following the news a little.

But here’s the really interesting statistic: More than a third of those employed full- or part-time say that keeping up with the news is important to their jobs.

However, keeping up with the news should be important to every job! Here’s why:

You never know what an interviewer might ask you.

During your job hunt, current events may be important to your interviewer. And who knows what they may ask. But if you haven’t been following industry news and trends, you might be unaware of a new federal policy, game-changing software, or latest trend. Being knowledgeable about the industry in which you work tells a lot about your dedication to your profession to an employer.

Interest and dedication is part of your personal brand.

Job seekers are told all the time to have a professional social media presence and blog platform to showcase work and impress employers. But if you’re not showing interest in your industry within these accounts, that speaks volumes to hiring managers. Show you’re on top of your game and actually interested too.

You’ll spot business opportunities and trends faster.

If you’re regularly following current events, you’ll start to realize when trends are emerging and pockets for opportunity have arisen. Further, you’ll be more in tune with your industry and client or customer needs, which will likely translate to making better, quicker decisions at work.

You may become an industry expert.

So you’re impressing hiring managers and employers, getting better jobs, becoming tuned to industry quirks, and making better business decisions. This may all soon lead to you becoming an industry expert if you choose. There are always at least a handful of professionals in an industry that we look to in trade publications, newsletters, and blogs to provide advice and thought-leadership. If you are present in the news you consume — such as participating and commenting in society forums or blogs and interacting with opinion leaders in your industry — you will start getting noticed.

So if you’re on the current events bandwagon, there are easy ways to start following your industry’s current news, trends, and issues.

Use the following resources to get started:

1. Industry blogs, e-letters, and websites. Try putting these into an RSS feed for easy access in one place.

2. Attend meetings with your professional organization, read their newsletters, or watch their webinars.

4. On-the-go a lot? Try downloading some mobile apps to your mobile device. Most major news organizations have their own apps with handy news feeds.

5. Follow thought leaders on social networks, LinkedIn recently added their 150 Thought Leaders to follow.

Following current events can seem daunting and boring. But if you truly enjoy the industry in which you work, you are bound to find some interesting stuff every day to share with your colleagues. In the end, it will make you smarter and more aware of the events that impact your life and career.

What’s another benefit to following current events in your industry?

Related: Social Media: An Executive Decision

Heather R. Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president of Come Recommended, a career and workplace education and consulting firm specializing in young professionals.