The FastTrack to Professional, Industry, and Trade Knowledge, Part I

By Paul S. Wed, November 24, 2010

Two kinds of resources can help you to quickly learn the trends, developments and characteristics of a profession, trade or industry. They are magazines and newspapers devoted to specific fields of work, industries and trades, and guides targeted to investors. Both kinds of resources can be found in Free Library of Philadelphia databases. This entry will discuss professional, industry and trade publications.

For almost every field of work there are specialized publications that come out regularly. Some are issued weekly or biweekly; some monthly or bimonthly; and others may be issued quarterly. Some are for specific professions such as nurses, accountants, or engineers. Others are for industries like banking, insurance, real estate, or construction. Finally, there are trade publications for suppliers, distributors, or retailers.

In these publications you can find articles and columns about trends and developments in the fields. The articles might be about technical innovations, legal issues having an impact on the fields or businesses, companies that are growing, or ways to improve efficiency and productivity.

There is usually a section devoted to news that will have the names of people who have won awards, been promoted, or plan to start a new business in the field. Some articles are written by people who work in the field. You may want to contact some of the people mentioned in a publication or writers of articles for advice or job leads.     

The FastTrack Strategy

-Identify publications for your field interest. You can ask a librarian to help you with this.

-ABI INFORM Trade & Industry is a great database for complete issues of many industry trade and professional publications.  Once you have identified a title to read, you can search entire issues, many with pdf full page images.

-Look at the 4-6 most recent issues of the publication. Scan the table of contents for articles and columns of interest to you.  Make notes as you read the articles.

-Next, look at the advertising in the publication. These will promote products or services used by people who work in the field.  An ad might list a company you want to work for, or might promote its product as the “industry standard.”

 Here are examples of each type of publication that you can find in ABI INFORM Trade & Industry.

Trade PublicationsBicycle Retailer & Industry News, Progressive Grocer, Drug Store News

Industry Publications:  American Printer, Electronic Design, Beverage Industry

Professional Publications:  Food Engineering, Pharmaceutical Executive, Contract Management

Another source of articles in trade, industry and professional publications is the publication’s website. In most cases, you won’t have access to full archives of articles but you’ll be able to view parts of recent issues without having a subscription.

These articles can help you gain some insight and knowledge about industries, trades, and professions. You may find particular work settings or employers within a field that will be a good fit for you.This knowledge will also help to prepare you for job interviews.

You can learn more about using these resources by attending the WORKPLACE Wednesday program, Internet and Library Resources for Job Hunters, on December 22, 2010 in the Tech Lab in Room 14 on ground floor at the Parkway Central Library.


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