Whether you’re striking out on your own for the first time after graduating college or shifting career paths in the middle, standing out in a new job field is difficult. The best way to get a position you want is to learn from those who already have the job. Finding out what they know and how they got where they are can assist your search.

Follow Industry Leaders on Facebook and Twitter

Social media is a huge benefit to job seekers today. Facebook and Twitter provide opportunities to learn more about the people you want to follow in your career. This is an opportunity to be a fly on the wall and learn from the wisdom of people in your industry first-hand. They will commonly share current and important information related to the field, giving you some relevant talking points in an interview situation.

Subscribe to Industry Blogs

The Internet makes it possible to find all kinds of information about businesses and industries for free. It is best, though, to go to reliable resources for information. Look for industry-related blogs written by professionals within the industry that provide actionable news and information – not to mention an opportunity to learn about the tasks you’ll be expected to complete within your new role. Don’t just read the blogs, participate in them by commenting and engaging with other blog readers. Find out what you don’t know and learn about it.

Connect on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a unique type of social media. It provides an opportunity to connect on a very real level with professionals within the industry where you’re hoping to find a job through industry-related groups.

By joining in the conversation and participating in these groups you can make valuable connections that will help you not only get interviews, but also land the job. Many hiring managers will look to LinkedIn to see how many connections you share before extending an invitation for an interview.

This can also be a resource when building a resume. Search for a position you want and look at how people with that job list their abilities, achievements and work history. Chances are that those skills are valued in the field.

Read Books Written by Industry Leaders

It may not be as riveting as the latest thriller on the New York Times list, so think of it as educational material – which it is. You learn a lot about the industry by reading these books but also about the type of characteristics that get people to the top in the industry.

Join Professional Organizations

This is the perfect way to take your career education offline and meet real people who work in your industry. Get to know them. Many times in the world of business, it’s about who you know, more than what you know that gets you the job.

You can save yourself a great deal of time and aggravation by approaching a career change or first job search this way because these things help you do all of the following without having verifiable industry experience on your resume.

Get inside information about what’s going on in the industry

Stay up to date on the latest news and technology in the industry

Get to know the leaders within the industry

Make friends and connections with professionals who work within the industry now

Become associated with industry insiders

Establish yourself as an industry insider

Through professional organizations, it’s also possible to approach someone about a mentorship. Many people would consider it a great honor to help someone get into their field.