Environmental Scanning - Capital University Law School

Environmental Scanning

  • The best way to stay informed about a profession, employment markets, and the future is to conduct regular environmental scanning. This process of surveying and interpreting news, data, and reports helps to identify opportunities as well as challenges or threats. Businesses, communities, and groups use environmental scanning to plan for the future. Individual job seekers should do the same.

    As a job seeker, you can use environmental scanning to your advantage to learn more about employers, networking events, job opportunities, market changes, growth opportunities, and much more. Environmental scanning keeps you informed and armed with the best information to help you make solid career and professional development decisions.

    Getting Started
    To begin, be sure to perform self-assessment. Ask yourself: 

    • What are you looking for? 
    • What kinds of employment opportunities interest you? 
    • Where would you like to work? 

    Before you begin any initiative, understand why you’re doing so. Be prepared so that you are looking at the big picture with a plan. Set SMART goals to ensure success.

    Getting the Intel
    Once you know what you want to explore, identify the resources that can help you. Consider,

    For news, you may want to use a news aggregator like The Old Reader. Such sites allow you to aggregate your news from multiple sources in one place. A quick morning scan of the aggregated news while eating breakfast wraps your mind around the latest news.

    As for social media, be sure to follow or connect with employers of interest. In some cases, job opportunities are posted via social networks before being posted to job boards.

    And of course, don’t forget about your own network of contacts and relationships. Our personal and professional connections are often a great source for information as well as ideal sounding boards for what you learn in exploration.

    Using the Intel
    The goal of environmental scanning is to be well informed. Information about professions, employment markets, and the future tells you about opportunities and challenges

    You will need interpret, review, and synthesize the information you gather, and when performed effectively, the information can help you make better career and professional development decisions. Your environmental scanning should be ongoing, evolving, especially as you grow as a professional and your needs change. 

    You will find that the more you engage in environmental scanning the easier it becomes. You will develop tools and techniques to help you quickly gather and process the information. You will find that you can employ the technique for many facets of professional and personal life. You will be an informed professional because of it.