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How old magazines can boost your career

the standard repoter

I HAVE always been a magazine lover.

From the time I could read chapter books, I have subscribed to a handful of magazines at any given time — from Highlights and CRICKET in middle school to, these days, Fast Company, Wired, The New Yorker, Real Simple, and InStyle. I read them like books, cover to cover, using the loose subscription card as a bookmark.

Naturally, at any given time there is a teetering pile of dog-eared magazines on my coffee table, read-through and ditched. But I have discovered over the years that old magazines can actually have a useful afterlife, if you think inventively.

Here are suggestions for creative and useful ways to reuse that stack of magazines you have read but just cannot seem to get rid of.

l Start a magazine trade with a co-worker

I am always looking for fun ways to connect with co-workers I do not work closely with on a daily basis. Something I have done at my past three jobs is set up an informal magazine swap with a colleague who gets different subscriptions than I do. It is a great way to initiate a relationship with someone you do not really know yet, it is good for the environment (“recycling” can be more than filing your paper products in a blue container), and it is a cost-effective way to read even more magazines. Thanks to my current setup, I get to read People StyleWatch, New York, and Entertainment Weekly gratis.

l Get ideas for blog posts

Sometimes I find it really interesting to look back at a months-old issue of a magazine and browse through the article headlines to stimulate ideas for blog posts. Once the topics are no longer timely, they serve simply as brainstorm-boosters. For example, if an old article discussed the top 10 startup companies to watch in the following year, reading the piece halfway through that year might prompt a post about how your industry’s top startups have fared compared to their anticipated prospects. Or, if you see a feature on a street artist’s work from the previous year, it might inspire you to take your camera outside and seek out intriguing wheatpaste, graffiti, or installations for a photo essay. If you write a blog either at work or on your own, it might be useful to file magazines you have read into a small library that you can turn to when you feel creatively tapped out.

l Create a career inspiration board

Working with visuals can be incredibly helpful for getting in touch with your emotions and crystallizing your goals. So turn your magazines into real life Pinterest boards: Grab a pair of scissors and go through your stack of magazines cutting out any words, phrases, or images that inspire you, motivate you, or make you feel happy or content. When you are finished, pin or paste the cutouts on a bulletin board or poster as a bright, visual catalogue of where to steer your career path.

— www.themuse.com

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