Look up. Listen up. Speak up. When I joined the staffing industry, work was heads-down and often desk-bound. Mobility required wheels. Communication was tethered to wires and ruled by paper. I loved my team, worked with great clients and candidates, but my world was fairly small and self-contained. That is no longer true for any of us. We have an all-access pass to a world of opportunity to explore, to learn, to share and to grow.

You’re not alone. Today, you are only a click away from the world’s most brilliant people and ideas. Back in the day, it wasn’t always that easy to connect with others in the industry. I’m not even sure that I would have tried because anything that kept me from calling customers, making placements and growing my team was not a priority. When I started in this industry, I thought it was all up to me. I didn’t realize it’s a lot smarter to learn from others who have done it before. I saw that the first time I was given the opportunity to connect with colleagues in my company from other offices and markets. It opened my eyes to the fact that no one knows it all. I’ve since learned to lean on those with abilities I don’t have. And today, it is so easy to connect with other industry professionals. You just have to take that first step to reach out and admit that you don’t know it all, and be willing to share what you do know. Here are a few suggestions on ways to make it happen.

Join industry associations. Industry and professional organizations like Staffing Industry Analysts, the American Staffing Association, the Society for Human Resource Management, the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration and the National Association for Health Care Recruitment are all great places to start. They focus exclusively on the issues that matter to all of us, and they provide expert guidance and resources to help us anticipate market trends and understand their impact. One example that comes to mind is the work ASA did on the Affordable Care Act.

It could have been a daunting challenge for our industry if each of us had tried to tackle the issue on our own. Instead, we were able to take advantage of the information platforms and knowledge exchanges sponsored by our industry association. We even reached out to other industries. In fact, I recall using a vendor video to help us help customers navigate the ACA. It was a great reminder that you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel, and that sometimes it is far smarter to look beyond our own walls for the best answers.

Stay informed. Pay attention to what’s going on in the world around you. There are so many tools available to help you do that. I start my day with theSkimm (a newsletter app) to get a quick overview on current events or breaking news. I also use Pocket to save articles that I’m too busy to read that minute. I drop them in Pocket to retrieve when time allows. It’s a great way to deal with standing in line somewhere or waiting for your delayed flight.

Participate in industry events. Whether you’re attending an ASA or SIA conference or webinar, there is nothing more valuable than sharing an experience with your peers. It’s a great way to learn and a great way to make new connections.

Share. Never be so heads-down and focused on your own job that you forget to look beyond it to learn and grow as a staffing industry professional. We need each other to make our industry great. Take advantage of all the talent and knowledge around you to increase your own capabilities and to share what you know with others. You always get back far more than you give, and both our companies and our industry are richer for it.