It’s safe to say that most of us would like to know more than everyone else. (Or, at least more than we do right now.)

This is especially true when it comes to our careers—when having more info on our companies, clients, co-workers, and potential partners can really help us get ahead.

Of course, what keeps us from having more information is usually a sheer lack of time to find it. But, what if you could have more helpful, relevant information—about anyone or anything you’d like—come straight to you?

Well, friends, you can. Here are my three favorite tricks for being all-knowing at work, without using up your valuable time.

1. Newsle

Whenever your professional contacts are mentioned in the press, it's a wonderful chance to touch base with them again or congratulate them via social media to strengthen your connection. But how do you get this insider info without stalking LinkedIn every day or having 3,000 Google alerts set up?

One of my favorite tools for getting this scoop is Newsle. By linking in with your social networks, the site finds articles about your contacts and notifies you minutes or hours after they're published. And forget random notifications—the tool’s disambiguation feature makes sure that the "Jane Smith" mentioned is the one you know, and not one of the countless others.

newsle

Pro tip: Only connect your LinkedIn account (not Facebook) if you want to use this for business.

rapportive2. Rapportive

If you use Gmail, this one's for you: Rapportive lives right inside your inbox (like one of my other favorite tools, Boomerang), and will quickly become part of your daily routine. When you receive an email or start composing a new one, Rapportive pulls all of the publicly available information tied to that email address into your sidebar. In most cases, you get the person’s photo, job title from LinkedIn, social media links, and 2-3 most recent tweets (i.e., instant conversation starters). Added bonus: It fills in the spot where Google Ads lives in your mail window.

Pro tip: If someone's name looks familiar, but you're not sure if you've been in contact before, just click the "Recent mail" icon in Rapportive. It'll automatically run a search for you.

3. Google Alerts

Want to be the first to know when your company or CEO is mentioned? Need to keep tabs on the competition? Interested in following a politician or giving campaign?

This is where Google alerts come in. You can sign up for instant, daily, or weekly notifications on anything you'd like. Just type in the keyword(s) and pick the cadence (definitely choose daily or weekly notifications for high-traffic words like Google, Apple, or Barack Obama—your inbox will thank you). You’ll be receiving relevant information in no time.

Pro tip: If you find that you’re getting too many, too few, or irrelevant results, your keywords might be too broad or too specific. Don’t be afraid to adjust as you see what comes in.

Photo of people looking online courtesy of Shutterstock.