Researching employers is perhaps the single-most important activity you will undertake in your job search. The information you uncover can help you:
- Discover organizations that are a good match for you.
- Identify the organization’s goals and needs.
- Tailor your resumes and cover letters to highlight your skills and experiences that match the employer’s needs.
- Know what questions to ask employers.
- Demonstrate your interest in and enthusiasm for the organization.
- Answer interview questions with confidence.
- Make an informed employment decision.
I recommend starting with the organization’s website. Generally, they will have abundant information on their services, mission and achievements. Searching through a company’s website will give you a sense of what the organization considers most important for you to know.
Another tool we can use at Luther is searching the library databases for the company’s financials, market, history, etc. Being familiar with the statistics and history of the company not only helps you decide if they are what you are looking for in an employer, but shows them that you are knowledgeable about their company and “did your homework.”
The easiest (and most fun) way to research a potential employer is to look at social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Doing this gives you the most up to date information about the company.
Know information regarding:
- Age, size, financial outlook, growth
- Names of key executives
- Mission, philosophy, objectives
- Products and services
- Locations of plants, offices, stores, subsidiaries
- Sales, assets, earnings
- Major achievements and activity, issues, news
- Trends/issues in the industry
- Company culture
- Public, private, or foreign-owned
- Career paths, training, benefits
Doing your research to gather as much information as you can about your employers can make a huge impact on your job search. You will be better prepared for your interview, and come prepared with more intelligent questions. It’s no secret that research can be tedious, but I still highly recommend making that extra effort to stand out and show your passion and determination to your potential employer.