VALUE OF RESEARCH
Getting the 411 on a company you want to work for—not only is it a critical part of your job search, but it gives you a seriously competitive edge over many other job applicants. Having knowledge about a company shows that you’re sincerely interested and enthusiastic about working for them. Truth is, it’s best to be armed with this background information when you send your cover letter, and even for your interview. Having this company knowledge also helps you to decide whether it’s even worth it to pursue a career with this place. Okay, so it’s a bit of a chore, but it helps you to stand out well above the rest, which makes it definitely worth it in this highly competitive job market. So grab yourself a pen and a notepad, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.
WHAT KIND OF INFO TO LOOK FOR
First thing you should do is head to the company website. If you don’t have their web address, do a Google search. Let’s say we’re looking for ‘Harry Lyndon Communications’ (made it up). Bonus tip: type that in, and place a plus sign in between each word, connecting them. Why? Well, it always seems to help me find what I’m looking for. Some will argue that you should use quotation marks, others say use nothing. I’m just saying that from my own experience, plus signs help me to find what I’m looking for, 9 ½ times out of 10.
When you get to the company website, look for the company history, or an “About Us” section. Take your time to read that over. Here are a few other things you might want to look for:
*Press releases—any info they might have on recent accomplishments, and/or current and upcoming projects
*Company Philosophy—what they value, their beliefs, and what they’re looking to achieve, for both short & long term growth
*Products and services they offer
*Names and biographical info of top executives
*Additional info: how many employees, location of company, financial status, and an annual report if you’re lucky enough to find one
*Focus on any problems they may be having. Then think of ways you can help to solve them
ORGANIZATION/KEEPING YOUR FILES IN ORDER
Here’s a great idea for keeping track of all this information you’re gathering: go out to your local office supply store and get a small set of file folders, manila or colored, however you’d like to do it.
As you’re doing research on your potential employer, you want to be sure and keep this information organized. Write the company name on the file tab in large black letters, so you can quickly reach for it with no problem.
As you print information from the Internet and read it over, be sure to keep it filed away in the proper folder. This will help you keep a clear head and maintain well-updated information on your targeted employer(s).
Okay, so take a deep sigh of relief. For a moment. The gathering of the information part is over. So then what are you supposed to do with all of this golden information? How can it possibly help you to get that dream job you want? We’ll cover that in part two of this article. Till then!