In order to get a job in today’s competitive market you need to stand out. You need to give the employer a reason to remember you among the many people who applied for the job. One of the ways you can do this is by taking the time to research the company that you are applying to work at. Not only will doing your research help you stand out but it will also help you to target your resume and cover letter to a specific company. You’ll also be able to prepare for the interview and adapt your responses accordingly.
So, what should you be looking for when you research information about a company you are hoping to get hired by?
Here are a few research tips:
- Find out everything you can about the leaders of the organization. Who are they? Where did the come from? Where did they go to school? What are their goals, ambitions, and values (often these are adopted by the entire company).
- What is the business philosophy of the organization? Priorities, managerial approaches, and strategies can tell you a lot about the company.
- Learn about the company’s competition. What are their weakness, strong points, challenges?
- Look at the organizations advertising. Sales brochures, web advertising, and commercials – all of these can tell you how the company sees themselves, how they want to be seen by others, and what their goals are. Be aware of possible flaws and know what you like.
- Know the product/service that is offered by the company and know it well. You’d better be excited about it otherwise you’re unlikely to be chosen for the job. Even if you’re not in sales or promotions employers love to hire people that can be enthusiastic about what they are offering.
Once you have this information, think about how you can put it to use. Perhaps you can adapt the first paragraph in your cover letter so that it really grabs their attention. You can include skills in your resume that are very important for the job. But your interview is where this information is really going to come into play. Interviewers almost always ask if you have questions. This is an invitation to ask intelligent questions that will show them that you’ve done their research. If you know that certain attitudes are appreciated you can adapt your answers accordingly. Of course those aren’t exact numbers but the amount of time you will spend putting out resumes and going on interviews will be drastically reduced if you invest time in job research.