Updated: Sep 28, 2020
It is important to research an important topic before writing a paper or dissertation on it. Similarly, it is important to research your potential employer and workspace. Just like students get in trouble for not doing that extra bit of research for their grades, you could also lose out on a good employment opportunity due to lack of research. It is a very important but overlooked aspect of the job hunt process. Research provides focus and can steer you in the right direction.
Before getting to the ‘how to' section of researching your employer, it is essential to know why doing this is of paramount importance.
Research helps you discover the best organizations that meet your specific skill set.
You can tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your relevant skills and experiences that will match the employer’s needs.
It helps you demonstrate your interest in the organization.
You can answer interview questions with confidence.
You will be able to make an informed decision if you get offered the job.
Apart from these reasons, it also helps you make a good impression on the interviewer, when you land an interview. Going into an interview sans research indicates poor preparedness, and gives off the illusion that you don’t have much interest in the job. It is always a tactical advantage to be familiar with the environment you are entering, before even getting there.
Knowing how to research your employer is also very important. You need to target the right sources of information available at your disposal :
Look up the company website. It is always a good place to start, and shows you how the company wants to present themselves. Most companies have an ‘About Us’ page or a specific page underlining their mission, values and workplace culture. You can also read through the bios of the key members of the organization, to get an idea of their personality.
Search the company on the internet. Look for recent news articles, press releases, and stories on national publications about the company. This type of organic search can provide invaluable information that you can use to customize your resume, cover letter, and interview approach.
Social media may be your best resource for the most up-to-date information about any potential employers. Many companies update their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts on a regular basis. These sites can provide information about upcoming events, community outreach projects, employee highlights, breaking news, and more. Platforms, like YouTube, may give you a behind-the-scenes look at the company or allow you to hear first-hand information from leaders within the company.
LinkedIn is another powerful site, especially when it comes to researching prospective employers. By searching for the company, you can find an extensive list of both current and former employees. This step may reveal a connection, such as a former colleague, that you didn’t know worked at the company.
Lastly, you can make use of employer review sites like Glassdoor. Many reviews may have been written by bitter employees, but if you sense a pattern or see a lot of similar complains, there might be a genuine issue in the company. You get a closer look at the workplace culture and the kind of work ethic expected of an employee in that organization. In some cases, these reviews can help you determine that the company is not right for you before wasting time completing the application process.
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