There are a lot of steps involved in a job search: preparing a resume, drafting cover letters, networking with professionals, doing research and applying for various positions.
It is important to perform research on companies in which one is interested or with whom one is interviewing.
Taking the time to research companies and other organizations is important for two reasons.
First, the research process will help to identify additional companies and organizations that one may want to consider as prospective employers.
Secondly, if one has an interview with a company, thoroughly understanding what the company does will help one to come across as knowledgeable and will allow one to make a good impression on the interviewer.
In this digital age, it is tempting to consider a quick Google search as sufficient research. However, it is important to be more systematic in one's approach.
As a job seeker, the challenge is how to be both thorough and efficient with research.
One obvious resource to use is the company's website.
Take time to visit the careers section of the website to learn about any programs they may have for young professionals, including summer internship opportunities. This section could also include information on available positions.
Nowadays, it is very common to be able to apply online. There are many instances where employers will want someone to apply through their website even if one met them at a Career Fair or through On-Campus Recruiting.
While reading the careers section, look for key words and themes that may emerge. If they frequently repeat the word "collaborative," one may want to use that phrase in your cover letter and your interview answers.
Another part of a company's website that one should visit is the investor relations section. In this section one will find presentations, given by the company's senior leadership to investors.
These presentations will often include an overview of the firm and details regarding its financial performance.
Another resource one can access is the recording of a company's quarterly earnings announcement. While most of this information will pertain to the company's financial performance and the its strategy and operations.
If one is on campus, the Baruch College Library has a number of great resources one can use. The Lexis-Nexis database provides students with comprehensive access to news articles.
If one's career interests are focused on the Federal government or working for a not-for-profit, there are many great resources to use.
The USA.gov website has an A to Z index of all U.S. government departments and agencies with links to all of the individual websites.
For non-profits, the website charitynavigator.org can be an invaluable resource. The purpose of the website was to help people make informed decisions about where to donate their money when giving to charities.
Charity Navigator has gathered information on more than 5,000 non-profits including data on how much money is spent on programming, what the organization's mission is and what charities perform similar kinds of work. If one knows that they want to work for an organization that addresses homeless services, one can instantly be directed to 192 such entities across the U.S.
Finally, don't forget to take some time to speak with people who currently work for the organization of interest. Attending company presentations and meeting with alumni are great ways to learn more about a given firm.
Company presentations will often include an overview of the organization as well as some time to network with professionals employed by the company.
Keep in mind that the information one learns from company presentations and other networking activities can be shared during the interview.
While it can feel like researching companies is one more task on your job search "to do" list, taking the time to conduct in-depth research can help one prepare and shine during the interview.
One will not only understand what the company's culture is, but also convey that one is a thorough, knowledgeable candidate. And, when the recruiter asks, "Do you have any questions for me?" one will be prepared with insight.