WHY and HOW to Research Employers
To effectively sell yourself as a job candidate, you need to be able to persuade the employer that you are the right fit for that employer's needs. By doing research, not only do you get information to decide which employers to contact, but you also get a better sense of where your strengths and interests will most meaningfully be engaged on the job. So, rather than sending fifty cover letters and resumes to employers you know little to nothing about, send ten letters and resumes to employers you know something about and with whom you have a greater chance of securing an interview. Targeted letters, individualized to the
recipient and position are much more effective than a general letter. More importantly, in interviews, employers expect you to arrive knowing background information about the organization. You have to be able to answer the critical question of why you would like to work for that employer - and not sound like you would take any job. Put simply, employer research helps you write more effective cover letters, which helps you get more interviews, and ultimately allows you to formulate more intelligent responses and ask more appropriate questions in your interview.
How do you get started? First off, find people who work for or know about the organization. This could be people you meet at a career fair, family members, neighbors, parents of friends, students who graduated ahead of you, and alumni contacts. Secondly, visit the employer's website! Look for basic facts, information about mission, culture, values and more. If the website posts jobs and/or the organization invites e-mail from job seekers and/or accepts resumes online, follow the instructions the employer provides. Thirdly, conduct research online. Websites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Careerbliss, and many others on our career resources page can provide up-to-date, insider information on what it is like to work for a particular employer.
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