As you search through hundreds of jobs, you may start to think you'll never find the right position. Then, you come across a job ad and it's perfect. You love what the company says they offer, and you have all the required skills and qualifications. You may get excited, but hold off applying just yet.
There is an important step that many miss; researching the company. It may seem like it's an obvious step, but it's overlooked. Researching a business could place you ahead of the pack. Perhaps you have already applied and have heard back. The business wants you to come in for an interview; once again, researching the business will prepare you. If you are prepared your chances of being successful increase dramatically.
Why You Should Research a Business
By researching the business, you will be able to get a better idea of what they stand for. You will see whether or not you're a good fit. This can determine whether you proceed, or can raise questions you may want to ask. Either way, you can only benefit by looking into the business.
No detail is too small, look at ways in which you can improve your application. The worst thing you can do is send a generic application. How can you send the exact same application to three companies? Every business is unique, therefore your application should be unique as well. You need to target exactly what it is that they're looking for.
For example; if you're applying for a blogging position, check out the website. What can you mention that will set you apart, yet connect you to the business in some way? Maybe you noticed a blog regarding modern design. If you can relate, mention the blog post. It will show that you took the time to look into the business and that you can relate to what they do.
If you have already been contacted to come in for an interview, it's even more crucial that you do your research. The best way to be prepared, is understand as much as you can about the business. You may be able to predict the topics they'll brush on, and the questions they may ask. As long as you have a thorough understanding of what they do, you should ace the interview process.
Tips on How to Research a Business
At this point, you know which business and position you're applying for. Take the time to visit their website. A website is a reflection of what the business does, who they are and what they offer. You can learn a lot from taking the time to browse through their website material.
It's crucial to know what their mission is. The whole point of you joining the business, is to aid in their mission. It doesn't hurt to write down a few of the current employers who are in charge. It is always better to personally address someone.
LinkedIn is a great resource, especially when you're trying to look into a business. You may get a more thorough look into recent hires and departures. This will allow you to see what the employee turnover has been. If you pinpoint someone who has recently left the business (perhaps whoever was working in the position you're applying for); you may get a more unfiltered idea of how the business is being operated. Keep in mind that they may be bias, so do not go strictly off their word. Do a little more research before you drop the idea of wanting the position based on their thoughts.
It's a great idea to look at the profile of the person who would be interviewing you. See what their background history is, maybe you can relate. Also take a peak into positions that are the same or similar to your prospective position. If you can, view the profiles of these employees. This may give you insight into how you can approach the application with the greatest chance of success.
It is a good idea to make a stop into social media sites that the business has; Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram are a few examples). Social media is a way for businesses to talk about matters that are important to them. They are likely to post topics and create discussions based on what they stand for. Take a look through their posts; see how you relate to the topics they discuss.
Social media sites can be a little less stiff in comparison to their business website. Although they'll still be highly controlled, you may find new and important information that wasn't listed on their website.
It doesn't hurt to type the business name into Google. There's potential that new information will surface for you. This may be in the form of news or even reviews. As mentioned, be conscious that not all reviews are 100% accurate. There are many views that may be biased or untrue. Like any of the other steps, just be thorough with your research. If you find multiple negative reviews complaining about the business and the way it operates, you may want to take this into consideration.
A thorough job posting will generally have all the answers you need and more. Focus on what they expect from you. If there are certain areas that you need clarification on, research these topics. This is also a great way to organise yourself for an interview. If you know what the potential employer expects of you, you will be able to match your skills and experience to what was mentioned in the original job posting.
As you can see, there are various ways that give you the upper hand. As simple as these steps and tips may seem, they are usually overlooked. You will be surprised at the difference that research can make. If you feel strongly about a prospective position, it's crucial that you do your homework. Researching a business is easy, and doing so will give you a greater chance of being successful.
Photo credit: Flickr