Finding a job is a full-time job, and most people don’t put in the necessary time in the process. The commitment to getting a job requires more than a few hours here and a few there. During the job search, doing the research on employers makes a large difference. Invest the time to know about the organization, the specific field, and the current trends. Check out information on the specific business of interest, but also investigate the competition. No employer will tell you that you are too informed about their business or the current market.
I can give some examples of this in practice. I was applying for internships in communications and public relations at the end of my undergraduate education. I was interviewing with a communications firm. I did my homework on their clients, as many as I could figure out. I investigated the current stories and campaigns specific to the businesses the organizations represented.
During the interview process, I met with a number of people from the firm, and within each component was asked about my related experiences and knowledge of specific clients or industries. Obviously, knowing details about current trends about larger campaigns and industries was much easier. I can remember a campaign related to physical education, and I inquired with a friend who was graduating from a university majoring in physical education. He provided some input on the campaign, and what he knew about the initiative. I did the research online after that point, but I wanted to get the firsthand perspective. He knew a good amount about it. During the interview, the program was mentioned, but the interviewer didn’t think I would know it. I referenced what I knew about the program, and the person was blown away. Truthfully, though this campaign was not one of their higher-profile pieces of work, it was impressive because they didn’t expect me to know about it. You never know what information will set you apart from your competition.
Putting in the time to do the research about organizations is never a bad thing. This can be beneficial for the interview, but it also can help with creating a great and relevant cover letter. A cover letter is a sales pitch on why an employer should view your resume. Including relevant and related information to the employer can set you apart— especially expressing how your past experiences relate to the current position that you are applying for, and throwing in some relevant facts. Businesses don’t want to read a cookie-cutter cover letter.
Researching an employer can impact your job search process, connecting with people who work at the organization. This could be through your personal network or extended network. Getting the inside information about the organization can provide that much-needed advantage in the process. This is research, as well. You can find out the core values online for many larger companies, but with smaller businesses, it will take some time, effort, and investigation.
In AFB CareerConnect’s Job Seeker’s Toolkit, you can find more detailed information about researching employers, finding job leads, and following up on job leads. The “Job Seeker’s Toolkit” is a free, self-paced, online course designed to aid in the preparation and improvement of navigating the employment process as a person who is blind or visually impaired. The Job Seeker’s Toolkit has been utilized by teens, adults, and professionals. There are thirty-three lessons included in the course, as it guides users through self-awareness, career exploration, pre-interview skills and tools, the interview, and follow up. I have been contacted by professionals who utilized it for their own job search, and they felt it was beneficial for them. They stated that they learned about resources and strategies that they were unaware of at the time.
For other resources and advice on navigating the employment process, explore the different sections of AFB CareerConnect; you will be surprised by the vast array of resources. And, make sure to follow the latest posts on the CareerConnect Blog. The Find a Job section offers a number of great resources to researching and preparing for a job search.
Take the time to check out the different lessons, and take the time to “put in the work and do your research!”