When you are serious about a job that you are applying for, research is absolutely necessary. Even if you are using what I call the “spray and pray” approach of applying to dozens of companies at a time, you will need to tailor your resume or CV and cover letters to each specific company. If you want to be competitive in the job market, this is is simply requisite.
Use the company’s website
We are fortunate to live in the 21st century when every company worth its salt has a website. To begin your research, visit the website and read up on the following items:
The foundation of a company will tell you a lot about its values. Was it founded within the past ten years, experiencing massive growth as a result of key investors? Was it founded a hundred years ago and kept in the family all this time? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you determine whether a company is a good fit and how to adjust your application materials in a way that appeals to the company’s sensibilities.
Every website has one, even this one. The About Us page should give you the nuts and bolts of the who-what-where-when and most importantly, why of the company. This is critical information, especially before the interview.
Although these don’t especially matter to the layperson, companies are proud of their mission statements, and they generally provide a good indication of where the company sees itself in the future. If you intend to be a part of this future, then this information is good to know. On your resume, you can even engineer the list of duties from your past jobs to feel more in line with what a company is moving toward.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Not every company has this, but if they do, it can provide excellent fodder for your cover letter. Studies have shown that while CSR matters little to the consumer, it helps to attract better employees. What better way to show that you are one of these “better employees”? You can use this intel to demonstrate that your ideals and ethics are aligned with that of the company.
Get the inside scoop
We live in an age of information. Wield this tool to your advantage by visiting other websites to learn exactly what it’s like to work at a certain company. Doing so can help you know whether you’re a good fit and, if you are, how to show it.
This website exists for the sole purpose of helping you get hired. WIth a massive index of companies and positions, you can learn about employee turnover, expected income, and how to build the most competitive application.
Facebook groups, Instagram tags, and LinkedIn pages exist for a reason! Start digging and see what your future colleagues are saying about your company. You can incorporate this information into an objective statement on your resume or begin crafting clever answers for your interview.
Check the News
Companies will often put out press releases on recent acquisitions, big projects, or other notable things. You can collect this information either through a simple Google search or through the ‘Press’ button that many websites feature. Then, you can use this information to discuss how you heard about the company or how it inspired you in your cover letter.
As the old adage goes, knowledge is power. These days, the job market is your battlefield and you want to be equipped as thoroughly as possible to stand a chance. The more information you know about a company, the better you will look, from your perfectly tailored resume to your cover letter to your interview.