The amount of knowledge you have about a potential employer, and
on the industry in which you hope to work can give you a
competitive edge. This pertains both to making initial contact with
employers and before going on interviews. In addition, having
information on a company is also invaluable when it comes to
evaluating a job offer.
You should know the company's industry, what they do, who some
major clients are, and the names of some of the company's
higher-ups, i.e. CEO, President, etc. You should also know who is
in charge of hiring for the position you are seeking.
Here are some resources to find company information.
- Corporate Websites-Most businesses use their home pages as a
marketing or communication tool for generating and retaining
business. They may also provide annual reports, news articles,
business ventures, and information about products and services. You
should spend a good portion of your research time reviewing the
information available at your company's home page. You can locate a
company's web page by using a search engine such as www.google.com.
- Directories-Here you can get information on public and private
companies, although you may be limited with private company
information. A couple sites to check out are: http://www.corporateinformation.com/
- Press Releases-Like an annual report, press releases present
information in a way that appeals to the media, and in turn to the
consumer. They are generally written by professionals who know how
to make even the most damaging news somewhat palatable. If you need
to find out newsworthy information about a company they are a good
- Local newspapers-Local newspapers usually publish articles
about companies in their city or town. This is often the only place
you will find information on small, local companies. Some
newspapers publish special business sections once a week. You will
also find information about employees at those companies. Should
someone win an award or special recognition, a local newspaper is
where you would find it. You are probably wondering what this bit
of trivia could mean to you. Well, imagine this scenario. You learn
you are going to be interviewed by Joanne Manager. You do a little
research and find out that she just won a 10 kilometer race. It
just so happens that you're a runner as well. Isn't this a great
way to establish rapport?
- National Newspaper-While the New York Times is not
planning to change its name to the U.S. Times, it can
serve as a source of national information. The same can be said of
other newspapers across the country, like The Boston
Globe, The Chicago Tribune, and The Washington
Post, to name only a few. Articles on larger U.S. and
international companies are featured in the pages of these
publications. If something newsworthy happens you will probably
find it in any large newspaper. Many are also available
- Business Journals-The most well known is The Wall Street
Journal. There are also smaller, more local business journals.
You can find information on local companies as well as companies
with a wider geographic scope. These journals provide a good way of
tracking who has moved where, what companies have what clients, and
which companies are relocating to your area. Openings of new
businesses should also be announced in a business journal.
- Industry Journal-These publications follow companies within
different industries. This is a great way to become more
knowledgeable about the industry in general. You can look at trends
and upcoming changes to determine how you can best make an impact.
Remember, you are trying to show potential employers what you can
do for them.
- Professional Journals-These journals keep you apprised of
goings on in your field. In addition to providing company
information, professional journals give insight into changes in a
particular field. These publications also contain advice about how
to do your job better. Being able to discuss new medical billing
software with the office manager of a doctor's office will show
your level of expertise and interest in the field.
About.com : Career Planning