Researching – a critical skill for a job search
If I had known in my school days how critical effective researching would be when searching for a job, perhaps I would have focused more on the process the teacher taught me in class than on my friends. Ok, maybe not. Let’s admit it, the way we can do research these days has changed dramatically from what it was back then. For those of us who find our research methods to be a bit outdated, let’s look at what is available that will help you get your new job.
What still works
Some of the traditional ways to research companies is still quite valuable. Almost nothing can replace an inside contact to tell you about a particular company, position or industry. Your personal contact will have insights to the ins and outs of a company. So set up an informational meeting with that contact. Make it formal or informal, depending on who it is. Be prepared with specific questions, not just “tell me about the company”. Plan ahead. Google “informational meeting format” to get a more detailed picture of how to prepare.
Read the newspapers and periodicals. Yes, some hard copies are still around. There is an old movie called Working Girl that gives a great example of how Melanie Griffith landed the perfect job when she did her research, connected the dots, and networked to achieve success. Think outside the box a bit.
“New” to the scene
The Internet has totally transformed research and how you can search for a job these days. Workforce Solutions provides information on seven industry profiles and fifty occupational profiles on our “Focus On” page. These are industries and occupations that are considered among the strongest in the Gulf Coast area.
A couple of other useful sites for researching industries are CEO Express and Weddle’s Professional Associations. CEO Express links you to hundreds of other sites. You name it and it is there. Weedle’s can link you to hundreds, even thousands of industries. It is organized by occupations and includes many research tools and helpful information.
Don’t forget LinkedIn as a site to research companies, or the fact that you can simply check out a company by doing a Google search.
There are also some outstanding bloggers on the Internet that post tips on doing a job search and how to research companies. But beware. There are also hundreds of “job search experts” out there giving their two-cent about how to find a job. Before you take their advice, be wise and research the author.
That goes for job search books, too. I found an outstanding book on using the Internet in your job search called What Color Is Your Parachute? A Guide to Job-Hunting Online (6th edition). It deals with anything that is job-related online. Written by Mark Emery and Richard Nelson Bolles, the book covers pretty much every job topic, and there is a link that will keep you updated on any changes. I found the 6th edition to be much better than the 5th, so be careful when you check it out. Many libraries have the 5th edition, but some have started ordering the 6th.
Finally, remember good research is a critical part of a successful job search. However, watch your clock because spending all your time on the Internet can consume all of your time. We know that the best way to find a job is to get out there and network!
Cheryl Sandifer is a Regional Facilitator with Workforce Solutions. In that role she has been able to apply her knowledge and experience as both an educator and social worker to conduct job search skills seminars throughout the Houston-Galveston area. She has had opportunity to work with those ranging from entry-level to C-level to help them find a job, keep a job, or get a better job.