Mission, Vision, Core Values…
Culture, History of Company, Family Story, Meet Our Staff … I could go on and on about the various website headings that companies use to share information that they value about themselves. Sometimes this information is found in a company’s “About Us” page, other times on a page all on its own. If you find nuggets of information like this, ask yourself, “Do I value the same things?” And then ponder, “When and how have I demonstrated these things?” These are the relevant stories that you can share in an interview to show that you are a good fit.
Facebook & Twitter & You Tube
If a company has a website and interacts through social networking, 99.9% of the time that company has a Facebook and/or Twitter page. If you don’t have an account on either of these pages, that’s ok. And if right now you’re thinking, I will never have a Facebook or Twitter page for whatever reason, that’s ok too. Most companies’ Facebook/Twitter pages are set to view by the public, meaning that you can still view their pages without setting up an account. You might even find jobs posted on these sites.
See if you can find emerging trends in your industry and projects that companies are currently working on – these can be one big pot of gold when you are doing research. Let me explain. Imagine you’re an employer. Most of your phone calls from job seekers are inquiries about available positions. Most of the correspondences you receive from applicants, such as letters of job interest, just state what people have done and skills they say they have – past tense. What if, still imagine you’re an employer, you receive a call or cover letter and the job seeker says:
“I saw on your Facebook page that you are working on this project. I am very familiar with this and would love to share some ideas with you.”
Who would you continue to listen to? The applicant who wants to offer ideas or the one who is asking for a job?
You Tube: Just try it – search for a company you’re interested in and see what you find. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how useful this tool can be.
Some job leads barely provide any information, while others are quite detailed. I’ve seen start-up companies that simply advertise, “If you want to be a part of our team, email your resume to…” These postings give you more flexibility in what you say, but it’s still important to find out what the employer needs before you send your resume. Remember, read their “About Us” page, visit their social networking sites and find things they value. On the other hand, if a job description is lengthy, look for phrases or sentences that are prefaced with words like “Requires…”, “Must have…”, “Desire…”, and “Prefer…” If you have these traits, share examples from your work history that demonstrate how you can meet these needs.
Many job seekers struggle writing their cover letters and resumes. Many are unsure how to initiate contact, answer interviewing questions, and how to follow-up. If you feel like this too, let your research guide you. Your research IS gold – the more you find out about what a company needs, the more you know what related stories to share about yourself. Happy researching!
Josie Toth is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions. She facilitates job search skills and career exploration classes in the 13-county Houston-Galveston area. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and enjoys encouraging others in their pursuit of meaningful work.