Why Research Employers?
- To identify employers for which you would like to work.
- To effectively market yourself as a candidate in resumes, and cover letters.
- To demonstrate genuine interest in an organization at job fairs and networking events.
- To shine in an interview by preparing good questions for the organization in advance as well as anticipating questions you may be asked.
Research the Following
Consider the Type of Organization You Want to Work For:
- A career field of interest (government, education, nonprofit, business, etc).
- An organization/company (what kind and size – private or public, large or small?).
- The mission and goals of the organization (what services or products does the organization provide? Is it important for you to contribute to your community or environment? Do the values of the organization match your own?).
- A role or position (what kind of position do you want?).
Find Job Descriptions that Excite You!
Research your potential dream jobs by reading job postings and find at least 3 that excite you. Next, print them out and underline, highlight, or write in the margins the areas that you are drawn to. This could be:
- The mission statement of the organization/their products or services.
- Specific job activities (i.e. “job duties”).
- Skills or qualifications needed for the job.
Identify at Least three Re-Occurring Themes
Are you finding the job descriptions you are interested in have some similar themes? Which aspects such as skills and qualifications have you seen more than once, write them down! This will give you important clues for:
- What excites you most in a potential job.
- What to look for in your job search.
- Which skills and accomplishments you can highlight in your resume and in a job interview (use your skills outlined in the Identify Your Skills worksheet to get started).
What Skills Do You Need to Develop?
Have you found that you don’t possess some of the skills and qualifications employers are listing on their job descriptions? Take note of these, and think about ways you can start developing them so that you can incorporate into your skills worksheet above.
Some options may be to:
- Look into internships, volunteer work, or service-learning projects.
- Find work through an employment agency.
- Research with a professor.
- Additional coursework.
- Talk to a career counselor to explore options.
Resources to Research Employers
- O*Net - Great tool for researching occupations that interest you for an overview of job activities, skills, abilities, values associated with this career, and salary/ employment trends and more!
- Vault - An array of information for many career fields including company employee message boards for behind-the-scenes information, salary information, networking, jobs, and more!
- LinkedIn - Search by company, as well as look for connections who work at a company of interest for informational interviews.
- Job Star: Researching Employers and Industries – Thousands of useful sites to research companies and industries.
- Silicon Valley Business Journal -Resource for business news in the Silicon Valley Area.
- Dr. Martin Luther King Library - Assistance with business research as well as a wide variety of industry-specific guides, publications, and websites. Need help with your research? Contact a reference librarian and make an appointment for assistance.
- San Jose Mercury News - Local, national, world, business, and technology news.
- Yahoo! Newspaper Directory – Newspaper links by region.
- Yahoo! Finance - Stock Reports, company updates, and other newsworthy industry information.
- Earnings Whispers - Provides the daily and weekly trades of companies.