How to Research an Employer

What are the benefits of researching a company? 
do I want to work here? | targeting resume & cover letter | performing well in the interview

There are several important reasons for researching a company while you are conducting a job or internship search.  Ultimately, the underlying reason for researching an employer is to decide whether you would like to work for them or not.  During your research, you should aim to learn about the mission of the company, its values and its culture and evaluate how those qualities align with your own goals, values and skills.   

Additionally, researching a company will enable you to better target your job search correspondence – your resume and your cover letter – so that these documents stand out to recruiters within the organization.  On average, hiring managers see at least 70 resumes per online job posting+, so it is important to showcase that you have done your homework on their specific organization.

Lastly, gathering information and data about a company before applying for a position can prove to be quite useful when you obtain an interview.  During this phase, you will be able to demonstrate your knowledge and motivation for working for the organization, enticing an employer to hire you.    


What type of information should I be gathering?        

There are specific things that are helpful to know about an employer and these pieces of information include:

-Duties of the position for which you are applying;

-Products and services that they offer;

-Target markets and competitors;Mission and values of the organization;

-Available opportunities for advancement;

-Long-term income potential within the organization;

-Other locations of the company;

-Direction of the organization (where do they see themselves going in the short-term, long-term?);

-Organizational hierarchy, CEO’s name and his or her impact on the organization;

-History of the company and recent news.

It will also be important to examine characteristics that are most important to you – pay attention to those qualities as you gather information about an organization as well and compare them with what you would ideally want in a position.

Where do I get this information?

There are five main resources that will help you to locate the above information and they include: 

  1. Combing through the company’s website and/or contacting an employer directly to initiate an informational interview;
  2. Familiarizing yourself with the Useful Links webpage on the Career Services Center website, focusing your attention on such resources as ReferenceUSA and Plunkett Research;
  3. Browsing through the print resources in the Career Library, located in the Career Services Center office;
  4. Attending a job or internship search workshop sponsored by the Career Services Center and learning about additional resources;
  5. Visiting the Paul J. Gutman Library and browsing through their website in order to locate relevant information associated with the organization you are investigating.


+Schawbel, D. (2009).  Me 2.0: Build a powerful brand to achieve career success.New York, Kaplan Publishing. 


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