Not too many years ago, doing research for a career or job change could take weeks. Calling or writing to a company to request its annual report and trips to the library to do research could take what seemed forever.
Now those in career transition can do research and preparation in hours vs. weeks.
• Research Companies
Business database sites; company websites, archived news articles about the company can provide a wealth of information. Is the organization you’re interested in growing, diversifying, or floundering? Is it developing new lines of business or customers? Is it financially stable? Does it have a distinctive culture? Is it actively involved in the community? What is its reputation?
• Research People
The internet is not just a source of information about organizations, but a source of information about the people IN organizations. Let’s say one of my work values is working for a leader who “walks the talk”, and I’m interested in working for an organization that is involved in the community. If I research the leaders of the organization, I’d hope to discover that they have a lot or frequent involvement with the community. I might also discover that we share common community interests.
• Research Yourself!
Google yourself: Is what’s published about you what you want a future employer to know??? As more employers are running background checks, reference checks, and credit checks, make sure your name (and/or picture) is not associated with anything unprofessional, or that an unknown “snafu” on your credit report exists that could be used by a future employer to disqualify you. By knowing ahead of time what a potential employer might find, you have an opportunity to correct errors, or prepare an explanation.
• Online Networking Communities/tools
Building relationships and connections has moved online. Online networking sites such as www.salary.com
Linked-In allow you to stay connected with people you want to stay in contact with as well as gain introductions to people you want to meet in other networks. If I’m exploring a career change or industry change, perhaps someone in my online network knows someone in their network that I can talk to. An introduction can be as easy as a few clicks!
• Salary ranges
Know what the job is worth. Salary comparison websites such as www.salary.com and www.jobstar.org offer market perspective on salary ranges by industries, job titles, and markets. While job responsibilities may differ from organization to organization even under the same job title--something the job searcher must take into account in estimating the value of the job, salary sites can be a good starting point.
Bottom line: whether you find a job opportunity through an ad, on-line posting, company website, or word-of-mouth, your work in securing that job has just begun. Avail yourself of the resources available via the Internet, and make sure you’ve done your preparation.
Pamela Roe Ehlers is Vice President with American Career Executives, one of the premier career management firms in Arizona, and the only career firm to be honored by the Better Business Bureau of Northern/Central Arizona for Ethics in both 2004 and 2005. Celebrating 20 years in business (1985 - 2005), the company has served more than 6,000 executives, professionals and college graduates in reaching their career goals.