You’ve read the job description, you’ve checked out the company’s website, but what else is there to do to ensure you have enough knowledge of the organization you’re applying to and might even work for?
The More You Know: Company Overview
A large component to you feeling comfortable with a company is understanding their overall structure and mission. Take a look at the company’s LinkedIn page to determine how they list their mission and statement, and check out how many employees currently work at the organization. By searching through their employees on LinkedIn, you can get a better idea of the variety of roles at the company ranging from administration to human resources to tech.
It’s also wise to learn what outside sources are saying about the company as well. By searching the company’s name on sites such as Google News, you can see if there’s any positive or negative press about the company. This will also help you understand if there are newer initiatives or projects at the company that may be helpful to know about going into an interview or your first day of work.
Start by being able to answer the following questions about the company:
- What is their main product/service?
- How many employees work at the company?
- How many Columbia alumni work at the company?
- What different departments exist at the organization?
- Where are their headquarters, and do they have any other locations?
- How many clients do they have?
- Financial details: If they are a startup, what is their latest round of funding? If they are a public for-profit company, what do their latest earnings reports look like?
The larger context and landscape: Industry trends
It’s also critical to understand your role and the industry as a whole when considering the company you may be working for. You can use resources such as the Vault Guides to learn more about specific industries and the roles within them. O*Net will help you learn about job responsibilities, necessary academic backgrounds, and certifications for jobs, and even hiring trends and salary information for occupations.
Ask yourself the following questions about your target industry:
- Is it a growing field or is growth slowing in the industry?
- Are jobs readily available in many locations or only in specific areas (i.e. urban areas or rural areas, domestic or international)?
- What are common career paths within the industry? Do individuals typically stay in the same role or move into several different positions during their career?
You’re not done after you receive an Offer: Preparing for the experience
If you’ve received an offer and you’re preparing for that first week, congratulations! It’s just as important to dig a little further in your research to make sure your first days at the company go especially well. You’ll want to create a checklist of all the things you need to know to make a smooth transition. We highly recommend reaching out to your future supervisor or another contact at the organization if you don’t already feel confident about your expectations, responsibilities, or details of the experience.
Check in with your supervisor to ensure you know the answer to:
- What is the typical work schedule like?
- What’s the dress code of the organization?
- What recurring weekly meetings take place within the team?
- What have past individuals in this position accomplished in the role? What are they working on now?
No matter if you’re a research pro or just beginning your LinkedIn creep, we recommend scheduling a 30-minute appointment with a career counselor in LionSHARE if you are starting to research your organizations of interest.