Why Should I Research Organizations?
Researching organizations is an integral part of your job search process, whether you’re exploring options or preparing for an upcoming event or interview.
When exploring, your research will help you identify career options and organizations that could be a good fit for you.
When preparing for a networking event or interview, your research will help you stand out as a candidate. Here are a few of our recommendations about what to know before you go.
Use research to identify Organizations That Fit What You’re Looking For
In advance of a multi-employer networking event like our Career Fairs or Micro Career Fairs, your research will help you identify which employers you want to meet. We recommend reading through the list of employers who will be attending, with the goal of creating a list of several employers that interest you.
use research to Demonstrate Your Interest and Preparedness to Employers
Your research will help you make a positive impression when you speak with an employer.
When networking, your research about the organization and the person you’re connecting with can help you show why you’re interested in speaking with them. You’ll be able to craft a more tailored outreach message, introduction, and questions, based on your research.
When networking or interviewing for a position, your research will prepare you to clearly articulate why you’re interested in the organization, industry, and specific role. You’ll also be able to demonstrate your preparedness to do the job well. In your interview, you’ll use your research to select which information to share and to identify the questions you want to ask the employer.
What Should I Find Out?
Though your research questions will vary depending on your interests and priorities, these topic areas can give you a sense of where you can start.
What makes this company unique?
- Mission and values
- History of organization
- Leadership of organization
- Key programs, projects, or initiatives
How do I know if the organization fits my priorities and experience? How do I know if there are opportunities that would interest me?
- Size of organization
- Office locations
- Structure and departments
- Typical job titles and roles; professional and educational background of people in those roles
- Recruitment practices
- Workplace culture
What is the organization known for? How does this organization fit in within its industry?
- National and international presence
- Competitors and general landscape of the industry
- Recent company and industry news
Strategies for Researching Organizations
Your research will likely include a mix of online and in-person strategies. Below, we’ve included some resources and strategies that we recommend.
- Insider Info: Our Employer and Alumni Relations team posts exclusive updates from their outreach meetings with companies.
- Firsthand: This website synthesizes in-depth research on companies, careers, and industries. You have access to it for free through our office.
- Industries Page: On this page, we’ve compiled foundational information about industries, including subfields within the industry, how the industry appears on campus, and external job boards and professional associations.
- Events Calendar: Check out our LionSHARE calendar regularly for the latest on Career Fairs, Micro Career Fairs, Employer Information Sessions, and Alumni-Student Networking events.
- LionSHARE: Read company and job descriptions in our internship and job database .
Other Recommended Online Resources
- Company Websites : Check out the Careers, About Us, or Contact Us sections. Also be sure to read the News and Events sections, as you’ll find upcoming activities and recent press releases from organizations.
- Company Social Media: Look for pages/feeds on social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Organziations often share unique information and job postings. Make sure your online presence is professional before you start connecting. LinkedIn is particularly helpful to learn about employees of the company and to find alumni employed there.
- Google News Alerts: Set up a news alert to get updates on an organization or industry.
- Industry-Specific Publications: Learn what’s happening in the industry by following publications in your industries of interest. Examples include: Business Week, Engineering News Record, Nonprofit Times, Poets & Writers, Bloomberg, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Advertising Age, Fortune, Backstage, and Fastcompany.com.
- Industry Lists : In addition to Firsthand, there are other organizations that maintain “top places to work” lists, rankings, and more. These include Glassdoor, Crain’s New York Business, Hoovers, Working Mother, and Forbes. Quintcareers has an extensive list of other ranking resources.
Other Recommended Research Strategies
- Informational Interviewing: An informational interview is a conversation you have with a person in an organization or position that interests you. It is a great way to get nuanced information about an individual’s career path, experience at the company, or advice in breaking into the field. Our tips on how to arrange, conduct, and follow up on an informational interview can get you started.
- Networking Events: In addition to the many events we host, we also recommend checking out events held by student groups, academic departments, and professional associations related to your areas of interest.
Collecting and Tracking Your Research
We always recommend keeping track of your research, to make your exploration and job search easier. Whether in a spreadsheet, document, or journal, having this information in one place will make it easy to refer back to when you’re preparing for applications, networking events, and interviews.