Do Your Research

 
 

Why it Matters

 
Educate yourself about the companies you identified as being of particular interest.

In the initial stages, when deciding where to apply, your main focus should be to determine whether a company is a good fit for your personality and ambitions. Find out about the business, industry environment and corporate culture; consider suitable roles and future prospects.

Once you have decided where to apply, thorough research will pay off, by giving you a real insight into the company and strengthening your chances throughout the application process:
 

Find a hook for your cover letter / speculative application

 

Tailor your CV and application

Show why you are interested in their company/job/scheme.

Understand what employers are looking for, so you can convince them that you are the ideal candidate.

 

Perform better in interviews

Demonstrate your enthusiasm and knowledge.

Ask pertinent questions.

 

 
 
 

What to Research

 

The Employer

What business are they in – products/services?
What is their ‘mission statement?’
Look at the company website – ‘About Us’ section.

 

In which markets and locations do they operate?
Who are their major clients and competitors?

 

Current performance and reasons behind this – Are they expanding via new markets/products/acquisitions, or downsizing/consolidating their business?

 

What about the financial health of the business? Check the summary in the annual company report.

 

Future opportunities or threats? Think about the environment they operate in e.g. is it a growth industry/highly regulated/fast-developing/reliant on technological advancements/influenced by global issues?
Be aware of any news or business developments (environmental, political, economic, global or competitive) that might affect the company.

 

Corporate culture – Understand the core values and ‘personality’ of the organisation.
Why do you feel you would fit in?
How are they perceived by the outside world? What is their online reputation?

 

Type of organisation – have an idea of its size, structure, global/regional locations and basic history.
Ownership – Is it a public company, family run, funded through venture capital or a start up business?
 
 

The Job/Graduate Scheme

What is the employer looking for, in terms of specific and general skills, qualifications, experience and personal attributes?

 

What does the work involve?

What training would you receive?

What is the likely career progression?

Get an idea of the typical starting salary and compensation package for your chosen industry/region.
 
See Career Direction & Salary for more info
 
 
 

Where to Research Information about the Job & Employer

 

The Job/Graduate Scheme

Refer to the relevant company website or job advert for specific requirements.
Also look at other adverts for similar roles, to build up a picture of what employers typically look for.
 
Career Player
Explore careers through videos, to get a feel for what the job and industry is really like
 
Types Of Jobs – Prospects
Profiles on hundreds of graduate jobs: includes job description, salary, entry requirements, training, career development and related jobs
 
Employer Hubs – Target Jobs
Graduate vacancies, internships & work experience.
Profiles of individual employers, including info about their recruitment process, what they look for & tips on how to get hired
 
Company Information

Website – About Us section. Also look for newsworthy developments

Annual company reports and literature

Blogs give an insight into company expertise, attitudes and corporate culture
Man Reading Newspaper
 

Financial & Business News & Views

Read the business sections of newspapers, online news, trade publications and company reports.
 
BBC Business News
 
Financial Times
 
Bloomberg Business
News, insight, videos and financial markets
 
The Economist – Business & Finance
 
City A.M.
News & opinion
 
Google News
Search relevant sections – business, technology, health etc.
 
 
Check YouTube, podcasts and talks for relevant topics:
 
Ted Talks
2000+ talks on hundreds of topics
Useful for research and pure entertainment!
 
HBR IdeaCasts
From the Harvard Business Review – short weekly podcasts featuring leading business thinkers (generally 10-20 mins). Subscribe to the Podcast channel, or search downloaded episodes (Online, App or iTunes).
 
BBC Podcasts
 
 

Social Media

See our Social Media section – Find Out & Connect
 
LinkedIn Company search
 
Twitter
 
Facebook
 
Blogs – Particularly useful for getting a feel for attitudes, culture and current marketing campaigns.
 
 

Network Contacts

See Networking

Current and former employees: Contact them via your university careers service & alumni, LinkedIn, or your personal network.

Other people associated with the organisation e.g. clients, agencies etc.
 
 

Insider Info

Anonymous employee-generated content, offering an inside view of jobs and companies
 
Glassdoor
Reviews by employees – pros, cons & advice to management
Salaries, hiring process & interview questions
Job listings
 
indeed
Employee reviews & job listings (You can upload your CV)
 
 

Observation

If this is feasible e.g. retail and service companies – go to the shops!
You can tell a lot from how they run their business, deal with customers etc.
 
 

Tailor Your Application right arrow