Start with a list of 25 employers to research that align with your goals and interests that you have identified. Consider a variety of industries in the beginning to help identify the array of potential entry points and to help understand a variety of options for earning income.
Resources for Company Research
If you're looking for resources to help you research potential employers, there are a variety of tools at your disposal. These resources can help you identify job openings, individual contacts within companies, and potential networking opportunities. Here are some of the most useful resources:
- Aggienetwork.com: This website provides a searchable directory of over 450,000 former Texas A&M University students, making it easy to connect with alumni in your field.
- CareerShift: Located on the HireAggies platform, CareerShift provides a searchable database with links to search by product, service, and industry. It also provides company overviews, a direct link to the organization's website, and a link to search for company and industry contacts. You can even search by keywords in job titles!
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn provides multiple mechanisms for identifying industries, companies, and their contacts. Join the Aggie Network group, which includes over 56,000 Aggies who have joined the group specifically to network with other Aggies. Use LinkedIn to search by Texas A&M University to identify over 450,000 Aggies using LinkedIn. Profile information is organized under five categories: Where They Live, Where They Work, What They Do, What They Studied, and What They are Skilled At. A keyword search tool can help you locate Aggies by keywords in their career profiles.
- EDGAR database: To research publicly traded companies in the United States, you can access the EDGAR database using SEC.gov. Their 10-K reports are annual reports for publicly traded companies that often provide insights into a company's products, services, operating units, and business strategies. Consider printing the cover and business section for resource notes during interviews.
- GoinGlobal: If you're interested in working internationally, consider using GoinGlobal on the HireAggies platform. This resource also identifies companies that use H1B visas to secure international talent.
- Company website: Be sure to visit the company's website to learn more about their mission, values, and products/services.
- Social media: Check out the company's social media pages to see what they're posting and how they're engaging with their audience.
- Recruiting packages: Some companies provide recruiting packages for prospects, so be sure to check to see if this is an option.
In addition to these resources, it's important to stay up-to-date on the broader spectrum of issues facing business and our economy. Routinely check resources like the Wall Street Journal, Employer's Business Daily (Investors.com), or Yahoo Business News Headlines. You'll be well served by developing a deeper understanding of both conservative and progressive perspectives on the issues and key stories so that you can make informed decisions. Google News provides news of mergers, acquisitions, and legal developments, while Yahoo Finance provides a quick market overview of company stock performance.
Researching a Specific Organization
The hiring decision will be based, in large part, on the hiring manager’s perception of how well you prepared for the interview. Preparing for a job interview involves conducting thorough research on the organization, its mission, culture, products or services, and strategic goals. Demonstrating a deep understanding of the company indicates your interest in the job and commitment to perform well in the role.
Remember, you will represent the organization when interacting with colleagues, customers, and stakeholders. Therefore, your preparation serves as an indicator of your dedication to anticipate needs, solve problems, and understand customers' expectations.
To prepare effectively, you should gather information from various sources, including the company website, social media outlets, news articles, and financial statements. Consider the following questions to guide your research and help you compete effectively for the job opportunity:
- What is the company's history, core values, mission and how has it evolved to where it is today?
- What are the company's strategic goals and how do they align with your skills and experience?
- What products or services does the company offer, and how do they compare to competitors in the marketplace?
- What training programs are offered to employees, and how can they help you grow professionally?
- What is the company culture like, and how do they support their employees' well-being?
- Are there any recent projects, new products, or initiatives that you can learn about?
- What challenges has the company faced in the past, and how have they addressed them?
- Have there been any recent employee layoffs, lawsuits, or merger discussions that may impact the company?
- Have there been any major awards or recognition that the company has received?
- Who are the company's key managers, and what are their backgrounds and experience?
- Can you find contact information for the people you are hoping to meet during the interview process?
- What are the company's financial statements like, and how do they perform in the market?
As you conduct research, take notes and formulate 8-10 questions based on what you have learned. Asking thoughtful questions during the interview demonstrates your interest in the company and can provide valuable insights into the role and company culture. Remember, employers often ask if you have any questions at the end of an interview, so be prepared with well-researched inquiries.
Connecting with Companies & Contacts
- Submitting Your Resume: Organizations have established portals to formally receive resumes. Make sure you follow their rules and submit a broader, industry-based resume during this initial submission.
- Resume Screening Process: Resume screeners will spend between 10 to 30 seconds to skim resumes, usually looking for keyword matches. Resumes with errors or generic resumes not aligned with their industry are usually eliminated. Avoid using a one size fits all resume.
- The Hidden Job Market: Many managers have learned to streamline their hiring process by not posting a job listing. Instead, they encourage team members and peers to refer prospects that show potential. This approach saves time, expense and yields better hires.
- Informational Interviews: Seek out experts within the target industry or company and ask for informational interviews to confirm what you are learning during your research. This deliberate networking approach provides an insider’s perspective and helps deliver a resume that will verify what a manager has heard about you.
- Asking for Advice: Asking others for advice and assistance, focused upon the employer’s needs, is a key to success with the entire job search process. It is your responsibility to connect with the person that has the ability and authority to hire you.
By following these steps, you can navigate the job search process more effectively and increase your chances of landing the job you want.