By Alex Sloane
Researching a company is one of the first steps to creating a tailored job application, but it can be difficult to know where to start.
If you rush into research without a plan it can make it more stressful and you may end up looking something like this:
It is especially difficult when you have a strict deadline. Even if applications are due tomorrow, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have time to research (and let’s be honest, most students have quite a bit of experience in doing things at the last minute).
To help you avoid getting overwhelmed, or simply not researching at all, here is a quick list of the three key things you should look for:
One of the most important attributes recruiters look for in applicants is something called ‘cultural fit’. In the 2017 Employer survey by AAGE, almost 75% of companies surveyed ranked cultural fit as a ‘very important’ attribute for candidates. Cultural fit relates to the values the company has and how candidates fit and demonstrate those values.
This information is almost always easily available on the company website. Vision statements and Mission statements often include the company’s corporate values. Make note of the values the company has and consider what you have done that demonstrates that you share those values.
If the company has values that you do not agree with then that is a good indication that perhaps it is not a good fit for you
2. Key products or services
Understanding what the company does is another pointed that is rated as highly important. Over 50% of employers surveyed by AAGE stated that candidates lacked understanding of their organisation. By researching the products and services provided by the company, you will strengthen your application and make yourself a more attractive candidate.
Key services and products are also usually easy to find on a company website. Make a list of the services or products the company provides and the future direction of the company or industry. This will help you be more specific in a cover letter and will make it easier to prepare for the interview stage.
3. Recent news
It is always a good idea to take a look at the recent news about the company you are thinking of working for. Not only does this make sure that you are aware of any recent important achievements of the company, it can also help you decide if the company is a place where you want to work. If the company has been recently involved in a scandal, such as unethical business practices, this would be easily accessible information, but it would probably not be advertised on the company’s own website.
Snooping on the social media accounts of the company can help you learn about very recent achievements and also give you a feel of what the company is like. It can also give you an idea of how customers or the general public respond to the company.
If the company website does not have a search function or is difficult to navigate, search within the website on google. Here is an example:
And remember: It doesn’t matter how much time you have before an application is due, there will be time to research the company.
(AAGE statistics source: Australian Association of Graduate Employers (2016), 2017 AAGE Employer Survey, page 53).
Featured image courtesy of Pexels.