Friday, July 6, 2012

Research Prospective Employers

There are good reasons to research companies:
  • To identify people you might reach out to through your network, if the company is a key industry player;
  • To keep an eye out for jobs you might be interested in (if the company is medium-to-large, likely to have lots of jobs, or if it's a really high priority for you);
  • To write a tailored resume and cover letter when you do apply for a job.
Here's a link with some suggestions on where to look, beyond a simple search-engine plug-in of the organization name.

My response to each resource:
  • ZoomInfo: Unreliable. According to them, I dont' work at Niagara University... I've been there 20 years. The only info on me is for my church; our church address is incorrect. The building has been there for 100 years. I've seen other errors over the years of checking this resource.
  • Google resources: "Alerts" is one of my favorite resources for all kinds of things: events, people, companies. You need a (free) Google account, and you need to check your email; here's the link for the alerts page-- You may have to tweak and fine-tune some of the settings to optimize the results you get. "Finance" isn't something I'm familiar with--but since it comes from news sources, I would tend to trust it.
  • Forbes and Fortune 500 Lists: Interesting idea! If you're starting from scratch with a "where might I like to work" question, this might help you target some larger companies.
  • Public library: Don't overlook print resources, and librarians' ability to access a deeper cut of information than you might be able to find by browsing. A public librarian might actually be more tapped into the kinds of things you need, since a college librarian would prioritize academic resources.
Two bonus factoids:
  • Niagara Univesity students and alumni have a superb resource in our Career Counseling Center--think of these folks as specialized librarians for job-hunters; link here: They also have a bunch of stuff on the shelves for you to browse, and online subscriber-only resources that they can open up for you.
  • Don't trust everything you read on a company's website. IT (Information Technology) professionals are just as overburdened as every other worker out there, what with the "do more with less" mentality employers have had for at least a decade. They do not always show current job titles, correctly-spelled names, delete dead people, etc. Try to fact-check info through at least one non-company website before accepting as true anything you read in a company employee directory.

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