A Job Search Begins With Research

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In the Information Age, what you don't know can hurt you, and this is especially true when conducting a job search. Trade magazines, company Web sites and newsletters, and annual reports can greatly enhance your job search, and there are other more creative ways to learn about hiring and industry trends. Here are some ways you can take that information and make it work for you during your search.

Information, Please
Reliable ways of getting information include subscribing to trade magazines, reading company newsletters, and studying their Web sites for new developments. This gives you a good foundation that helps when you are networking with other professionals and especially during job interviews. Public and university libraries are great resources for newspapers and trade and consumer magazines. If you are having trouble finding information, Reference Librarians can point you to additional resources. In addition, your local Chamber of Commerce can lead you to many small businesses in your area.

Beyond Facts and Figures
Studying marketing materials gives you a good window into an organization's philosophies and business culture. "When you research organizations, it's good to go at it with a critical mind," points out career counselor Steve Payne. "Get beyond the facts and figures, or what I call the annual report phase. Develop your own opinions about business trends and a prospective employer's role in an industry." In other words, take more than a cursory look at a company. Dig deep and familiarize yourself with how it has positioned itself against its competitors and what it does to set itself apart. Be prepared to discuss your findings with those who can further your career.

Keeping Current
Change is a matter of fact in today's business community and keeping pace with the latest trends helps get you in the door. "I recently had an interview where the applicant was aware that our President had just been selected to serve on a prestigious board," says Todd Muhlman, a Hiring Manager in the Telecommunications industry. "When I asked where she'd heard about it, she named the trade magazine and we discussed how the publication covered our industry. I disagreed with some of her ideas, but I was still impressed enough to offer her the position."

Get Outside the Box
Don't hesitate to get outside the box when you are trying to make inroads in an industry. An effective research tool is interviewing people in the field and encouraging others to join in a counterpoint dialogue. Attending events like lectures and panel discussions gives you a great chance to network and ask questions face to face. Message boards and blogs are largely untapped resources for asking questions and finding out more about an industry. The more you know and are prepared to discuss, the brighter you will shine in higher pressure situations like interviews.

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