Researching a company is a pretty simple task, and it doesn’t mean you have to come up with a 120-page presentation that would make KPMG proud.
All it means is that you look up the company, find the key names of the people you may be interacting with, identify the company’s mission statement, short-term and long-term goals, and have a firm understanding of your prospective job position’s responsibilities.
And, there are easy ways to do it.
From looking up the job responsibilities on Goodwall Opportunities to searching for the right people to address on LinkedIn to reading relevant pages on the company’s website, all it takes is some basic diligence and minimal effort to knock out this important employment process step.
But, why research a company at all? Can’t you just wing it? Won’t this take a lot of time?
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Here’s why you should research a company before, during, and after applying for a job:
Researching the Company Helps You Before Applying to a Job
1. You’ll Know if the Pay Meets Your Expectations
I’ll start with what seems like one of the more obvious points, but it can be more complicated than how it appears at first glance.
For your payment package, you might just be looking at the yearly amount and seeing it as adequate. But, if you are fresh out of college and this is one of your first jobs, it’s important to get the full picture before you sign that contract.
Is the salary they offer before or after they take taxes out (gross or net)? Does the payment package come with benefits, such as premium health insurance coverage, paid vacation days (and how many?), and 401(k)-matching? Are there perks like free snacks and coffee, gym memberships, or public transportation costs covered? These things all add up, so it’s best to understand the full value of a company’s pay package before you accept or decline an offer!
2. It Helps You Understand if the Job & Company Are Right for You
The pay you can work on, to an extent, through salary negotiations. However, what you can’t really change is the job you’ll be tasked with doing and the company culture.
Say you want to be a digital marketer. As you know, the tasks from company to company for a digital marketing position will vary, sometimes greatly. While you may plan large-scale, international advertising campaigns as a digital marketer at Company A, the same job title could see you writing landing page copy and handling social media at Company B. Researching the company and the job fully will help you understand what you’re getting yourself into.
Same goes for the company. You may have found a dream job with excellent pay, perks, and benefits, but is it a company you can get behind? Do they have ethical backbone? If you’re against animal cruelty, for example, you don’t want to find out after you sign up that they perform product testing on rabbits. Likewise, if you’re environmentally conscious, you might think twice if you learn the company you’re thinking of is a major polluter.
Understanding the Company Lets You Apply Successfully
3. It Lets You Better Tailor Your Resume
One of the most important resume tips to remember is to always tailor your resume. What this means is to write a resume specifically for this one job position and company, because no hiring manager appreciates a generic resume.
When you research a company before you apply, you’re able to really tailor your resume to fit exactly who they want in a potential candidate. Since your resume shouldn’t be too long, it’ll help you curate the right skills, list the most relevant achievements, and make the most impactful opening statement at the top of your resume.
4. It Allows You to Personalize Your Cover Letter
Researching a company before writing a cover letter is also one of our most important cover letter tips, as well, for pretty much the same reasons. Your cover letter is made to make your case to the HR rep or hiring manager reviewing the dozens of applications they received, and you’ll have a better idea of what to write about in your cover letter.
For example, by researching the startup or organization before writing your cover letter, you can learn its mission, goals, and drive. Then you can speak how their goals and mission align with your own. Or, if the company has a quirky company culture, you can also show off your quirky side as you write.
5. It Locates the Right Person to Which to Send Your Email
Sending your resume and cover letter to hello@companyA.com or contact@companyB.org looks unprofessional, to say the very least. But, on top of that, it may not even make it to the right person.
When you investigate the company, you’ll easily find the name of the hiring manager or human resources supervisor so you can address the email directly to them. After all, first impressions are lasting impressions, and since this is the first time the company “meets” you, make sure you don’t turn them off from the very start!
Company Research Gets You Successfully Through the Interview Process
6. It Better Prepares You for the Interview
Interviews can be quite scary, no matter how well and long you’ve prepared for them. And those silences, even a three-second pause can seem to stretch for an eternity!
You’ll really impress your interviewer when you can quickly and without missing a beat answer their interview questions on how you can help them achieve their long-term goals and what you think about their current marketing efforts, company culture, and mission. If you hadn’t researched the company beforehand, you’ll lose their interest when they see you can’t answer their questions and couldn’t have been bothered to prepare!
7. It’ll Show Them You’re Excited About Possibly Being Hired
Finally, researching the company shows them that you are enthusiastic at the prospect of being a future employee. They’ll see the effort you’ve put in to prepare for the interview by doing your homework, but they’ll also get the sense that you really are genuinely interested in working for them and doing your best.
All other things being equal, you’ll have the job in the bag!
Well, that’s our guide on why researching a company is important during each and every stage of the employment process, and we hope it helps you on yours! Got any questions, feedback, or other points to add about doing company research during the job search? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!