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Do your research for when you're applying for jobs

Whether you’re drafting an application, CV (curriculum vitae) or covering letter - employers want to hear what you know about them and why you’ve picked them. Research will help you find this information so that you can draw on it in your application; an essential step in attracting the employer to want to know more about you.

Why spend time researching the company, sector and competitors?

Company

  • You may not have all the necessary information on the job advert.
  • You may want to highlight a specific aspect of the company in your application.
  • You may want to learn more about the company ethos, values and projects to see if the company matches your own values.
  • It can showcase and evidence the time and effort you have taken to research the company.
  • Some companies have a dedicated section on their website highlighting advice on recruitment practices and guidance on making an application.

Sector

  • You can develop insight into the sector to help you build a picture of the nature of the role and wider company direction.
  • You can draw attention to your knowledge of the whole sector.

Competitors

  • You can demonstrate how you recognise the challenges and targets for a company.
  • You can showcase in-depth knowledge of the working environment and where the potential role fits in the bigger picture of the environment the company operates in.

What information to look for and where

  • Learn about the culture, ethos, values and future direction on company websites, usually found on the ‘about us’ web page. You can usually find out:

    • when the organisation was founded
    • what services they offer
    • their mission statement
    • company values
    • latest news.
  • Search for the organisation on a search engine too. This can sometimes yield interesting results from industry news stories, comments on internet forums, reports on (or by) competitors and also staff appointment announcements.
  • Look at the employer’s social media channels. Most have a presence on the business networking site LinkedIn, but more and more organisations are utilising other channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, to name but a few. As these different channels can appeal to different audiences using different styles of communication, they can attract a wider set of potential employees.
  • Find company summaries, latest news, new initiatives and company competitors on their LinkedIn pages and other social media sites.

  • Use newspapers both local and national to find labour market information.