‘READY… Aim… fire’ is only as good as knowing what you have to offer (your positioning) and knowing which organizations could use a person like you (target organizations). BOTH items are enhanced with a little PRO-Active PLANNING. One of the most important skills a job-seeker can learn during a job-search is research skills. The quality of your research skills will dramatically impact both short term job search and longer range career continuity. Information is a critical commodity in job-hunting; the more you know and the easier it is for you to find information, the better your chances of success.
THIS Week’s Session, Thursday, August 1st… Your Personal Marketing PLAN
So, make the commitment to improve your research skills. In fact, hold yourself accountable to research time each and every week. Employers value job-seekers who know key information about the company because that knowledge demonstrates your interest and enthusiasm for the company and for the job.
Finding information on a company’s competitors, company financial stresses and major lawsuits can counterbalance the positive information portrayed by the company’s own website, the most positive view of available information…
WHEN to Do Research
If attaining and maintaining career continuity is your realistic goal, you’ll find four specific times during which researched information will be important to you… First and foremost should be your commitment to knowing your marketplace for the rest of your career. This FIRST LEVEL RESEARCH implies setting aside a reasonable amount of time on an on-going basis, whether you’re employed or not. Often research leads to “spot media opportunities” that may lead you to your next right work.
Second, and another permutation of First Level Research, is when you are just starting a specific job-search and looking to identify attractive trends or key companies in your profession or industry, or even in a specific geographic location. I have always found this single factor to be the most under-utilized way to prepare for an effective job search. This is perhaps the most common use of first level research.
The third possibility is when you are applying to a specific employer; it’s always best to relate yourself to the company and tailor your cover letter and resume to each employer. This SECOND LEVEL RESEARCH probes deeper for specific info.
The fourth — and when most job-seekers finally do some research — is when you have been invited to a job interview; you’ll want to showcase your knowledge of the company and the people interviewing you. This THIRD LEVEL RESEARCH probes still deeper and extends the breadth of your knowledge.
WHAT Information Fits Your Offer Criteria…
You are usually seeking two sets of information. The first set of information deals with general company information. The types of information you might gather here include: products and services, history and corporate culture, organizational mission and goals, key financial statistics, organizational structure (divisions, subsidiaries, etc.), and locations.
Of course, you may also research the industry, key competitors, and countries where any specific, targeted, companies have offices.
The second set of information deals with personal and employment issues, and includes such things as career paths and advancement opportunities, benefits, diversity initiatives, and other human resources functions.
The sooner you get started, the better off you’ll be.
Remember, both objective (factual) and subjective (word-of-mouth, opinions) information can be of value. The following “OFFER CRITERIA MATRIX” will help you keep this all straight…
|Information Desired||Location||Industry||Business Climate||Company SIZE||Mgt Philosophy|
You can analyze as many columns of information as is important to your definition of next right work. The Matrix will serve you well in all three levels of research mentioned previously… and when completely “filled in” can put the objectivity back in to the emotional process of accepting your next position, or taking the next step.