Why Doing Research for Your Job Search Is Just Good Business

Air Force veteran Thom Brownell uses a computer to search for a job at the Texas Workforce Solutions office in Dallas.
Air Force veteran Thom Brownell uses a computer to search for a job at the Texas Workforce Solutions office in Dallas, Friday, March 10, 2017. (LM Otero/AP Photo)

When it comes to research, an unimaginable wealth of information is available to you on the internet. It's like having a huge private library in your own home or office.

In fact, one downside of the internet is having too much information. When researching for your job search, it's important to concentrate on a target. By staying focused on the task at hand, you will not stray down a tangential path, only to become lost and confused by information overload.

Finding a New Car; the Process Is Clear

Say you're in the process of buying a car. You're looking for the best buy for your money and will research the market before deciding.

Here are the steps you might take:

  1. Talk to a mechanic to find out which cars are most reliable.
  2. Decide on the type of car -- model, year and price range.
  3. Check the "Kelley Blue Book" for pricing and researched comparable prices.
  4. Read Consumer Reports' car edition.
  5. Visit dealers and conduct test drives.
  6. Have a mechanic check out the car's condition.
  7. Make a reasonable offer, based on the research.

Finding a New Job; Room for Improvement

Let's say you're also looking for a new job. You know you should do some research, but you're not clear about the process. You check the internet and classifieds for job listings. You apply for jobs you are qualified for and wait to hear back.

Many people do a more thorough job of researching major purchases like a new car than they do researching a new job. If you used the same thorough process you used to purchase a car, you might be surprised at the information you would uncover.

Here are some steps you should take:

  • Decide on the Type of Job and Geographic Location
    Lack of focus is one of the biggest mistakes job seekers make; the search is not specific and targeted. Begin with a thorough self-assessment to determine what you really want.
  • Research Your Industry of Interest
    Which industries are trending toward growth? Which are declining? Do some general information gathering online and check the Occupational Outlook Handbook and specific industry associations for future predictions.
  • Target and Research Companies
    Search company websites for mission statements, product and service information, principals' backgrounds and contact information. Check public company financials through the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Network
    Any opportunity to talk to people who are in the know will benefit you. Networking is still the favored source for job research.
  • Check Job Listings
    You can search hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs by industry, occupation and location on Military.com.

Investing time in research will pay off. The more information you have, the better prepared you will be -- not only to answer interview questions intelligently but also to ask poignant questions. Conducting a thorough search of the industry, the company and the outlook will greatly improve your feelings of preparedness and confidence, resulting in a stronger, more positive and lasting impression of you.

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