Target Your Search
Target Your Search
- Explore your career options – identify some target areas
- Take some time exploring the opportunities available (advertised jobs) and those that interest you
- Determine what organizations/people you want to contact (unadvertised jobs)
- Learn something about the places you plan to apply to
Researching Companies and Opportunities -- The Value of Knowledge
"Knowledge is power". This statement is as true in the job search arena as it is in any field. The more you know about the companies you are applying to, the better you will be able to:
- recognize opportunities for your skills without having to rely on posted positions
- identify a short list of employers you would like to work for, so that you can target your networking activities towards them
- understand the process for applying for positions (both the official and unofficial procedures)
- identify the key decision makers you will want to talk to
- draft a cover letter that shows how your specific skills can meet the needs of the employer
- compose a résumé that utilizes key industry terminology, and highlights the appropriate combination of skills, experience and personal attributes
- prepare for the types of questions you are likely to be asked in an interview
- draft insightful questions to ask the interviewer, showing that you have done your research and are somewhat knowledgeable about what the company does, how it operates, and what kind of employees they need
The kinds of information you will want to research include:
- A list of the significant employers for the type of work you are seeking
- Company names, addresses, phone numbers and email contacts
- The nature of their primary business, their relative size (number of employees), and primary markets
- The range of job opportunities within the company
- The company's prospects - are they growing, declining or stable?
- Economic, social, or political trends likely to be impacting on the company now or in the future
- The current challenges facing the company (eg. Are they going through restructuring, are they experiencing rapid and unplanned growth, or are they dealing with the effects of new government legislation or regulation?)
- The key decision makers and the company's hiring procedure
- The company's "culture" - is it a relaxed collegial atmosphere or a high-pressured competitive environment?
- The managerial style
- Typical salary structures within the organization and especially for entry-level positions
- Opportunities for advancement or "career pathing" within the organization
Sources of Information
- Company websites that have financial reports and promotional info, "About Us" sections, contact info
- Local sources of news, as well as Canadian and global
- Online articles, economic news, news relating to your area of interest, and product news
- Telephone directories: yellow pages, both local and other areas that interest you
- Alumni newsletters
- Newsletters in your field of interest
- Special interest magazines
- Online or hard copy directories can be obtained from the Chamber of Commerce or libraries
- Third parties: anyone and everyone you know that is connected in some way to your area of interest
The Links page has a listing of business directories.
A third party can give you many inside tips on the type of person the employer is looking for along with helpful company information. A third party may be able to direct your résumé to the highest possible level of the decision tree.
- Talking to someone you know who works at a company where you might like to be employed
- Contacting someone within a company to conduct an informational interview
Social networking can be an important strategy to add to your work search. Sites such as Linked In, Facebook and Twitter can be used to:
- expand your network of contacts
- research companies or organizations you want to work for
- join industry or career specific groups and discussions
- find job postings – organizations are increasingly using these media to post jobs so that they can reach a larger audience quickly at minimal cost
You may want to join a professional social networking group such as Linked In where you can post a career-oriented profile, and work on networking skills by connecting with others through alumni or industry groups. Jobs, company profiles, and industry associations are also posted on Linked In.
Tips on building a profile on LinkedIn:
- Fill out a profile with a professional photo of you alone
- Write a headline with your area of study and/or career goals
- Write a summary that includes the kind of work you are looking for
- Include volunteer and extra-curricular activities as well as course related experience such as a practicum, fieldwork, placement, reading course etc.
- Request recommendations from supervisors, professors, teaching assistants, volunteer supervisors
Adapted from: “LinkedIn on Campus” Webinar – Moderator: Lindsey Pollak
While primarily a site for social networking, some companies and individuals do use the site for career-related purposes. Some companies may have very active profiles to inform graduates about their organization or link them with recent hires.
There isn't always a clear line between career and social networking, so keep in mind that some people may prefer not to be approached for work-related networking on Facebook. On Facebook you could:
- join groups & discussion boards in “Businesses & Organizations”
- find reputable industry -specific job groups such as PR Job Watch
- post resume-like information in “Information “
- link to articles, web sites and media content that demonstrate some of your interests and knowledge
- introduce yourself to people, for example, in a career/company you are interested in
The microblogging site can allow you to follow companies that interest you. As well, you might want to follow industry or professional organizations and job boards for new postings and career-related news.
- create a profile that highlights your skills
- link to a site with more information about you than you can post on Twitter– such as a web site, blog, or profile on LinkedIn.
Source: How to find a Job on Linked In, Facebook, Twitter and My Space and other Social Networks. Brad and Debra Schepp
Tip: If the web site has a job alert, set it up to get notifications of new postings.
Caution! Be aware of your on-line presence!
Make sure that you consider your on-line presence before you start a focused search for work. Assume that some employers will research you on social media sites - adjust your privacy settings accordingly and consider the impression your profile is making.
See Digital Tattoo for more information about the digital imprint that you are leaving behind when you use the Internet.