Researching Your Marketplace
December 4, 2009
Share
Bob Maher, CMF
Bob Maher, CMF
Career Management Consultant, Maher Associates
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. 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.

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 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 perhaps most common, is when you are just starting a specific job-search and looking to identify 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.

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.

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.
________________________________________

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.

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...













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 levels of research mentioned earlier...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.

As you know well, WHERE TO GO for reliable research is an ever-evolving, huge topic. As a place to start, please visit my website at www.careerpilot.com/MAPS/Research-WHERE