When you see an opening or job posting for your dream job, odds are you'll jump to apply immediately. However, don't be too hasty. Remember that sending a sloppy application won't get you anywhere. Rather than worry about submitting your application 20 minutes after the position is posted, focus on working to prove you're a quality applicant. One way of showcasing your interest in the job and demonstrating professionalism is by researching the company beforehand. Not only will this allow you to fill out your application with more background knowledge about the company, but also it will help you better determine if you're actually a good fit for the position. In some cases, what may seem like a dream job at first glance may end up not being what you expected after further research. Here are five tips for doing your research before you apply for a position:
1. Look for recent news about the company
Whether you're applying for a job at a major corporation or a local business, odds are there will be recent news regarding the company about which you should be informed. Not only can this possibly be handy when crafting a cover letter, but also can give you some talking points if you are contacted. A common question asked by recruiters is simply, "What do you know about the company?" To be prepared for such an inquiry, up-to-date news is a good way to show you know what's going on with the company lately.
2. Check out their social media
Social media accounts are often platforms for companies to showcase more personality. While a company's website may be rather dry, their Facebook and Twitter profiles might be more creative and engaging. Furthermore, many companies share news and other developments over social media.
3. Read their mission statement
Every business has a mission statement that will tell you about their goals and beliefs. Company culture is often expressed strongly in the mission statement, so this is a good way to help determine if you're the right fit for a specific position.
4. Locate the name of the hiring manager
Most job descriptions include either the name or position of the person to whom you'd be reporting. Rather than address a cover letter to no one in particular, take the time to locate the contact information of the recruiter, hiring manager or person directly above the position to which you are applying. Overall, this will demonstrate your research and help separate your cover letter from the herd. Looking over a company's staff page also can give you insight as to their managerial structure. Moreover, identifying key hiring personnel gives you an opportunity to research them over platforms such as LinkedIn.
5. Google the company
Odds are that when you apply for a position at a company, they'll take the time to put your name through a search engine if they think you could be a good fit. So it stands to reason that you should use the same practice. Whereas news and social media may generally project a positive image of a company, taking the time to Google them may bring to light information that the company may find undesirable. For example, Glassdoor reviews may illuminate dissatisfaction experienced by people previously in the position to which you are applying. Furthermore, this practice might highlight other potential negative reviews and points of concern. On the other hand, Google might list more positive attributes and help identify that the position is in fact your dream job.