You know you can use the Internet to look for a job and to network to find one, but here are other ways you can do your own research to better position you to be hired.
Research the Company
Everyone says it, but I still hear back from hiring managers all the time about candidate’s lack of knowledge and preparation for an interview. The more you know about the company you’re interviewing with, the more you’ll impress hiring managers. Your preparation could be the determining factor between continuing in the process or being lead out of the interview quickly. A simple search online should net you plenty of information – but you should dig deeper. You can use sites like Glassdoor.com to read reviews about certain companies. Searching LinkedIn’s company tool can give you insight into movement in the company, recent news, new hires/departures, etc. And of course, the company website you should have read thoroughly including the company’s mission statement and values if posted.
Use this findings of your research to build a list of key questions you want to learn more about in the interview. It will show the hiring manager that 1. you did your research and 2. you are genuinely interested in learning more and making an educated decision in your next career move.
Research Key Decision Makers at Your Target Companies
Want to work in the marketing department? Find out who’s running it. Then start networking with that person online long before you apply for a position.
Connect with that person on LinkedIn. You don’t want to abuse that connection by being pushy about a job, but later when you apply for a job, you can reference the connection.
Find a common thread in her history. Maybe you both graduated from the same school. Any sort of personal details you can glean from Facebook or LinkedIn profiles, the more conversation you can start in an interview. If, for example, you see that a hiring manager is from a city in Europe where you studied, you can bet she will be surprised if you mention the fact in a cover letter or interview. You’re sure to stand out!
Find Job Openings Directly
Sometimes companies only post jobs on their own websites rather than on more popular job boards. Sometimes companies never get around to actually posting a job opening. Search Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn updates to find a potential opening directly. On Twitter, you can also run these types of searches in Tweetdeck or simply subscribe to the search via RSS. You can also run searches (try PR Manager hiring or whatever keywords you think someone might put in a conversational update about an open position) on LinkedIn using their Signal product to monitor what people on the platform are posting. Do the same on Facebook and look at the results in “posts from friends” and “public updates.”
Make a list of the companies you’d like to work for, and regularly check for updates on their Jobs page. You should also follow those companies on LinkedIn and if you see the current PR Manager left the company, it could indicate a new opening to inquire about promptly.
Find Out What You’re Worth
Internet helps you do research on salaries. Tools like Salary.com or Glassdoor.com can tell you the range of what you can earn in a particular profession in your geographical market.
Once you’re offered a position, you can use the research to negotiate an appropriate salary. Take your experience and location into consideration, as they may put you above or below the range you find on these sites. I find that some of the general salary sites offer very wide ranges and don’t take into account certain industry factors, but it should give you a general sense.
Improve Your Hireability
Stay on top of industry trends through blogs and niche websites so that when you interview you won’t be caught off guard if you’re asked about a current event you haven’t even heard of. Skim the headlines before an interview so you are up to speed on any breaking news. Following some key industry new sources in a RSS feed or on Twitter is a good way to keep up-to-date.