4 tips for researching a prospective employer

You just got off the phone with the manager of a local company, and you have a job interview set up for next week. Although you are excited about the possibility of full-time employment and steady income, you realize you’re not completely sure what the company does, who owns the business, and who their clients are.

As international recruiting firm, MRI Network notes, it’s definitely time to channel your inner Nancy Drew (or Hardy Boys) and do some detective work to find out more about your prospective employer. 

In addition to giving you a competitive edge by helping you competently answer questions during the interview like, “Why do you want to work for us?”, and "Tell me what you know about XYZ Corp.", researching a company ahead of time will help you evaluate any job offers that might be coming your way.

With this in mind, the following four tips can help you perform a thorough background check on the company:

Check out the company website

Since most businesses use their websites as a way to generate business, they are often chock-full of useful information about the company and what they do. 

Before you head to your interview, spend time on the company site reading about what services and products they offer, as well as browsing through any news articles and press releases that are posted to the company site. 

Many sites include “About Us” and/or “Meet the Staff” sections that feature biographies and photos of employees; this is a great way to familiarize yourself with the staff and maybe even get to know a bit about your interviewer ahead of time. 

Company websites may also have pages filled with helpful information for potential employees; for example, for people who are interested in working at LifeLock, the site lists the employee perks, current job openings and other great info.

Check out their social media pages

As HCareers notes, you should also check out the company’s LinkedIn page, which may give you more information about the key players in the business as well as their backgrounds. Knowing ahead of time where the managers worked may help you decide if you will get along well and will be a good fit at the company. Also, spend some time on the company’s Facebook page as well as any other social media sites; on Facebook you can read comments from customers as well as the company’s replies to them, and see what types of posts the employees make.

Check out Glassdoor.com

Since the company’s website and its social media pages will be controlled by the management and employees, the information may be overwhelmingly (unnaturally) positive. To get a more balanced view, spend time visiting review sites that offer more unbiased reviews. Glassdoor.com is a website that features more than 6 million company reviews, salary reports, CEO approval ratings, and much more. All of the information on the site is shared by employees or recent interviewees of the companies, which means you can get a great inside look at your potential employer by spending time researching the business on this site.

Check out Google

Another great way to learn more about a company is to simply visit Google and search for its name. This will probably bring up results like customer reviews and/or complaints, articles about the business, and other helpful information. The firm’s Better Business Bureau rating might also appear, which will provide you with valuable information about any customer complaints and how the company was able to handle them.

In conclusion, if you want to impress the hiring company, do your homework! Doing so can definitely help you ... Get a Job! -- Kathy

Guest post by SocialMonsters.org

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Using LinkedIn to research companies

Keywords in your LinkedIn Summary are a MUST – learn why!

I recently learned what a tremendous (some would say unfair) advantage a LinkedIn premium account can provide for job seekers.   

One big reason that the Job Seeker Premium account is so advantageous is because it will reveal to job seekers the EXACT key words the job posters are seeking for their jobs. In addition, the system will tell you if you score high for the position (or not) so that you can adjust your key words in your Summary section and immediately show up as a more qualified candidate. 

In fact, if you score exceptionally high, LinkedIn will include you in the list of the very top candidates that it sends to the job poster as a perk of its job-posting package.  

Here’s what I mean and what you can do about it: When you select a particular job opening on LinkedIn as a Job Seeker Premium account holder, the system will tell you how you score for the position. This score is based in large part on the exact keywords that are listed in your Summary section.

With a LinkedIn Job Seeker Premium Account, you can see how you rank for a position and then click "Get more insights" to learn which keywords to add to your Summary to better match the opening.

In this example, the job seeker would score higher if he/she added the words Account Management and Email Marketing to their LinkedIn Summary.

While each job posting may have different keywords, similar position postings often list many of the same keywords. Add the right keywords and voila! You will immediately score higher for the jobs that you want on LinkedIn.

Of course there are other elements that factor into your score, but the keywords in the Summary section are extremely important. The other elements that determine your score include:

  • Seniority (Have you listed similar jobs at the right seniority level in the Experience section of your profile?)
  •  Network size at the company (Do you have more or fewer people in your network – 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections at the hiring company -- than the other people who have applied for the job?)
  • Education (Do you have the right degree for the job?)

By knowing the right keywords, you can (honestly) update your profile to include the exact keywords that are relevant to your background. I suggest including the keywords and other proof of qualification on your LinkedIn profile in the following ways:

1) Include as many relevant keywords as you can in the 2,000-character Summary section. I suggest doing so in an alphabetized Specialties or Strengths list like this:

Example of alphabetized keywords for a sales training manager position

2)      Copy/paste the same keywords into your Interests section (the repetition in multiple places on your profile will help you show up higher when employers search for someone like you).

3)      Add up to 50 of your specialties into your Skills & Expertise section and seek to get several endorsements for each of your skills.

4)      Include your keywords when describing your job duties in your Experience section. For example: “Used Microsoft Office Suite to create PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets and Microsoft Word documents.”

In addition to your LinkedIn profile, add keywords into your resume and application form submissions. Application tracking systems (online application systems) score your submissions in much the same way that LinkedIn does with your profile. If you don’t use the right keywords, YOU WILL NOT SCORE WELL for jobs.


Want to know your keywords?

I can provide you with an alphabetized list of the exact keywords to list in your LinkedIn Summary section based upon the jobs that you want for just $29.95 prepaid, payable via the "Buy Now button. 

To complete the search, I will send you an email asking for up to 5 job titles for the types of jobs that you want. For example, for a Financial Analyst, you may want me to search for just Financial Analyst jobs, or you may want me to search for keywords for 1) Financial Analyst, 2) Cost Accountant, 3) Accountant, 4) CFO, and 5) Business Analyst. 

I will research the keywords commonly used on dozens of relevant LinkedIn job postings and compile them all into a list for you so you can easily copy and paste them into your LinkedIn Summary. You will, of course, want to review the list before placing it into your Summary to remove keywords that do not fit your particular background. Allow one week for completion of your keyword list.

Use exact keywords on LinkedIn! Doing so can help you Get a Job!


Register now for my upcoming free webinars (if you can’t attend at the scheduled time, register anyway; we’ll send you the slides and recording).

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If you have a LinkedIn profile, but it's not helping you land a job, this workshop is for you!

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Online Webinar - English Language - Free to Attend
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Can't attend? Register anyway! We will send you the slides, recording and Take Action Guide.

In just 60 minutes, you will learn how to ...

  • Precisely word your LinkedIn headline to attract hiring companies
  • Show up as high as possible in search results
  • Be found by hiring companies and recruiters
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  • Take advantage of all LinkedIn's free tools and resources

You CAN use LinkedIn to find, engage and attract employers! Learn how in this free workshop designed to help you Get a Job! by making the most of your LinkedIn profile and presence.

Thank you, Kathy. You are simply a LinkedIn Guru. -- Ramneet, Danbury, CT 

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If a hiring company doesn’t know you and hasn't seen your work, they don’t know why you are perfect for their position. You have to SHOW and TELL them why you are the best candidate for their job opening!
SHOW and TELL that You Are the Best Job Candidate
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Can't attend? Register anyway! We will send you the slides and recording.

In this webinar, you will learn how to …

  • SHOW hiring companies your unique abilities through samples, presentations and other creative means (including many breakthrough ideas submitted by job seekers and recent hires)
  • TELL them your qualifications through smart online application, resume and cover letter strategies; and by preparing influential people to tell your story on your behalf.

No matter what your field, you can stand out by learning to SHOW and TELL why you're the best!

I listen to your webinar recordings all the time and I can always rely on you to teach me something new, give us another way to approach a situation or relate how someone else got the job. -- Penny, New York City


Register now for even more free webinars led by Kathy Bernard of Getajobtips.com:

About your webinar presenter

Kathy Bernard, creator of Getajobtips.com, is a career communicator and coach, resume and LinkedIn profile expert and webinar/workshop speaker based in St. Louis, Mo. She has always been tenaciously good at finding work and enthusiastically willing to share her tips because she wants to help you ... Get a Job!

How to set up a resume that gets results

Want to create a resume that GETS RESULTSFollow these specific steps to transform your resume. Pay close attention, each one of these tips are golden

Most recruiters prefer a chronological resume where you list job duties immediately underneath the related job title (as shown), instead of putting all of your duties/accomplishments under categories like "Sales" (aka functional or capabilities resume).
To find and add your LinkedIn address (URL) to your resume, log into LinkedIn, click your Profile page and copy the web address beneath your photo. It will look something like mine: www.linkedin.com/in/kathybernardcommunicator/ -- Feel free to invite me to connect on LinkedIn there. I'm the Kathy Bernard in St. Louis.

Add your education near the end of your resume unless you graduated recently.

Take extra care to camouflage having had too many jobs or too big of a gap in between positions. 

Redo your resume to get results! Doing so can help you ... Get a Job! -- Kathy

What question or comment do you have about creating resumes? Share your thoughts!

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