Career and Leadership Development

Research

Research can, and should, be done at different points throughout the job search process.  Research prepares you to be more knowledgeable about your intended industry and potential employers.

Three major areas of research are:
-Career
-Informational Interviewing
-Employer

Career

Researching a potential career is important so you can be more informed about the options available to you after graduation. 

Questions to answer in your research (a starting point)

  • What are career options for your major?
  • What are skills you can gain from your major?
  • What skills are necessary for different career options?
  • What are job responsibilities and duties that employers are advertising for your potential career?  (It is easiest to look at actual job postings or to talk to recruiters to answer this question.)
  • What education and training are needed for your career?

Resources to get you started
UW-Whitewater Career & Leadership Development
University of Tennessee – Knoxville
University of Delaware Career Services
University of North Carolina – Wilmington Career Center

Informational Interviewing

One way to do both research and networking at the same time is to conduct informational interviews with professionals in your chosen field.  People to interview can include professors in your major, alumni of the University, and other professionals in the workforce.

Check out the interviewing section of the Career & Leadership Development website for some tips on getting the informational interview process started.

Employer

Researching employers can be helpful for figuring out the kind of company you want to potentially work for, writing tailored cover letters and resumes, preparing for interviews, and, ultimately, making an informed decision when accepting or declining a job offer.  Knowing information about the employer shows them that you are truly interested in their company and really want to work for them.

Questions to answer in your research (a starting point)
Organization Overview:

  • What does the employer do?
  • What is the size of the organization (number of employees)?
  • What is the organization’s financial position?
  • What is the anticipated growth?
  • How is the organization structured?
  • What is the organization’s mission statement?

Employer Image:

  • What is the organization’s reputation, locally and nationally?
  • What awards/recognition have they received?
  • Who are their competitors?  What is the organization’s relationship to competitors?
  • What associations are they actively involved with?
  • What charitable organizations does the organization support?

People:

  • What are the credentials/qualifications of the top leaders?
  • What is the organization’s culture/work environment like?

Location:

  • Where is the corporate headquarters located?
  • Where are branches, subsidiaries, stores, satellite offices, etc. located?

Professional Development:

  • What types of training programs are offered?
  • What is the typical career path in the field?  How does this organization compare?
  • What benefits are offered?

Resources Available to UW-W students through the Anderson Library
Guides are available through the UW-W Library.  These guides compile resources to focus on specific areas, such as employer research

Career Information/Employer Research Guide

Research on Corporations

  • This guide links you to sources to find information regarding: company directories; advertising expenditures; annual reports, SEC filings, & financials; brands & products; company profiles & histories; competitors; earnings estimates; news & articles; organizational charts; and stock & bond information – current & historical.

Online Resources for Researching
General
Researching Companies Online – Tutorial
College Grad – Employer Information
The Riley Guide – Business & Employer Research

Business
Business.com
Wetfeet – Company Profiles
Vault – Company Research

Education
Grandpa Junior – School Registry
US Department of State – Office of Overseas Schools
National Center on Secondary Education & Transition (NCSET) – Website List
National Center for Education Statistics

Non-Profit
Guide Star
Idealist.org
The Internet Public Library
Give.org

Other Internet Resources

  • Company websites can also provide a wealth of information.
  • LinkedIn provides a wealth of information on mid-size to larger companies.