Career and Leadership Development

Researching Careers & Employers

Research should be done at various points throughout the job search process. Research helps you to be more knowledgeable about your intended industry and potential employers.

There are two major areas of research in the job search: Careers and Employers.

Career Research

Researching potential careers helps inform you about the options available to you upon graduation. As a starting point, here are some questions to answer in your research:

  • What are some career options for my major?
  • What skills can I gain from my major?
  • What skills are necessary for different career options?
  • What job responsibilities and duties are employers advertising for jobs in my areas of interest?
  • What education and training are needed for my career path?
  • What is the average salary range for entry-level positions in my career path?

Resources for Career Research

Start your career research online. As you narrow down careers of interest, conduct in-person research through Informational Interviews. In an informational interview, you are not interviewing for a job, but interviewing a professional about his/her job. Informational interviews help you learn more about a career field and network at the same time.

Employer Research

Researching employers can be helpful as you figure out the kind of organization you want to work for. It also help you write targeted cover letters and resumes, prepare for interviews, and make an informed decision when accepting or declining a job offer. Showcasing your knowledge of the employer can indicate that you are truly interested in the organization and that you really want to work there.

To get started, answer the following questions in the course of your research:

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 for Employer Research

A natural starting point for your research is the organization’s website. Broaden your research using the resources below. Also take advantage of LinkedIn, which provides good information on mid-size to larger companies.

UW-Whitewater Resources

General

Business

Nonprofit

Education