How to research an employer

Researching an employer can make the difference between an application or interview that feels generic and re-purposed and allowing you to come across as a prepared and knowledgeable candidate who knows why they want to work in this role and with this employer.

One of our biggest recommendations when submitting job applications and preparing for interviews is to research the employer so that you can tailor your approach and keep in mind their key concerns, values and recruitment criteria. But what can you do to research an employer?

Their webpages – a word of caution

Your first thought to find information about an employer might be to head to their website and this is a great place to get started! They may have information about what they look for in their employees, how they prefer a CV to be structured and some of the projects they’re working on. However, keep in mind that it isn’t just you and other potential employees that are looking at these webpages, it is also potential clients or stakeholders. In this way, many employers will have a marketing front to their webpages that could limit the amount of information you find. As such, you’ll want to broaden your search for information a little. Here are some other ideas:

Make the most of social media

Social media can be a great way to access information about an employer or sector or to find out more about potential career pathways. Some job sectors have a large presence on social media. Did you know that the publishing industry operates heavily through Twitter/X? Literary agents often use Twitter to branch out their network and discover new talent while publishing houses frequently share news, use the platform to advertise publications and share vacancies through often multiple accounts. With changes to Twitter/X’s platform, TikTok is a key new player in the publishing social media world but that is a blog post for another time!

Stay up to date on social media

This is one example of a sector that uses social media to go about its daily operations but social media can also be a great source of information across all sectors. Have you tried searching for Warwick alumni on LinkedIn to see what experience those doing the jobs you’re interested in have? Have you looked at an employer’s Twitter/X account to see what news they’re celebrating with followers? Often large corporations will have a whole team of people dedicated to managing their social media as it’s a convenient way to share updates about the company, so make use of it. Again, a word of caution: these accounts are a form of marketing so don’t just read their social media – use this as a springboard to develop your research further.

Sector specific news outlets

Different job sectors will have blogs, e-newsletters, think tanks, social media news accounts and more formal journals and magazines as publications to allow you to stay up to date with the key events affecting the sector. As a higher education careers advisor I follow and am subscribed to an array of newsletters, news outlets and blogs that keep me up-to-date with what is going on in universities and with employers across the UK and the world. It allows me to stay on top of the constantly changing news cycle and know what might affect how I approach my work.

Signing up for news outlets as you enter a particular sector is a great way to passively learn about what might affect the work you would be doing in the role you’re applying to and give you lots of current information that you can draw on in an application or interview. Get on top of this as you begin your job search to make the researching process a lot less time-consuming!

Know your current affairs

Whilst there will be sector-specific news and information that could be valuable to informing your applications, knowing what is going on in the world is a great tip for anyone applying for jobs as these are major events that could affect everyone no matter their job or sector. Try to keep an eye on the news to stay on top of your current affairs more generally.

Warwick resources

As a Warwick student you have access to resources through the library that can paint a broad picture of a particular job sector or employer. A list of current business databases accessible through the university library can be found here . These databases offer information around organisations’ revenue, number of employees, recent news and sector updates as well as some SWOT analyses for some employers. If you’re seeking to apply to positions related to business you may find this level of detail especially helpful, but the broader sector news could be of interest to anyone applying to positions across an organisation’s operations.

Careers events

Try to attend employer presentations, skills sessions and fairs…

Finally, make use of the employer and careers events we have here on campus and online through the university. There are a whole host of events, employer talks, panels and career fairs throughout the academic year, particularly in the Autumn and Spring terms. They provide a great opportunity to hear from employers you might be interested in, discover new ones and ask the questions you want to know. Events are advertised via MyAdvantage so take look what’s coming up soon. Hope to see you there!


 


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