Careers advice: How to research and approach the company you want to work for

19 December 2018

The more you know about a company, the better you can position yourself for success. Careers Manager, Krish Ruparelia, reveals how to identify opportunities and approach employers with a speculative application.

Start with the internet

The first place to start when researching the company is the internet. Learn about the company’s heritage and values, read its mission statement, find out who its clients are. An annual report can give you further insight into the company’s activities and financial performance. Then ask yourself: Do I resonate with the company vision and values?  Do my own personal values align to those of the company?

Research the strategic challenges it currently has, key priorities they are focused on, and their competitors. How can you can add value to them? Can you spot a gap in the market that you can fill with a potential opportunity for a conversation?

Network your way into the hidden job market

Someone, somewhere has some level of affiliation with your dream organisation. The question is how do you find them?

80% of all jobs are found in the hidden market, states Dr Daniel Porot, a Pioneer in the Field of Career Design & Job Hunting. The best way to tap into this market is to be proactive.

Who do you know in your network that can connect you to the company? Do you have any friends, family members or university connections that may be affiliated with the company? Word of mouth and recommendations are extremely powerful tools in securing your next job.  

Use social media networks such as LinkedIn to carry out research as well as identify who is connected to the company. A LinkedIn company page can give you an insight into the company and the key topics that are prevalent to them as well as identify potential job opportunities they may be recruiting for. Take a look at current employees’ experience and skillsets and check if there are any common connections that may have worked here previously who can introduce you. If you strike a connection with someone via LinkedIn, thank them for their time and connection. Outline a summary of why you are connecting with them and request if they can give you 30 minutes for a potential catch up on the phone or a “coffee catch up.”

Develop a networking mindset

Many people find networking uncomfortable and insincere but research from Harvard Business Review shows that an aversion to networking can be overcome: 

  • Consider networking an opportunity for learning. Think of how it is going to help you grow.  
  • Identify common interests. Consider how you can forge meaningful working relationships.
  • Think about what you can give to others. Expand your view of what you have to offer.
  • Find a purpose. Focus on the collective benefits of making connections.

Remember be yourself, be authentic, and converse with a purpose.