Tuesday, July 16, 2013

4 Tools for Career Research

On Google alone, there are over a billion searches for information conducted each day. The possibilities are almost limitless when it comes to what and how to research. All of these options can become quite overwhelming when it comes to researching information related to job searching, preparing for an interview, networking, finding opportunities for professional development, and career planning. Here are four tools you can use to research jobs, companies, industries, and careers.

1) Web search engines like Yahoo, Google, and Bing are most often turned to when people want to find information. The key to using these search engines in your research is to use parameters to help you focus on the information you truly want. For example, use quotations around words to ensure your results contain that specific phrase (e.g. “jobs in Orlando” will return results specifically about jobs in Orlando).  The minus sign (-) can also help you remove content that you’re not interested in. For example, let’s say you are not interested in any theme park jobs that might show up in an Orlando based job search.  Enter “jobs in Orlando –theme parks” as your search parameters to exclude theme park job opportunities.  Remember that the more specific you are in your search criteria, the better the results the search engine will return for you.

2) Perhaps you’ve been offered an interview or know that you specifically want to work for a certain company. Exploring the company website is a must. The company website is a great way to quickly learn what that company does, who their leadership is, and begin to understand their company culture.

3) If you're not using Social Media as part of your research strategy, you need to. Both LinkedIn and Twitter allow you to follow companies and engage in conversations with them. Many companies post jobs on both of those sites. Joining a professional associations’ LinkedIn group or following them on Twitter are great ways to network and develop yourself professionally. Similarly, you can “like” the Facebook page of a company or professional association.  Many companies have YouTube channels, where you can get insight into their products and services, as well as the company culture. Depending on the company or professional association, you might also find them on Pinterest or Google+, so be sure to check out whatever social media avenues interest you.

4) Career & Professional Development Website - We have assembled some of the best and most reputable career research tools on our website. Visit our Occupational and Industry Research page for tools such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook, ONET, and the Riley Guide.  Those tools allow you to learn more about specific occupations and provide national and local data related to expected job growth and median salary.  Our Employer Research page provides you with several databases to search U.S. and international companies. You can also utilize Glassdoor to get an inside look at companies via employee reviews. Lastly, be sure to check out our Career E-Library for additional research tools, including resources related to diversity and careers.

Do you have a favorite career research tool you’d like to share? List it in the comments below or tell us about your experience with one of the research tools mentioned above. 

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