If you want to create a great resume and ace your interview, you will need to know the prospective employer. Learning details about the organization allows you to identify its needs and market yourself accordingly. Knowledge gained from employer research also enables you to conduct a more focused, effective job search and confirm that the work environment will be a good fit.

Why should I research an employer?

Researching a company gives you valuable information to consider when writing your tailored resume and cover letter. Once you know about the company, you can shape your resume and cover letter to highlight abilities and knowledge that will benefit the company. During the interview, the knowledge gained from your research will enable you to carry on a productive conversation and include specific examples of how your qualifications will fit their needs.

How do I conduct employer research?

It is best to use a variety of resources to obtain a broader range of information. Most organizations have websites with mission, history, services, etc. Using search engines and social media sites will give you current information. If you find negative information, be sure to check it against other credible sources before making assumptions. Talk with those who know the organization. Be positive in your comments and neutral in your response to any negative comments. You are gathering information, not sharing your opinions.

Where to find information about employers

  • Company website
  • Social media sites (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Government offices – local, state, and federal
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Campus career fairs
  • UA alumni events
  • Professional associations
  • Trade shows
  • Annual reports
  • Stock reports
  • Former employees
  • Newspapers
  • Business publications
  • House publications
  • Competitors and suppliers
  • Civic and professional organizations
  • Reference USA (free access on UA campus)

Tips for conducting employer research

  • Use a variety of sources, including Twitter and LinkedIn, and approaches to get a more comprehensive view.
  • Research other organizations in the same field to make comparisons.
  • Attend career fairs and employer information sessions on campus.
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau to learn if any complaints have been filed against the organization.
  • Check the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission website at sec.gov to obtain financial data.
  • Speak to former employees if you know any, but realize that one person’s view may not represent the majority.

Employer credibility

If you learn of a hiring organization that sounds questionable to you for whatever reason, it is worth your time to contact the Better Business Bureau to confirm the employer’s identity. Avoid jobs that require you to pay money up front, and never provide your Social Security Number, driver’s license number, or date of birth until you have confirmed the legitimacy of the employer and the job offer.


Researching Employers Worksheet