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Research is a critical part of the job search process. It can help you identify companies that may be hiring in your field, focus your job search on employers whose values and expectations meet yours, or prepare yourself for a scheduled job interview.

Get started. If you're just beginning your job search, visit the Employer Locator to identify and get contact information for potential employers in your local area.

Get focused. If you've already narrowed your job search list to a few prospective employees, or even scheduled interviews already, make sure to thoroughly explore those companies' Web sites. These will often include information such as a vision, mission statement, product descriptions, hiring policies, and job openings. Locate Web sites by entering the full name of the business into a search engine such as Google or Yahoo.

When you're looking at company Web sites or conducting research at a library, try to answer some of the following basic questions (the answers will both increase your knowledge about a company and prepare you for classic interview questions such as 'What can you tell us about this company?').

Questions to think about when researching employers:
  • What products/services does the employer provide?
  • How many employees does the employer have?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Where is the employer located? Does it have more than one location? Is it on the bus line?
  • What is the employer's mission statement or philosophy?
  • What is the company's financial situation? Is it making money?
  • Has the employer undergone any downsizing in the last five years?
  • Is the employer involved in community services? If so, what?
Source: Creative Job Search, a publication of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
Department of Labor CareerOneStop is sponsored by the U. S. Department of Labor,
Employment and Training Administration