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How to Conduct Career Research

Bonny Calfy | June 16, 2023

Searching for a job can be chaotic. Finding one? Even more so.

Between all the networking, resume tweaks and interview tips, it can be hard to know where to start — especially for new grads and less experienced job seekers.

But if there’s one thing that’ll lessen the burden and improve every aspect of your job hunt, it’s career research.

In this blog, we’ll talk about the importance of research in the job hunt, how to use it to your advantage and all the places you should be looking.

How does career research help job seekers?

There’s an old saying: The harder you prepare, the luckier you get. This is especially true for job seekers. Adequate research and preparation can have a significant impact on every stage of the process, from choosing which companies to apply for to eventually securing an offer.

What should I look for when researching careers?

You’ll want to seek out different information on each company depending on which step of the job search you’re in. Here are four ways research can help you in various phases of your job search:

1. Understanding a company’s culture

There’s no shortage of businesses hiring these days. But how do you know which one is right for you? To narrow the field, it’s important to research a company’s values, benefits and career growth opportunities before you apply.

Start by combing through its website, social media and Glassdoor reviews to assess whether it’s a good cultural fit. Pursuing jobs you’re likely to accept an offer from will make the process much more efficient, ensuring nobody’s time is wasted.

In your application or interview, reference the company’s culture and how it aligns with your career aspirations. This paints a picture of how you’d mesh with the team and is one of the best ways to ensure you leave a lasting impression and position yourself for success. After all, recruiters and hiring managers are looking to hire people, not resumes

2. Adjusting your resume to the company

In a crowded job market, simply getting your resume seen can be a struggle. One study by Top Resume found 75% of resumes are rejected before they reach the hiring manager. How can candidates cut through the noise and ensure someone sees their resumes?

For starters, tailoring your resume to the role and company can help differentiate you from the pack, especially in a large applicant pool. Go a step further by looking up the profile of people in a similar role and adapting your resume in a way you know fits the position.

This individualized approach will demonstrate your genuine interest and dedication and distinguish you from other applicants.

3. Standing out in interviews

If you secure a conversation with the hiring manager, the last thing you want is to show up unprepared. Research is an essential component of any successful interview and another way to set yourself apart.

By reading up on the company’s background, products, services, competitors and industry trends, you’ll walk into your interview confident and prepared for any questions thrown your way. Not only that, you’ll be better equipped to ask thoughtful and engaging questions that are sure to leave a lasting impression on the hiring manager.

4. Finding companies you’ll want to stay with

These days, a job is more than just a paycheck. But don’t just take our word for it. Seven in 10 respondents to this McKinsey poll said their sense of purpose is defined by their work. So if it’s longevity you’re seeking, applying to companies whose values align with your own is one of the best ways to find it.

What is the first step in researching a career?

You have the internet, which means you have a world of information at your fingertips — and no reason to apply for a job without a solid understanding of the company.

To find the knowledge you need to succeed in today’s job market, be sure to:

  • search for people in your prospective department on social media (especially LinkedIn)
  • determine if you have any connections with the company, like a former co-worker or someone from your alma mater
  • peruse the company website, blog and careers page to learn about its culture and benefits
  • read all of the business’s Corporate Social Responsibility reports, as well as any other environmental or social impact pages
  • look for the company’s press room, sometimes called a news or media section, to learn about its charitable donations, corporate events, product launches and more

Learn more at the Paycom Careers blog.

About the author
Author picture, Bonny Calfy
Bonny Calfy
As Paycom’s employer brand supervisor, Bonny Calfy oversees all recruitment marketing and employer brand efforts nationwide. Her brand awareness efforts extend over 10 years and have included launching the Paycom Careers blog and social media channels and producing recruitment videos, all to help attract top talent nationwide. Outside work, Bonny enjoys reading; fishing; and spending time with her husband, children and friends.