Do your research and give yourself the edge!

22 Jun 2023, 13:21

Before you graduate and start applying for jobs, it’s important to do your research and be in the know about employers and what they're looking for in their graduate recruits.

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Employers look for a candidate who has properly researched their company and has tailored their application to the job they’re applying for. Generic CVs can be spotted a mile away and will hinder your application. You should not only be researching the company you are applying to, but also, the specific role you’re applying for, what it entails and how you can tailor your application to show that you’re the right candidate for the job.

By knowing some background about the company, and the role, you will be better prepared going into your interviews. Employers want a candidate to not only have the relevant skills but also be someone who has enthusiasm and interest in the company as a whole, and who will develop with the company as it grows. Doing some research will also help you decide what company will be the right fit for you. Taking the time to work out what you want from your career will stop you from wasting time on an organisation that doesn’t suit you. Decide what skills you want to be using day-to-day, and what type of projects interest you, and focus on applying to companies who are offering roles that align with your goals and the skills that you have acquired.

How to research

Getting started is the hardest part and it can be difficult to know where to begin with your research. When you’re researching a company, the more detail you can find the more you’ll be able to set yourself apart in an interview. Companies don’t want you to tell them about their own company but will want you to match your skills and aims with those of the organisation. Try looking into the following aspects of the company to get you started:

  • Size of the organisation

  • Structure (offices in Ireland and/or overseas?)

  • Culture (check LinkedIn and blog posts and try and get insights from those who work/have worked at the company)

  • Major ongoing projects and achievements

  • What technology is used

  • Any recent major news announcements

Research questions

Having all your research completed before you go into an interview will ensure you are prepared for that “Have you any questions for us?” part. Formulating a list of possible questions you could be asked about and what information you want to know about a company is a good way of making sure you’ve done adequate research. Here’s some research questions to get you started:

• What service/product does the company provide?

• Where is it located?

• Who are their main competitors?

• Who are the clients?

• Where does it operate and in which markets?

• What are the graduate roles available and what do they offer?

• What qualifications/degrees are required?

• What general and specific skills are required?

• What does the recruitment process involve?

• What are the organisation’s aims and values?

• Why does working for this organisation appeal to you?

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