The Importance of Researching Employers

Finding the Right Internship or Job

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There are many things that college students spend a lot of time doing, and this includes a good amount of time doing research. Whether it be a science class, social work, or a course in art history, research is usually at the core of any class project or paper that’s often required by faculty to complete the course. I frequently have students come into my office talking about the research they are doing for a class project or paper and the amount of time this takes before they can even get started on the project.

Research is usually the first step and necessary part of any paper or project once an idea or subject has been formulated. Yet when it comes to looking for an internship or job, research is often the one and most important step in the search process that students tend to avoid.

How Can Research Help in Your Internship or Job Search?

  1. As students engage in the internship and job search process, they need to get organized to begin a successful search. Starting an internship or job search by first sending out resumes to just any employer is a poor strategy, especially in light of all of the other ways that are available to identify and reach out to employers. Research is probably the single most important activity there is when doing an internship or job search.  Research provides focus and can steer you in the right direction. By focusing your time learning about and contacting employers in your area of interest, you will be spending quality time in identifying the best places to look that match your personal interests and will avoid those industries or employers that don ‘t meet your criteria. Of course, you will want to be flexible in your search, but that means being open to several career options and not trying to be all things to all people.
  1. Often times I hear employers complain that students don’t do their homework when it comes to researching and applying for internships or jobs or sometimes even before they come in for their first interview. This is a big mistake. This lack of due diligence on the part of the student may be seen by employers as a lack of interest or perhaps even worse, a lack of motivation or initiative. Since making a good first impression is so important in the application and interview process, this is certainly not the way you want to appear to an employer and it can certainly be a major roadblock in getting that internship or job. The prospective employer will most likely begin asking him or herself if this is the kind of person that they want to hire into their organization.

    What Is the Importance of Research When Applying for Internships or Jobs?

    • To discover the best organizations that meet your specifications
    • To help you tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your relevant skills and experiences that will match the employer’s needs,
    • To know what questions you want to ask employers during an interview.
    • To demonstrate your interest in the organization,
    • To identity the organization’s goals and needs,
    • To be able to answer interview questions with confidence.
    • To be able to make an informed employment decision if you get offered the internship or job.

      Visit Your College's Career Development Center

      The first place to start in any internship or job search is by visiting the Career Development Center at your college. Career counselors possess a wealth of knowledge and resources that they are happy to share with students. What about career fairs information sessions, and workshops that take place on campus throughout the academic year?  These are all great places to begin exploring, especially when you have no idea of where to start.

      Your college may also have a strong recruitment program whereby many companies and organizations may do information sessions or interview on campus. Meeting potential employers on campus is another way to learn about internship and job opportunities while also a chance to start networking with professionals currently working in a career field of immediate interest.

      Researching Company Web Sites and Professional Organizations​​

      Visiting employer websites online is a way to learn about their current opportunities. Your college probably has a list of resources, such as their own database plus resources such as CareerShift,, and many others depending on what they subscribe to.  Joining professional organizations also gives college students an opportunity and access to professional literature and recent trends in the field.  Membership also gives students an opportunity to attend annual conferences, network with other members, and find job listing in the field.