Internet Research

There are plenty of places online where you can get the needed information quickly and effectively. The best place to start is with a company's website. In addition to basic company information, you can often obtain annual reports, lists of company executives, the company's mission statement, and its history.

If there is a section for press releases, read the latest ones. You can learn about pending mergers and other key developments within a company. This is a great way to show the interviewer that you know the most current happenings in the company.

There are also a number of sites that will arm you with the facts you'll need to know about an industry and/or a specific occupation that you are interested in. A few of these sites are profiled here:

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has become the go-to place for job posters and job seekers. A more professionally oriented social media site, LinkedIn was initially created specifically with job seekers in mind. Its “Jobs,” “Groups,” and “People” search capabilities allow job seekers to find out about openings and connect with their connections—and connections of their connections—to gain insights and inroads into the company. Some openings are listed exclusively on LinkedIn.

Monster

Monster advertises itself as the “World's Leading Career Network.” Use its resources to create resumes, search for jobs, and prepare for interviews to help launch the career you want.

Careerbuilder

In addition to providing tons of job postings—1.5 million, according to its website—Careerbuilder.com will even e-mail job postings to your mailbox. Browse the latest job listings and fill out job applications on this well-organized site.

USAJOBS

An online resource for searching government jobs in the United States and abroad. Special sections for individuals with disabilities, veterans, students and recent graduates, and senior executives.

Beyond.com

According to its website, Beyond.com claims to provide the world's largest network of targeted career communities—serving nearly 27 million people through thousands of industry- and location-specific sites.

Craigslist

Craigslist provides access to literally millions of jobs by location and may be thought of as the online version of the traditional classified section, but with access to position openings available around the globe. It's nothing fancy, but millions of people have turned to its pages to seek job openings.

Don't forget online resources like ValueLine and LexisNexis and the major business publications: Forbes, Money, Kiplinger's, the Wall Street Journal, and Investor's Business Daily.

Tips for Getting the Most from Internet Research

  • Don't restrict your job search to the newest postings. Many older postings that may have gone unfilled could have less competition, as most job searchers tend to focus on newer posts.

  • Leverage social media networking opportunities. Your contacts on LinkedIn or Facebook may work at companies you're interested in—or be connected to others who do. Try to find employees of these companies in your online network and contact them to get information on the company that might not otherwise be available.

  • Use recruiter websites to learn more about specific careers. The information on these sites is likely applicable to a variety of companies. In addition, this information is more general than the specific requirements that many companies may be looking for, which can help you gain a better understanding of a career you're interested in but don't have as much knowledge about as you'd like.

  • Check out news releases and news reports. News releases provide insight into what the company feels is important about its business. News reports are more objective and can provide insight into the management styles of key executives. Researching third-party sources of information may clue you in to troubling information about a company's financial health and help you avoid inadvertently jumping aboard a sinking ship.

  • Monitor online discussions. Keep your eye out for online discussions in which former employees or industry experts candidly discuss the company. This less formal commentary might give you a better insight into the culture and values of a company.

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