Whatever type of job you are looking for, whether it’s a summer job at a diner or the next step up on the career ladder, you’ll need to have done some preparation for your job search. There’s no excuse for a poorly presented resume or a badly written cover letter, given the plethora of websites offering expert advice on content and presentation, and if you can afford it, there are multiple companies providing resume-writing services to maximize your chances of getting an interview. Having focused on yourself in your preparation, you now need to step back and consider the organization you are hoping to work for.
What are they like to work for?
Just like you, organizations present their best face when recruiting. They want to attract the most highly qualified and best-suited applicants, who will add value and deliver the highest levels of productivity and customer service. They will be sure to promote the benefits of working for them and paint a rosy picture of how brilliant they are to work for. To get to the truth, you need to do a little digging and see if there are any less positive aspects of being in their employ. A good starting place is researching the company online. Some job search websites like Job Application Center will give you a picture of the business and what they are like to work for, so are a good place to start to get a feel for your prospective employer. If they sound promising, see if there is any more information online, but beware any disgruntled ex-employees who may have an ax to grind. Not all staff are honest and hard-working, and those that aren’t will be the first to vent their feelings online when things don’t go their way.
Look for yourself
If all sounds good so far, pay a visit to the organization’s location, assess the premises and surroundings, facilities and transport links and get a feel for the place. If it’s possible, go inside and see what the interior is like and observe the staff to get an idea of the working atmosphere. If the staff seem happy and content, that’s an excellent indication of a good employer. If they are hassled, stressed and look unhappy, see if you can detect why; if you are going for a supervisor-level job, you could get some good ideas for how you would address any problems.
Being prepared for your interview
If you like the look of the company and proceed with an application, your next step will be the interview. As part of your preparation, you need to be familiar with exactly what the business does, what it stands for and what their vision is for the future. You are likely to get asked a question that will test your knowledge of the business, and employers won’t be impressed if you haven’t made the effort to find out as much as you can about them. Being able to demonstrate your knowledge during the interview will be a mark in your favor, and having a good grasp of the organization will inform your responses to the interviewer’s questions. Even if they don’t ask, doing your research may suggest a query for the difficult part of the interview where they ask if you have any questions for them!
There’s plenty of free advice on preparing for an interview, so take advantage of all this information to present yourself in the best possible light and secure the best job.