step 1: research the company.

  • resumes
  • February 10, 2017

Your resume is an essential part of your job search. This concise, yet detailed document should provide an overview of your professional summary, job skills, work experience and educational background. Consider your resume as your personalized sales pitch — it’s what should convince potential employers to give you the opportunity to interview for open positions at their organizations.

The first step in creating an impressive resume begins even before you start writing. The first thing you need to do is company research. Some of the information you should aim to discover includes:

  • Current challenges in your target industry and company.
  • Keywords and buzz phrases that you can use in your resume. 
  • Job opening trends and qualifications required.

why you should research using company websites.

  • Look for a section titled About Us, Who We Are or something similar.
  • You’ll find basic information about an organization’s history, mission statement and culture.
  • For example, in the About section on Randstad’s homepage you can find press releases, leadership bios and corporate social responsibility links — which should give you an indication of some of our values.

why you should research using job boards and rating websites.

  • Many of these websites are now highlighting additional company information, such as reviews from employees and job seekers and salary information.
  • Some even include videos which will provide an inside look at the company culture at your target organization.
  • One of the best job boards to use in your research is Monster.
  • Two reputable rating sites you should use are Kununu and Google My Business.

why you should research using paid services.

  • These websites will search the internet and return information about a company’s finances, executives, press releases and more.
  • Most of these services will offer you a free trial, but then you’ll have to pay after your introductory period ends.
  • Two of the more well known options are Hoovers and ZoomInfo.

why you should research using news reports and industry publications.

  • News reports and industry publications will provide you with an outsider’s opinion about an organization, or inform you of any positive or negative press that organization has received.
  • Enter the company’s name in the text box on Google and filter by News and you’ll see links to published reports from news organizations and industry publications.
  • Results are often filtered by relevance, so you might have to scroll through a few pages to find the most recent stories.
  • Pay attention to the source of the results. You’ll find information from large established news organizations here as well as smaller independent companies, so you may find differing opinions about certain events or stories.
  • You can also set up Google Alerts for the company or any of its executives, and you’ll receive a notification when they are mentioned in the news.

why you should research using social media.

  • Follow the company and some of its key employees and recruiters on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Monitor how the company interacts in the social community and responds to any criticism or questions from customers or the general public.
  • Take note of any trends or recurring issues so you can cater your resume to showcase your skills and experiences that would help solve these problems.
  • If you’re looking for firsthand information about the company, reach out to any employees that you might be connected with on LinkedIn and see if they’ll be willing to answer questions you may have.

how to use your research.

  • Keep detailed notes of your research or use an Excel spreadsheet.
  • Write down what each company values, whether it’s a personal trait or specific skill set.
  • Take note of specific keywords and phrases used by the company (you will also likely see these in job postings).
  • Incorporate this information into your resume so it stands out!
  • Developing a comprehensive understanding of your target companies, your industry and your profession before you write your resume will put you in a great position during the application process.

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Step 2: resume format