Orville Pierson’s Blog

Your Secret Weapon Is Job Market Research

You can get better job offers faster if you are smart about using market research. In the three decades I’ve been doing career work, I’ve seen it repeatedly. I’ve even seen people with admittedly weak qualifications get interviews and offers as a direct result of their effective use of research.

The first and most obvious piece of research, of course, is your target list. You do research to create it. Then you research each organization on your list. In doing this, you begin to form an accurate picture of your personal job market and the industries it includes. This research can begin with the rich resources right here on Career Resource Network (CRN). When you’re ready to move beyond CRN, the next stop is employer websites. You certainly want to visit the site of every company on your target list.

This kind of job market research increases your effectiveness in networking by allowing you to ask people the important organization-specific questions rather than bothering them with the basics. It also makes you a more interesting networking partner because you have information to share as well as questions to ask.

Even if you’re one of those lucky people getting interviews through recruiters or postings, this background research enables you to make smarter decisions about companies and compensation because you’re well informed. And, of course, looking smart in interviews doesn’t hurt either.

A more sophisticated form of research is directed toward identifying and understanding problems, issues and trends affecting your targeted organizations. The better you understand these and related initiatives and solutions, the stronger a candidate you are. Educating yourself on who is doing what — and why — is time well spent.

If you’re changing industries or careers, research is essential. You must become fluent in the language (and jargon) of your targeted organizations and jobs. If you also do the issues research described above, you can then select an issue that particularly interests you and research that one intensively. By choosing a narrow and manageable area that’s of interest to your target market, you can be seen as someone with real expertise.

But please don’t get carried away with research. While it may be your only activity for a week or so at the outset, pure research should be maybe 10% of your time throughout your search. Or course, you’re doing a great deal more research as you talk to networking partners.

As a closing thought, I want to let you in on a little secret about job market research. There is some really great on it here in CRN. It amounts to a whole course on job search research. It was written by LHH’s research librarians, the Infogenius people here in Blogs, News and Views. And they are indeed geniuses at locating relevant information.

Want to be a genius in job search? Your secret weapon might actually be librarians.

Orville Pierson is LHH’s Director of Program Design and the author of The Unwritten Rules of the Highly Effective Job Search (McGraw-Hill) and Highly Effective Networking: Meet the Right People and Get a Great Job (Career Press). With over 30 years’ experience in career services, he leads the team that designs LHH’s career transition programs. Orville can be reached at orville@highlyeffectivejobsearch.com with comments and questions that might become part of future postings, but he cannot respond to them individually.

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