When you’re actively seeking a job, it can be tempting to submit your resume to the first position that sounds like a good match. However, simply hitting “submit” could mean that you end up applying to something that won’t really suit you at all. How do you know that you really want to work for that company? Would it really fit you and your values?
Doing research to learn about a company before applying to a position can be incredibly beneficial in weeding out all of the bad jobs and securing your dream job.
When you see a potential fit, take a minute to learn about the company through its website. The company website is your key to understanding what makes the organization tick, a valuable tool when deciding whether or not to apply. It can also be a useful guide when writing your cover letter and preparing for an interview.
To make sure the company is right for you, take note of these seven things you can learn about a company from its website:
1. What the company does and how it does it.
This can include its mission and vision, but the site itself should be able to narrow down why it exists even more. A candidate should share that interest and passion to be a part of the team.
2. How it’s affecting the community.
You can find this information in news articles and press releases, which are often available on the press page of a company’s website. Some companies, however, realize the value in giving back and make sure anyone coming to their site knows that they do this well.
TOMS, for example, is a company designed on the concept of “one for one.” For every product sold, it will give the same product to someone in need. This concept began with shoes and has since developed into eye wear, bags, and a coffee bean roasting company whose sales help fund clean water for developing countries.
3. What sets it apart from competitors.
Chipotle Mexican Grill is a food chain that prides itself on providing quality ingredients that are responsibly grown. Its website focuses on educating the public about what it means to have integrity in the food industry and how its menu does just that. Though the menu itself may seem small next to other fast food restaurants, quality brings people to the doors. It’s much more than a Mexican restaurant; it is setting the standard for the future of the fast food industry — and it shows on the company’s website.
4. What it might be like to work there.
The employment page on an organization’s website can help you learn about the company in many ways. If you found the job advertisement on an external site, always confirm it on the company’s site. Some companies are quicker to take a posting down on their own page once the position has been filled than on a job board.
Employment pages can be excellent indicators of how employees are valued. Companies that are confident in what they have to offer potential employees will be upfront about the benefits of working for them and may even cite examples from current staff members.
Webpage FX, an internet marketing company, is a great example of this. On its site, you’ll see a list of open positions, job descriptions, video footage of staff members, links to articles, photos of the workspace, awards they’ve received, and benefits available to each new hire.
5. Who the target audience is.
The company website should give you an idea of who would be most interested in its products, which will help you understand who you’ll serve the most if you get the job.
USAA, for example, provides auto and property insurance, among many other financial services. It’s a membership-based company, which means that its target audience is a very specific group of individuals. USAA was started by U.S. military officers, so it primarily serves military families.
6. How financially fit it is.
A page devoted to a company’s investors should give you a snapshot of the current financials surrounding the company. You can usually find this link at the bottom of the home page.
For example, on the Kohl’s Investor Relations page you can see how it’s doing in the stock exchange, sales trends, and annual reports. You’ll learn Kohl’s believes financial transparency is key for keeping investors in the loop and happy. You can imagine how employees might appreciate this information, too.
7. The company culture and “personality.”
If you’re a fun-loving, low key individual who is seeking a work environment to match, you’ll want to learn about the company culture, which should shine through on the company website.
Pay attention to the colors, fonts, photos, and vocabulary found on the homepage. Muted colors, traditional fonts, and formal vocabulary will speak to a company that prides itself on tradition. If that doesn’t speak to you, keep looking.
Vibrant sites, like sweet Frog frozen yogurt, are a prime example of a youthful, fun, and family-friendly company.
Looking for a job can be a tedious process. However, through careful research and astute attention to detail, making the decision to pursue a career with a company can be a lot easier. Most importantly, it will make you feel comfortable in putting in the extra effort to land a job worth having.