It seems like an obvious point – thorough research is an important part of an effective job search. But it’s surprising how many people jump into the hunt for a journalism job after doing little or no research. It’s also pretty ironic, given that journalism is all about reporting – another word for research.
Why Do Research?
Two reasons. First, solid research can help you decide whether the job you’re thinking about applying for is really one that you want. And second, if it really is the job you want, research can help you land that job. Nothing impresses an employer more than an applicant who knows a lot about the job and the company.
Remember, in an interview you don’t need to convince the employer you want a job; what you need to do is convince them you want their job, that you want to work specifically for their company – and to explain why. If you’ve done your research, you’ll be able to do just that.
So here’s a look at what kind of research you should be doing before you start sending out resumes.
Research the Employer
Whether you’re looking to get hired at a newspaper, website or broadcast news outlet, find out as much as you can about the place and the company that owns it. Talk to employees and go online to find out if it’s a place known for doing quality journalism. Also, is the firm on a solid financial footing? Is it losing or making money? Do the employees there seem to be happy?
Research the Job
Again, use your reporting skills to find out what exactly the job you’re applying involves. Does it match your skill set? Are there opportunities for advancement? Is it something you think you’d like to be doing for at least the next several years?
Research the Place
Remember, you won’t just be working, you’ll be living in the area where the job is located. So ask yourself – is the job in a place where you’d like to live? Is it a community that’s growing economically, or on the decline? Are there interesting things to do there? Is it a place that fits your age and stage of life? (For instance, if you’re just out of college, do you want to live in a town populated mostly by retirees?)