There are many times throughout your journey when you will want to learn as much as you can about an industry or organization. Lucky for you, you already have a great deal of experience researching through the courses you have taken at Vanderbilt. You have probably found that organization is the key to success and that research takes time.
So it is wise to begin researching long before you need to use the information. You may find reams of information, but you must be able to sort through it to find the key information. Additionally, some information may be difficult to find, so it may take a considerable investment of time.
Reasons to Research
Learning more about potential employers and industries will always pay off. The information you find will help you stand out from your competition.
Not only will this process be important in helping you determine where you might want to work, but also employers want to be confident that you know who they are and how your skills connect with their organization's needs specifically. Research is indispensable in preparing a good cover letter and resume.
So what information should you be gathering? Our research worksheet may help you get started.
Informational Interviews & Networking
The best sources of information are those individuals who are currently in the organization, industry, or type of position in which you are interested. Informational interviewing allows you to get an insider's perspective, learn the things you can't find on the organization's website, and adds a contact in your network.
LinkedIn is a business-oriented networking site that allows you to connect with local, national, and global professionals, including VU alumni, from a variety of industries. Before you can begin using LinkedIn, you'll need to create your profile. You should create a profile that reflects your resume, including information that’s most relevant to your career goals. For help with your profile or to have your current profile reviewed by a member of our coaching staff, stop by during walk-in hours.
VUconnect is a network of Vanderbilt alumni, students and friends worldwide. It is a great place to connect with individuals with whom you already have something in common, the Vanderbilt experience! If you haven't registered for this system, visit the VUconnect registration site.
While speaking with people is one of the best means of gathering research, there are numerous online resources that are helpful. Business Source Premier is a popular business research database, featuring the full text from more than 2,100 journals. The database includes: company profiles, country reports, industry reports, market research reports and SWOT Analyses.
Looking for industry information? Vault is a great resource for getting an overview. Within the online Vault books you can learn the language of the industry, for example: "What does it mean to construct a financial model?"; "What is the trafficking side of the house in an advertising firm?" You will also find information about career progression paths within an industry, who the major players are, and so much more.
The Jean and Alexander Heard Library website has a variety of business periodicals, newspapers and databases, many of them found online. These business news sources and databases can supply articles about both the organization you are researching and its competition. Helpful starting points include Annualreports.com, Hoover's and S&P netadvantage. If you need assistance, stop by the library and speak with a reference librarian about the information you’re seeking.
Glassdoor is an online resource that provides company reviews and salary information for more than 20,000 companies.