There are many times throughout your journey you will want to learn as much as you can about an industry or organization which will require you to research. 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
Throughout your search you'll want to do as much as you can to learn about potential employers and industries. The information you find can help you stand out from your competition.
Whether you're preparing a cover letter, resume, or getting ready to, you'll want to learn more about the organization and industry. Not only will this be important in helping you determine if this is a place you might want to work, but employers want to be confident that you know who they are and how your skills connect with their organization's needs specifically.
So what information should you be gathering? Our research worksheet may assist you in beginning to organize the research you gather.
Informational Interviews & Networking
The best source of information comes from 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 insiders 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 alums, from a variety of industries. Before you can beginning using LinkedIn, you'll need to create your profile. You should create a profile that reflects your resume, including information that is the 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 start connecting with individuals you already have something in common with, the Vanderbilt experience! If you haven't registered for this system, visit the VUConnect registration site.You may also want to review the networking page for more ideas.
While speaking with people is one of the best means of gathering research, there are many other online resources that can be 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 of an industry. Within the online Vault books you can learn the language of the industry: "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 the paths of career progression within an industry, who the major players are, and so much more.
Jean Heard Library's website has a variety of business periodicals and newspapers many that can be found online! These business databases can assist you in finding articles about both the organization you are researching and also its competition. A few you may want to start looking at are Annualreports.com, Hoover's, and S&P netadvantage. If you need assistance stop by the library and share with a reference librarian what information you are seeking.
Glassdoor is an online resource that provides company reviews and salary information for more than 20,000 companies.
The Versatile PhD is a resource on non-academic careers for graduate students in humanities and social science. You can read first-person narratives written by real humanities and social science PhDs and ABDs who have established non-academic careers, describing how they did it and sharing their advice from experience. Join a thriving, supportive web-based community where you can dialogue with "Versatile PhDs" in and outside the academy. NOTE: You will need to register for an account after providing your VUNetID.