What do your dream company and your celebrity idol have in common? You need to know a lot about both of them if you ever want to make a connection with them. Learn how to research a company like your role model, and how it will land you the job.
By: Alexis Sicklick | Resume Writer for Let’s Eat, Grandma
You just landed the chance to apply for your dream job.
How does that make you feel? Excited? Scared? Do you want to jump for joy, can you not stop crying because you are so happy? Did all your years of preparation suddenly pay off? Or are you just in shock that your wish finally came true?
All of these emotions remind me of a similar situation, something else that almost seems impossible until it actually occurs — like meeting your favorite celebrity of all time?!
Think about it. For years, you’ve obsessed over a famous actor, singer, author, politician, doctor, chef, scientist, you name it. You are one of the greatest admirers of their work. Anytime they are interviewed on television or mentioned in an article, you can’t help but rewatch it a thousand times or frame it and put it in your dream journal.
In your spare time, you find yourself studying their work, learning as much as you can about them. The more you learn, the more you convince yourself that if only you had the opportunity to meet them in real life, then you would certainly become best friends or develop a relationship. You’ll be in their inner circle forever.
And then you start to devise a real plan in order to make that happen. Not in a stalkerish way, of course — you’re not that crazy. But in a way that really does seem like it could happen if you did it just right.
You start looking for opportunities to meet in-person, then figure out “the trail” that will lead you to them. Maybe you have a mutual friend if you’re really lucky, or you have some ‘one-off’ or ‘once-removed’ connections that will eventually link you together. Either way, you just need to get your foot in the door.
And then somehow, magically, everything falls into place, whether by your own accord or with the help of “the trail.” And you want to make the best impression! How are you going to prove that this moment was written in the stars and will lead to the most amazing memories for both of you? We have the answer.
The perfect cover letter.
Wait… What does this have to do with my cover letter?
Okay, you might not call it a cover letter when meeting a celebrity. But all those notes that you wrote down so you don’t forget what to say, and how you plan on delivering that message, that’s actually what a good cover letter is all about.
With both this celebrity and your dream company, you not only want to make yourself sound worthy of their attention, but you also want them to realize that you are what has been missing from their life. They see themselves in you, and as people want to surround themselves with others who have the same qualities, they can’t help but feel that instant connection too.
So, how do you know what topics to bring up that make you seem most intelligent and desirable and not obsessive in a bad way? You do the right research.
Yes, it is definitely okay to spend time learning fun facts, but when the end result could be an outcome that changes your life forever, you have to prioritize.
Ready to learn how to research a company like your idol? Below, we’ve listed several questions to help guide your research in the most valuable direction.
Research these key points about the company for your cover letter, and save the other details in your arsenal for when you actually have the job and want to bond on a more personal level.
What to Research About the Company to Show You Know Them
- What do they stand for? What are their company values, what drives them, and what’s their ultimate goal?
- What makes them unique?
- What’s the current state of the industry, and how does this company fit in amongst its competitors?
- What are the company’s current initiatives, victories, and problems (that you could help solve)?
- How do they communicate with the public and their employees?
- How does the company treat its employees, and what is the company culture?
- How do others perceive the company? Employees, competitors, the public?
- How has the company evolved over the years?
Where and How to Research the Company
Now you might be thinking, “where do I find all that?” It’s easier than you’d think. Explore all of these avenues:
—Look up their mission statement and “About Us” page.
If the company has a solid website, they’ll likely have a robust “About” section with valuable information, especially if it’s a large company or a nonprofit. Start here to find out what really makes them tick.
—Just read the job description carefully!
You’d be surprised at how much info about the company is in many job descriptions. It won’t always be valuable, but you may find some gold. Just from this job posting alone, I can tell what the company believes, what they’re most proud of about their product, and what they want from this role:
—Follow them on LinkedIn and other social media.
There’s no better place to see how the company communicates its messaging than on social media. (Plus, you can actually interact with them and share their posts!)
—Look them up in the news and stay aware of news for the whole industry.
Major developments can tell you about problems you can solve or initiatives you can help push once you’re hired.
—Talk to people in the company, and get informational interviews if you can.
It’s always best to go straight to the source if you can. Use LinkedIn to see if any of your connections know people in the company, then subtly ask if you can speak with them.
—Listen to presentations/interviews/panels/podcasts with leaders/employees of the company.
This will help you understand the company’s approach to “thought leadership” — how they answer questions about their service and what they feel they contribute to the industry.
—Take a look at their work if possible, or read reviews about it.
See if you can find case studies or examples of their work on their website. Or, cautiously read online reviews to see what impression their work makes on the public (keeping in mind that everyone’s opinions are amplified on the internet).
—Look at industry data, such as surveys, rankings, competitive analyses, etc.
Ultimately, the more you know and understand the company and the role, the better you can target your cover letter.
So do not discount the time you spend researching for fun when you are trying to take your mind off something else. Give it the greatest importance and internalize and categorize all the details, just like when you memorize each and every fact about your role model. They will come in handy.
You say you care so much about this job, now’s your time to prove it! This may be your only chance, so become one with all that information, and you won’t even have to think twice when you need to impress the company. Don’t let them believe you are just another fan — show them you are the perfect match!
Need more help with targeting your cover letter, or even just writing it? We’re here to help. Schedule a free call with us to find out how our professional writers can rework your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile to land you that dream job.
Happy job hunting!