After you have checked the participating company list, start researching more about the companies through company websites, news articles, press releases, magazine, etc. This may seem like a tedious process, but researching will help you put into perspective what you want to do and facts to back up why you are interested.
Job searching is broken down into 3 steps.
1. Learning about yourself
2. Learning about the other person (company/industry research)
3. Taking action (applying, participating in Career Forums, interviewing, networking, etc.)
Researching companies is the second step, an important step that cannot be skipped.
Learning about the company is not the only part about researching companies. By learning about the company, it should help you learn more about yourself and find and confirm your interests and desires when deciding on your career. This is especially important during your interviews. Not only will the company be looking at your potential, they will also be determining whether or not you will be successful as their employee. Even if you do not have any work experience, being able to express what kind of an employee you will be in the future, the career you want to pursue, and how you will grow at the company will definitely help the recruiters visualize you as their employee.
Please remember that researching companies should be a fun process. It should be a time to learn what kinds of companies are out there and learn what you like and don't like. You may find out things about yourself that you never realized. It may also help you visualize what you want to be doing couple years from now. Having facts to back up the initial interest will prevent you from having “this isn't what I imagined” regrets later on.
Remember how you had to consider numerous factors when selecting a college? Academics,
activities, school culture, location, etc. Likewise, start to think about and prioritize what you
from your job/career. When you think about it, you will be spending a third or almost half your day
work. With a well thought career plan, you can make a choice that you can stick with even with long
hours or when your job becomes difficult. To maintain a healthy sense of motivation when you start
working, it is important to start imagining and planning your future carefully now.
Though going online and checking out company websites can be quite informing, it is vital to get information from other sources related to the company or industry, such as from newspapers and magazines. You can always check out bookstores, libraries, and of course, make use of your school Career Center.
For example, at Vault.com or Wetfeet.com, you can purchase books on specific information on various industries and companies. They also have features on interviewing tips and resources on what a regular day at work would be like.
In addition, check out opinions from current employees on a company's strengths, weaknesses, potential, work environment, benefits, etc. As a student looking for work abroad and unable to get first- hand worker's opinions, such websites will be extremely helpful.
First hand opinions are perhaps the most informative source at times. Many school Career Centers provide lists and means to network with the school's Alumni. Ask how you can get in touch and conduct an informal interview with these graduates. And don't be shy – most people are usually happy to talk about their own experiences and share their knowledge.
Researching companies and knowing yourself become the foundation to preparing for your interview as well. The more you research companies, the more you gain insight into your own interest and knowledge on what companies will best bring out your fullest potential. It will also help you answer that critical question, “Why this job, why this company” more convincingly and with more passion, setting you apart from other candidates.