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Job Hunt 101: Bag the Best Employer

Job Hunt 101: Bag the Best Employer

Brian O’Connell |

September 14, 2009

Socialize, Then Capitalize

One quick way to research a company from the inside out is to use the burgeoning number of social networking sites to get the goods on a potential employer. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are all chock full of career professionals who can provide insights about potential employers. Just sign up and post a query. For example, “Brian.oco wants to know how to prepare for a Microsoft job interview.” Twitter is especially good for job search information, because sometimes it comes straight from the source.

Public Company, Public Documents

If you’re investigating a publicly traded company, it’s fairly easy to check its track record, financial health and forecasts for the future. Because public companies sell stocks to raise capital, many must essentially air all of their laundry, dirty or clean. If they meet the criteria, they must regularly file financial reports and other revealing paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Once filed, the paperwork is in the public domain and anyone can check it. Go to the SEC’s home page and type in the company name. If it’s a privately held company or a smaller outfit with no track record, try your local Better Business Bureau or the company’s hometown chamber of commerce.

The “Tommy Boy” Syndrome

Many private companies are family owned. Keep in mind that moving up the corporate ladder at a family-owned business can be difficult. Your aspirations may be thwarted by the founder’s fondness for his dim-bulb nephew, who covets the same managerial job you do. On the other hand, a publicly owned company is controlled by a board of directors answerable to the stockholders. Key jobs are generally open to anyone with talent. People like you.

Sure, it’s a bit of legwork checking out a company’s financials and its business practices. But a little effort up front can pay big dividends down the road.

More Job Hunt 101 Reads:
Will You Be Hired or Fired By 2010?
4 Ways to Find a Job in This Economy
11 Ways to Find Women-Friendly Employers