1. LinkedIn – Former Colleagues
Most people think of LinkedIn as a networking platform or job board but there is a powerful research component you might be missing if you haven’t spent your research hours here. If you’re in the exploratory phase of your job search and trying to understand which opportunities exist for someone like you, have a look at the profiles of past colleagues or people who have worked at the same companies as you, earlier in your career. (To do this: Click “connections” and then filter by company).
Where did they end up? Are there any common themes in the types of companies or roles they moved into? You can take it one step further and reconnect with these old colleagues to do a little networking or catch up over a quick call. This is a great way to get on other peoples’ radars with the shared interest of moving out of the shared company in question.
2. LinkedIn – Companies
If finding the perfect company fit is more your goal, LinkedIn also provides ample resources. You can search using the main search bar and selecting “Companies” from the dropdown. A simple keyword search will then bring up all the relevant companies on LinkedIn. Take some time to follow companies of interest and spend time on their company pages. You’ll even be able to sample job openings and identify your connections employed by the company. This is a great tool for building out a networking strategy especially once you find your dream company.
3. LinkedIn – Special Interest Groups
If I were to select the most under-utilized LinkedIn feature, it would probably be LinkedIn Groups. Most people don’t see the value in groups but this can be a hidden gem where research is concerned. LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups and it’s to your benefit to do so. Consider trying groups outside the professional realm and more around your interests. Once in the group, have a look at the other member profiles to see what others, with a similar interest our outlook have ended up doing in their careers. You might be surprised at what you uncover. When you find an intriguing profile be sure to tag it and set a reminder for follow up. If you are able to leverage the common interest group for a phone call or informational interview, this is the best-case scenario.
4. Job Titled
JobTitled.com is a great resource for anyone in need of research around the various titles that exist and corresponding career paths. Visually simplistic and similar to Google, this search engine allows you to gain insight into a plethora of titles you may come across on LinkedIn or in the online search. It provides information on salary, education requirements, career level, trajectory and industry to name a few. It also provides alternative or synonymous titles – which will be very useful in uncovering hidden opportunities when you’re conducting your online job search.
Indeed is a great resource that I promote for the online job search but did you know it also offers incredible resources when it comes to research? If you scroll to the very bottom of any page, in the site footer – you’ll find tiny links to some major career management topics. The research tools available include: salaries, industry trends, and even forums filled with job seekers sharing insights around the hiring process for specific companies.