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After months upon months of high-gear networking, sending
out your resume, and interviewing, you finally have a job
offer! After all that hard work, it's awfully tempting to
accept the new position and put your grueling job search
behind you. But, unless you have thoroughly researched your
employer and your prospective position, don't be so quick
to jump on board. As anyone who has ever had a deceitful
boss or a soul-sucking job will tell you, it's foolish to
blindly accept your first offer. Though it's advisable to
research potential employers before you even interview -
if not before you apply at all - the bottom line is that
you do your homework before you accept a job.
Begin by investigating the company as a whole. As you research,
be particularly mindful of whether the organization is compatible
with your moral and political beliefs, whether the organization
has growth potential, and whether the organization is financially
sound. The Internet, the library, and your alma mater's
career services office should be helpful. It's also savvy
to do a Nexis search for newspaper and magazine articles
about the company in question. Specific, helpful publications
include The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, Fortune, and
Business Week. Standard and Poor's corporation records and
Dun and Bradstreet reference materials are also helpful
directories. Don't forget to take notes!
Through your research you should be
able to answer the following questions:
- What is the organization's size as
compared to others in the industry?
- Is the organization's industry one
with a bright future ahead? (Make sure you're not thinking
of joining the modern equivalent of a company that mass-produces
phonographs or slide rules.)
- What was the organization's annual
sales growth over the past five years? What is the organization's
projected future success or growth?
- What is the complete line of products
and services that the organization provides? (Keep in
mind that many companies are parts of larger corporations
or own subsidiaries.)
- Where is the organization's headquarters?
- Where are the organization's other
offices, companies, plants, factories, or outposts? At
which of these locations would you be happy living and
- What is the organization's transfer
policy? (Could you be forced to transfer? Can you apply
to transfer? If you hate the cold, make sure the company
won't force you to work in their Juno, Alaska, office.)
- Does the organization sponsor or
donate money to particular groups, political parties,
or social causes? (Haven't heard of the groups who receive
money from your potential employer? Do some extra research
- if you are a card-carrying Green Party member, you may
not feel comfortable working for one of the GOP's primary
- What is the organization's history?
Who runs it, and what are their backgrounds?
Though digging up this kind of data
can be tedious, you'll be glad you did. You'll put your
potential work in context, and you'll evaluate whether your
prospective employer is financially dependable and aligned
with your value system. After all, you don't want to take
a job that you'll lose in a year when your employer declares
bankruptcy. Nor do you want to have to quit when you find
out you're morally opposed to the company's products, mission,
production methods, or political agenda. Both outcomes put
you right back at the beginning of your job search.
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