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Determining Fit

by - The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service

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 working?
  • 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 donors.)
  • 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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