Your resume is drafted, edited, beautifully formatted, polished, and ready to go. But before you complete the application process—including fine-tuning your cover letter —do a little research and find answers to the four questions listed below.
1. Who’s in charge of the decision?
Review the job post carefully and examine the employer’s website, including the “careers” page and the company directory. Look for any clues that might point you to the specific person—or people—who will be making the final decision about this position. Possible contenders include the director of the department, the manager of this specific division, or the person you’re submitting your application to.
You may choose to send your application directly to this individual, but even if you’ve been instructed otherwise, it can’t hurt to know a bit about the person who will have the final say.
2. Who will be your boss?
This answer may or may not differ from the one above. Usually the person who will be managing the candidate, taking responsibility for her work, and sitting in an office beside her every day will also be a person with a decisive vote in the selection process. But sometimes things don’t work this way, and the candidate may be chosen by a group or committee and then assigned to a specific manager. If this is a likely possibility, try to learn something about your potential boss before you roll the dice.
3. Where will your workplace be located?
Read the job description carefully. Sometimes company headquarters are centered in once place, but a specific position might be located somewhere else. If this matters ( which it probably does , since you’ll be commuting to this destination every single day), investigate and confirm. There’s also a possibility that the position will move or shift between one location and another. Orient yourself before you become too invested.
4. What exactly does this company do?
This may seem like a silly question and for some professions, the answer is obvious. If you’re a belt buckle salesman working for a belt buckle company or a giraffe biologist working for a zoo, you don’t really need to do much further research.
But accountants, marketing managers, IT technicians, social media experts, business developers, regional managers, personal assistants, communications gurus, and all kinds of other jobs are applicable to companies across multiple industries. If you learn as much as possible about this specific industry and how its business model works, you’ll be better positioned to ace your interview and handle the challenges of the job.
Once you’ve answered these questions, go back to your resume and cover letter and see if a little customization can help you make your case. As always, the Cover Letter Builder and Resume Builder on LiveCareer can help you present your credentials with organization and style.