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August 14, 2009
Digging Deep

Think back to that crush you had in school. The cute guy with the letterman or leather jacket – depending on your preference. The girl that sat in front of you in Algebra class.


Now, imagine you finally get up the nerve to talk to them, only to find out they were nothing like what you expected. Sure, you try to pretend its true love, but in the end, you know it just wasn’t meant to be.


So, what’s the lesson here? Well, with a little research and digging, things might have turned out differently. Perhaps you would have learned from a friend that wrestler boy was seeing someone before you began writing his name all over your notebook. Or that you and psycho Algebra girl just weren’t right for one another. And then, just maybe, your high school experience wouldn’t have been so traumatic. Well, maybe less traumatic.


The point is this: Do your research before you put yourself on the line. Now try applying this lesson to your job search.


When you encounter a potential employer, it is your responsibility to find out everything you can about them. Examine them from the inside out and study their business.


The first step is getting an initial feel for the company. With the creation of Google, there isn’t any information that you can’t find out about a potential employer. Go to their website and browse for an hour or so. Take a look at their Blog (if they have one) and see how they think and what they believe. Go to the ABOUT tab and read their mission statement for clarification on exactly what their vision is. If you mentally or morally cannot align yourself with their goals and vision, then they probably aren’t the best fit for you.


Next, get to know their consumers and their products. You want to be as well-versed on their prospects and partners as possible before you apply and definitely before you interview. You never know what questions they’re prepared to throw at you. Do a little digging through their staff to find out if you know anyone at the company. Internal references are always a major asset.


Finally, use the tools at your disposal through social media and just good ol’ fashioned research and legwork. Check out their Facebook page. See what they’re Tweeting about. If you can really align yourself with what they’re broadcasting, then you might be a match made in heaven. But remember, if you honestly feel like your research has proven that you belong in that company, then it’s your duty to make them see the same thing in you.

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Jaci Russo is a co-founder and senior partner of The Russo Group, a national branding agency located in Lafayette, LA. She is a brand strategist with experience including strategic planning, consumer insight, brand management, national product launches, and media management for clients in a cross section of industries. She speaks to organizations across the country on the power of branding, changing the conversation, message training, and how to brand through social media.

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