Decoding the Job Postings

Job seekers know, it’s brutal out there.  Giving yourself every advantage in your search for employment plays a vital role in landing the job you desire. That being said, in a media savvy world, there really is no excuse not to investigate and find out everything you need to know about a prospective employer before you ever walk through the door for your first interview.

But in reality, very few people spend the time and energy needed to accurately research a company in a way that will positively impact their interview, the company, and their own potential employment.

If you are serious about wanting the job, you must do more than just apply with a wait and see attitude. In the current employment environment, you have to give before you get that job. Begin by actively researching the company BEFORE you submit your resume. Companies are looking for those diligent candidates who are willing to put in the work right from the beginning. Don’t just go to the company’s website and look around for a minute or two. Really check them out. Locate, read, and dissect their mission statement, vision, and goals.

Also check out the “Career” section of their site. Some corporations may not have much of anything here, while others will offer you a step-by-step guide to their hiring process. I have even seen companies with videos of actual employees by region and job talking about the company and of course how much they love their position. Use this information to your advantage! Companies such as these are basically spelling it out for you. Some even show you what they want you to wear.

Now what happens if all you have is the company’s vision and mission statement? Read. Read. Read. You want to know what that company stands for, believes in and expects from their employees. When you begin to truly study different companies, you will find that 3 main threads tend to run through any given company.

Look to those threads as an indicator of the company’s values and ideals. You will know what a company values because the words and phrases that indicate their values will be repeated throughout. Once you’ve located these words or phrases, figure out ways to incorporate them into your resume in a manner that applies to you and your particular skill set. Then, once you land the interview, reiterate these core values and ideals during the conversation with your potential employer.

In addition to helping you better understand the company for which you are aspiring to work, your research will guide you in your decision on what to wear. The clothes you select for the interview are an important part of the overall impression you are working to create. Just as you tailor each resume you submit to highlight the areas of strength that a particular company wants, so too should you change what you wear to an interview.

If a company talks about tradition, strength, and always being there, a traditional suit in neutral colors will reflect those words in your clothing. If a company mentions sharing, friendliness, and teamwork, consider clothes which are less stuffy than a traditional suit and try incorporating colors such as blue for friendliness and green for calmness.

Keep in mind, the research you do is really just as much for you as it is for them. If a company’s website and overall tone doesn’t match where you truly want to work, then you know going in that this job may not be a perfect fit.

No matter what position you are going for, no two companies are the same; so don’t make the mistake of approaching them the same way. Do your research and tailor yourself to each company’s needs. It’s one of the strongest ways to communicate that you are a great fit and that the candidate they’ve been searching for is right there in front of them.

Alison Craig is an author, speaker, and the CEO of 3 Impressions, Inc, an impression management firm. The 3 Impressions SM ideology of Craig’s transforms individuals and corporations from a mundane, mainstream existence to a place that reflects a zealous, passionate, and free spirit with a distinct and focused direction, leading to a life lived on a level unattained by many. For more information, visit