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How to Research Companies when Preparing to Start your Job Search

Written by A. Woelk-Webb, Employment Specialist with Next-Steps Employment Centre – Dundas-Dixie

Quick tips to help you research companies.  Do they meet your needs?


Use a directory of companies and start by researching 10-15 companies in your industry. Search for companies which meet your job needs: size of company, location, variety of positions within company.

  • Scott’s Directories: An an extensive suite of online databases to assist you in reaching the right businesses and people quickly and easily. Their 100% verified databases offer in-depth profiles that are searchable by key business metrics in order to segment your audience for maximum relevance.  Free to use at all of the Next-Steps Employment Centres 
  • Canadian Company Capabilities:  Find companies within the right market, industry, and field.  Browse the websites Specialized Directories for more in-depth info.
  • 211 Ontario – An online database of Ontario’s community and social services. You can find listings & information on all non-profit organizations


Research each company and document your results.  Be sure to include anything interest you and why you should consider them.

  • Visit each company’s website, social media accounts, and any web related content
  • Glassdoor: This website has employee reviews from over 39,000 employees. Read their reviews as all company reviews are contributed anonymously by employees.
  • Check to see if anyone in your existing network works for these companies; contact them.
  • Seek out people who work for the company by contacting them on LinkedIn, e-mail, private message, or by phone.  Browse your connections and ask for an introduction.
  • Check company website and LinkedIn to see if there are any current openings / job postings
  • Compare your resume’s content with what you see in the job posting
  • Prepare a customized cover letter to accompany your tailored resume
  • Send your customized documents and follow up with a phone call to confirm they were received
  • Set up an Information Interview with someone in the company, ideally a manager or someone who is in a similar role to what you hope to be doing. Suggest a 15-20 minute appointment at their location or over the phone. Come prepared with relevant questions.  Read LiveCareer’s 75 Questions to Ask During an Informational Interview for some ideas.
  • At the end of each Information Interview ask for two other people you can contact
  • Send thank you emails to each person who helped you


Reflect & review your findings to determine what needs tweaking

  • Telephone pitch and manner? Have you refined what you say on the phone and is it clear why you are contacting?
  • Resume and cover letter? Are both tailored for the type of jobs offered by that company? Have your documents been examined for correct grammar, punctuation, vocabulary?
  • Have you contacted companies more than once if you were unsuccessful the 1st time? Try it again and see if you get a better result the 2nd time around
  • What types of companies are you researching? Consider looking at different types of companies (ie. Private vs public sector, small vs. large size companies, etc.)


For more information, job search assistance, workshops, resources, hiring events, and much more, visit

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