Skip to Main Content

Career Planning: Choose Your Path

Module 3: From Application to Interview - Introduction

Module 3: From Application to Interview

There is a process to gaining employment. There are lots of questions related to what you should include in a job application, resume, or cover letter. How can you best prepare for an interview (live or virtual)? How many interviews should you expect to participate in?  Is there anything else you'll need to do as part of the hiring process?  Every company does things a little differently, but what you will learn in this module will provide you with the basics for the generally accepted standards across employers. 

Upon completing the research and activities in this module, you will:

  • Identify the essential elements of employment-related documents such as applications, cover letters, and resumes 
  • Recognize key factors related to job interview preparation


Researching Potential Employers

Where To Find Information On Potential Employers


Researching companies in your field is a good habit to get into. Here are some recommendations for finding information about potential employers

Surf the Company Site

The website is where you will find information such as the company mission, the 'About Us' page, news releases, services and programs provided and even employee recognition and newsletters/blogs. This also gives you a head up on their unique terminology. When it comes down to applying for a job there, if they refer to providing 'client relations', you would want to use that phrase instead of 'customer service' on your resume and cover letter. 

You also can get a history of the company. Information such as how long it has been in business, locations, and other details can help you formulate content for the "Do you have any questions for us?" interview question or could even help you prepare for one of the interview questions, such as "Tell us what you know about us and what we do."

Research Outside Sources

There are a variety of ways to learn about a company. Doyle recommends searching Google news results to see if the company shows up. This could bring up details about a corporate event—or a recent complaint.

To get the inside scoop on salary, interview questions, company info and reviews, be sure to swing by Glassdoor. Posts are anonymous, but offer a valuable way to learn more about what a company is like.

You may also want to set up a Google Alert using the company’s name (or your industry) to find out what’s new. This will help you keep on top of your knowledge of the company, and your field in general. Just make the alert name as specific as possible so you don’t get overwhelmed with results.

“Those mentions can be of great importance or some obscure detail giving insight into culture and mission,” says Bugni. “The obscure also makes for great interview fodder, ‘I saw your CEO won XYZ Golf Tournament for ABC Charity. I volunteered with ABC back in high school. What a small world!'” Again, a great conversation piece as long as the news is positive.

Follow Their Socials

Checking out a company’s social channels can give you a good feel for the company’s culture, the people who work there and news about the company and its industry.

Doyle notes with LinkedIn you can view first- and second-degree connections while also researching the company. Bugni suggests looking at specific employee profiles, because you can browse their memberships and affiliations, which will give you another layer for connecting.

When it comes to the company’s Facebook page, Doyle says, “It may give you a more casual perspective than LinkedIn or the corporate website.” Here, you can learn about company culture, events and even business reviews.

And don’t forget about Twitter: Monitoring their tweets will give you an idea of the information they value, trends they’re following and the way they present themselves. Pro tip: It would never hurt to like or re-tweet one of their posts around the time you apply.

Analyze the Competition 

Another great way to learn about a company is to consider it in a context with its competitors. Employ the same tactics outlined above, and check out sites like Crunchbase and Hoovers, to find out the latest news and information about similar companies in your field. “This will help you hone in on what’s unique and different about this story relative to what’s already being discussed in the market,” says David Capece, founder and CEO of the digital agency Sparxoo.

Knowing about your industry, as well as a company, is an invaluable asset. Even if you can’t spout off statistics on a company’s earnings or list names of their board of directors, staying in touch with your field—and knowing where you want to go in it—is a true pillar of advancing your career.