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Finding the right job: 3 tips for doing your homework

by Jen Zhang on Sep 6, 2016

When you’re looking for a new job, there are so many things you need to keep in mind, to the point that it can be overwhelming. Just finding a career placement service (recruiting and/or staffing agency) that is well-respected and has expertise in your field takes time, as does looking for jobs and posting your résumé (via job search engines and social platforms like LinkedIn).

But once you’ve identified a job that you’re interested in, how do you determine if it really is a good fit? As a recruiter at AppLovin, I can offer a few strategies that can help you find a company that shares your priorities and values.

Spend some quality time with the company website

If you’re considering applying for a position with a particular company, don’t just scan the company’s website: read it closely. Does the site include information on company culture and values? Are there employee testimonials? Does the jobs page include information about benefits? Can you get a sense of the corporate culture from the blog? If the company has a press page, take the time to read the press releases (those will give you an idea of the company’s overall direction), and then of course read any articles about the company, including those that are written by or quote the company’s executives.

Reading rather than scanning the company website will give you a great insight into whether or not you’re aligned with the company’s values, mission, and brand, and if you do decide to apply for a position with it, then you’re armed with information that you can use to tailor your résumé and cover letter.

Drill down into the company’s social networking presence

These days most companies are active on Twitter and LinkedIn at the very least. You can learn a lot about a company based on its tweets (Do their tweets  have a sense of humor? Who does it follow and retweet? Do they post content that is interesting?). Same thing with LinkedIn. And then with LinkedIn, don’t just look at what the company has posted — look at the company’s employees’ profiles. Do they seem like people you’d have things in common with? When you look at the profiles of the company’s executives, what can you glean about their leadership style? When you’re learning about a new company and trying to determine if its culture is a good fit for you, there’s nothing quite like its social networking presence for insight.

Utilize your own network

And while we’re on the subject of social networking, use yours to uncover any connections you might have to people who have experience with the company. Obviously if you know someone who already works there (or has in the past) and you feel comfortable doing so, you should reach out and ask them questions about the company. And if you know someone who knows someone, leverage that connection by asking for an introduction — after all, that’s what LinkedIn is for!

Once you have connected to people who know the company, ask about the company culture, leadership, and benefits and perks. Smart, thoughtful questions will likely impress that person, who will then be more likely to give a referral if you ask one. (Trust me — if someone at AppLovin says, “So-and-so is applying for X position. I talked to her a bit about the company in general, and she seemed really smart and on-the-ball,” I listen and give the applicant’s résumé a second look.)

When I talk to candidates, I can always tell if they’ve done their homework on the company, and it matters. If they can ask informed questions about the company, I know that they care enough to find not just a good job, but a good job that is a fit for them personally — and that sensitivity is good for everyone. But demonstrating that they’ve done their homework also shows perseverance and critical thinking skills — and those are always characteristics we’re on the hunt for, no matter what the position.

Jen Zhang is a technical sourcer at AppLovin.

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