Photo by YanivG

Information gathering is probably the single most important strategy for a successful job search. To find the job that’s right for you – and LAND IT! – you need information about:

  • Yourself – your skills, talents, abilities, expertise, preferences, work style, measurable results and impact, passions, what you love to do and do well
  • Jobs – available positions, possible positions that can use your abilities, positions you are hoping to move into, promotion opportunities internally
  • Industries – market trends, opportunities and challenges in your target industry/ies, companies that could need people with your experience and expertise, places you want to work because of their reputation, impact and/or kind of work they do
  • Specific employers – their purpose/mission/business, challenges, industry position, hiring practices, culture, expectations, management style, compensation levels, interview process
  • Your network – who you know who can help you with a specific position, give you insight into a specific industry, company or profession, and connect you to other people who would be willing to help you

Gathering this kind of information is easier than ever as the job search and career coaching field has gotten more digitally sophisticated. Here are the top 5 resources I use with many of my clients:

  1. SO MUCH MORE THAN NETWORKING. I can’t say enough about LinkedIn’s value as a place to gather information.   Find job postings and who you’re connected to at the company with the open job.   Be found by recruiters, by posting a complete profile (including skills that are the key words for any search). Learn about a company and see who you might be connected to at the company. Track industry news and trends through LinkedIn Today and Signal (LI’s Facebook-like news feed).  Establish a personal brand and reputation by joining groups and posting relevant content. Make new connections through those groups, and by tapping into your existing network’s connections.
  2. – GENERAL JOB SEARCH RESOURCE. This site gathers the best information and how-to advice from a wide range of career coaches, job search experts, and recruiters. You can get specific help on everything from creating a great resume to writing a compelling cover letter, and acing an interview. You also can join Career HMO, a subscription site specifically designed to give job seekers the practical and even emotional support you need, along with access to some of the best coaches in the business.
  3. COMPENSATION. Here you can find out what your market value is, based on your current or desired job title, location, education level, job scope and more. It’s free and is the go-to place for me when I want to help clients figure out their compensation range.
  4. INSIDER INFORMATION ON COMPANIES. I’ve found out about a company’s reputation, management style, hiring practices, interview questions, organizational structure, and more. I advise taking some of it with a grain of salt, because disgruntled people tend to post more than happy campers. You’ll have to separate the facts from the opinion. The facts are invaluable!
  5. INDUSTRY TRENDS & INSIDERS. Want to know the latest in recruiting practices and interviewing? Check out #TChat or #hrtechchat or #hirefriday or another hashtag with HR in it. You’ll find people with great blogs, people who tell it like it really is, and people who know the fields intimately. Want to find out who’s influential in your industry or community? Do a # search on Twitter and see who comes up. You’ll find people to follow and start to learn what is going on in various industries, from the point of view of the people who are hiring. Because it’s usually the HR and marketing people who are on Twitter – some of the very people you want to know. You don’t have to post anything yourself in order to get value from Twitter.

These are my top 5.  Many other resources exist out there. What are some of your favorites?