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Career Research Made Easy

Article By Carole Martin

Can you imagine the Internet going away and having to resort back to the old-fashioned way of doing things -- one page at a time, one file at a time?There is such a wealth of information available to you on the Internet. It's like having a huge, private library in your own home or office. The downside of this wonderful tool is having too much information. It is important to concentrate on a target. By staying focused on the task at hand, you will not stray down an interesting path, only to become lost and confused by information overload.

Finding a New Car -- The Process Is Clear

Georgia is in the process of buying a car. She intends to get the best buy for her money and will research the market before she makes an informed decision.

Here are the steps Georgia took:

Finding a New Job -- Room for Improvement

Georgia is also looking for a new job. She knows she should do some research, but she is not clear about the process. She checks the Internet and classifieds for job listings. She applies for jobs she is qualified for and waits to hear back.

Most people do a more thorough job of researching major purchases like a new car than they do researching a new job. Georgia has done an excellent job of selecting and finding the car she wants -- and she is very satisfied with the results. When it comes to the job, however, she has only skimmed the surface for information and may end up taking a job that she may be qualified for but does not really want. If she used the same thorough process she used to purchase her car, she would be surprised at the information she would uncover.

This is what Georgia should have done:

Decide on the Type of Job and Geographic Location.

Lack of focus is one of the biggest mistakes job seekers make -- the search is not specific and targeted. Begin with a thorough self-assessment to determine what you really want.

Research the Industry of Interest.

Which industries have trends toward growth? Which are declining? Check the Occupational Outlook Handbook and specific industry associations for future predictions.

Target and Research Companies.

Search company Web sites for mission statements, product and service information, principal's backgrounds and contact information. Check company financials through the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Talk to People.

Any opportunity to talk to people who are in the know will benefit you more than any Web site possibly can. Networking is still the favored source for job research.

Check Job Listings.

You can search hundreds of thousands of US jobs by industry, occupation and location right here on MSN Careers.

Investing time in research will pay off tenfold. The more information you have the better prepared you will be, not only to answer interview questions intelligently, but to ask questions as well. Conducting a thorough search of the industry, the company and the outlook will greatly improve your feeling of preparedness and confidence -- resulting in a stronger, more positive and lasting impression of you.

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