Researching Employers

(By Alicia Bervine, Anne Orange, and Jennifer Whetstone-Jackson. Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.)

Researching employers is perhaps the single-most important activity you will undertake in your job search. The information you uncover can help you:

  • Discover organizations that are a good match for you,
  • Identify the organization’s goals and needs,
  • Tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your skills and experiences that match the employer’s needs,
  • Know what questions to ask employers,
  • Demonstrate your interest in and enthusiasm for the organization,
  • Answer interview questions with confidence, and
  • Make an informed employment decision.

Unfortunately, many students overlook the importance of research when undertaking a job search or looking for an internship. In fact, it’s common for employers to complain that potential job candidates haven’t “done their homework,” and instead come into the interview with little or no knowledge about the organization. These candidates flounder, asking questions that could be easily answered by a cursory look at the company website or literature. Needless to say, they make a poor impression, because employers often assume lack of research means lack of interest.

Where should you begin?

Start by developing a list of organizations in which you might be interested—companies that have the types of jobs or do the type of work that interests you. These could be organizations that visit your campus for career fairs, information sessions, and interviews, or they might be companies you have identified on your own as potential employers. An added bonus: You may discover lesser-known organizations that might be a match for your skills and interests. (Having a problem with this step? Talk with a career counselor in your campus career center for direction.)

Research companies to obtain information in each of the following categories:

  • Organizational overview: age, size, financial outlook, growth, and structure
  • Trends/issues in the industry
  • Mission, philosophy, objectives
  • Public or private or foreign-owned
  • Location of plants, offices, stores, subsidiaries
  • Products and/or services
  • Names of key executives
  • Competitors
  • Sales, assets, earnings
  • Growth history and current growth activity
  • Current challenges
  • Major achievements and activity, issues, news
  • Career paths, training, benefits
  • Company culture

For specific industries or sectors, see:

  •, for brief information about manufacturers in 67,000 categories in the United States and Canada.
  •, for brief information on more than 1.8 million U.S. nonprofit organizations.
  •, for information on 71,000+ nonprofit organizations worldwide.
  •, for a list of federal agencies (click on “Find Government Agencies” on the home page).
  •, for a list of employer members (click on Chambers and then “Chamber Directory”).

Don’t forget the resources available in your campus career center: Check your career center for information about employers that recruit at your school. Finally, this list of resources is a starting point; never underestimate the power of a search engine. Simply “Google” the name of the organization you are interested in and see what information and news is returned!

Other Research Resources

Start with the organization’s website.
Well-constructed and comprehensive sites will have abundant information, and for the sites that are not as comprehensive, it is still important to learn what is there. This is what the organization deems most important for you to know.

Look at university libraries’ research databases.
These will have information not available elsewhere for free, including financials, industries, market news, trade data, and more. Choose the business databases for information for the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Some of the most relevant databases are, Dun & Bradstreet Million Dollar Directory, Thomson One, Business Source Premier, IBISWorld, and Mergent Online.

Check your public library.
Public libraries have online research tools available free with a library card. In the business category, you may find ReferenceUSA, with information for more than 20 million U.S. companies, including nonprofit organizations. Speak to a reference librarian for additional options to research organizations.

Look at social networking sites, including LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has become a leading source of inside information about organizations.

  • On LinkedIn, find companies of interest and once found, click on the “Follow” tab to receive updates posted by the company.
  • Join groups related to any career interest appealing to you.
  • Contribute to discussions and connect with other members.
  • Use the advanced search to find alumni working in companies in which you are interested.

Try the Employer Locator on Careeronestop.
Go to; in the site search window, search for “Employer Locator.” This is a U.S. government database of nearly 12 million U.S. employers with brief information about each. It’s a good resource for finding employers in a specific industry in a particular geographical location.

Look for small, independent companies in the local newspaper.

NOTE FROM UW-GREEN BAY CAREER SERVICES: Here is a link to a list of employers who will be attending UW-Green Bay’s Job & Internship Fair on Wednesday, March 4.  2015-SJIF-Vault-Profiles (Will open as a PDF)

Alicia Bervine is Program Manager, College of Arts & Sciences; Anne Orange is Career Librarian; and Jennifer Whetstone-Jackson is Program Manager, College of Engineering & Computing, at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Vault’s Top Internships for 2015!

Written by Frank Siano from

Did you know that 40 percent of all full-time hires in the U.S. are sourced through internship programs? This means that, for those looking to work for the most desired and admired employers in the country, internships are no longer a luxury but a necessity. That is why the Career Services at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is providing all students with free access to these trusted rankings!

Vault administered its Internship Experience Survey earlier this year to approximately 5,800 interns at 100 different internship programs. As part of the survey, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, respondents were asked to rate their internship experiences in five areas: quality of life, compensation and benefits, interview process, career development, and full-time employment prospects. These ratings were averaged to determine an overall score for each program and develop a Top Ranking.


Step 1: Login to your college/universities Vault Access Link.

Step 2: If you are an existing user, please enter your log in credentials under the “Please Log In” section. If you forgot your password or don’t know if you are a current user, click on the “Forgot Password?” link and follow the steps to resetting your account. If this is your first time to Vault, click on the “Create My Vault Account” link to register.

Step 3: Customize your account! We urge you to create a profile to the best of your capability to get viewed by top employers & recruiters, tailor your content, and apply for jobs and more.

Step 4: Get Started Now! Don’t delay, access Vault today. Check with your Career Center / Library for information on best using Vault. Feel free to search additional information such as our Vault Tutorial Video within our Support Center. Happy searching!


What I Did During My Summer Vacation

Grades have been submitted, Memorial Day has come and gone… it’s true, summer is officially here. Perhaps you’re still in recovery mode. Maybe you’re just starting to think about what you’ll do over the next few months. Many students may not realize “How Summer Can Change Your Future.” 

In The Wall Street Journal article written by Brett Arends, he addresses research that was conducted by Economic professors from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, the University of Pennsylvania and Auburn University.  I encourage you to read the article, as it gives a glimpse of what employers consider when reviewing candidates. To sum it up, what gave fictitious candidates the edge?  Their academic major?  Their GPA?  Nope. It was their summer internship. Noted in the article – “Candidates whose resumes could point to pregraduation work experience in the industry they were applying for were 14% more likely to get an interview. An English major with a middling GPA and a summer internship in a bank was more likely to get a job interview at a bank than an outstanding finance major who spent the summer touring Europe.” 

If you haven’t quite planned out your summer, it doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel. While many employers may have already hired their summer interns, there may be circumstances that have created last-minute openings – or – an employer may be seeking a part-time or summer/seasonal employee that would allow a student to gain experience in an industry or position of interest. Use the various resources available to you through Career Services. Log into your Phoenix Recruitment On-Line (PRO) account to search for positions. Career Services is open throughout the summer; you can call to make an appointment to have a staff member review your resume and/or cover letter or discuss your internship/job search strategy or go through a practice interview. Our website with links to various resources and information is available 24/7. Even if you aren’t able to secure an internship for summer, you may find opportunities for the fall.

Taking action today can help you later as you prepare to enter the competitive job search process.

Does College Prepare You for the Job Market?

Everyone knows that a Bachelor’s degree has pretty much become a prerequisite in the job market.  But did you know that employers are starting to feel like recent graduates are unprepared when it comes to hiring?  According to an article by Karin Fischer published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, employers find candidates with bachelor’s degrees to be under-qualified and ill-prepared.  Many of these employers are blaming colleges for the lack of preparedness, with over 30% ranking them as “fair or poor.”  But why is this?  What are we doing wrong?  And what can we do to fix it?

Fischer states that the breakdown between the goals college degree and the expectations of employers differ in regards to marketability.  She believes that colleges seek to prepare graduates on a broad scale, giving them a wide variety of knowledge and skills, whereas employers want candidates with specialized skills and specific knowledge.  Employers want a college grad to be trained and ready to begin working from day one. 

According to the survey in the article, as well as a survey of employers in the 2013 NACE Job Outlook, the most important (and lacking) skill for recent college grads is the ability to effectively communicate verbally.  Employers are looking for candidates that can speak their mind and give intelligent responses to questions and problems.  These skills are often overlooked, but can be very important in a job setting, as you will most likely be working with a group of people from time to time.  David E. Boyes is quoted in the Chronicle article as having said, “It’s not a matter of technical skill, but of knowing how to think.”  Developing critical thinking skills will allow you to make decisions and express yourself in an effective way. 

Here at UW-Green Bay we offer a wide range of critical thinking course as part of our interdisciplinary approach to education.  Consider taking Fundamentals of Interpersonal Communication (Comm-166) and Communication Problems (Comm-200) to develop and hone these marketable skills.  There are also numerous leadership opportunities in student organizations, including Student Government Association, Sigma Tau Delta, and other major related clubs.  Search the UWGB webpage for a list of all orgs offered on campus.  If you want to further develop on-the-job skills, try an internship.  The Career Services office can assist you in searching and applying for internships.  Check out the PRO website to browse local internship options.

The jobs market it always changing; there’s not changing that.  But how we adapt to it is entirely up to us.  Knowing which skills and assets are important to employers can help you better develop skills to meet these growing demands.  Stop by Career Services (SS 1600) to find out more about what you can do to prepare yourself for the jobs market and beyond.

What is an internship?

What is an internship?  For some people, the answer can be pretty tricky: What kind of work will I be doing?  Do I get paid?  How do I apply?  Does my field of study even have internship opportunities?  Luckily, the folks in the Career Services office know a ton about internships and what it takes to get them, too!  We would be happy to help point you in the right direction, just give us a call to set up an appointment.

If you want to do a little internship research on your own, the perfect place to start is the Career Services website.  Here we have a great list of information about internships and why they are important in career development.  An internship will allow you to take an active role in the organization you are involved with.  This real-world experience will give you a competitive edge in the job market by giving you valuable references and a practiced skillset that employers are looking for. 

If you are looking to start applying for internships, make sure to check out Phoenix Recruitment Online.  PRO has a variety of internships that are updated daily.  It is also easy to use!  Once logged on, you can fill out your profile, tailoring your interests and field of study so PRO can better match you to internships.  PRO even allows you to upload your resume, because some internships give you the opportunity to apply online. 

Get the ball rolling on your internship experience today!  Check out the Career Services website to see a Career Spot video extolling the benefits of internships and to get some useful tips.  The experience you gain from an internship in your field of study will be invaluable.  It is the perfect opportunity to gain contacts for networking and hands-on job experience.  The right internship will help you find your passion and may even help solidify your career choice.  Whether you are just starting to look for internships or ready to apply, Career Services is the place to go with all of your questions.  Find us in Student Services 1600.

P.S.  Also mark your calendars for the Spring Job and Internship Fair, coming February 27, 2013.

Fall Job and Internship Fair 2012

As students get back into the swing of things with classes, Career Services is busy getting ready for the Fall Job and Internship Fair.  This is a great event in which to meet area employers to discuss full-time, part-time, and internship opportunities.

The Job and Internship Fair will be held Wednesday, September 26 from 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM.  Be sure to prepare for the Fair by updating and printing copies of your resume.  Make an appointment with a Career Services professional if you would like help making sure your resume will stand out to employers.  It is also important to dress appropriately for the Job and Internship Fair.  SKIP THE JEANS!  A pair of neatly ironed dress pants and a button-down shirt with a tie for gentlemen, and a pants suit or knee-length skirt and blouse for ladies is always a safe bet.  Remember conservative business attire will help you appear professional and hirable.  This is the first time you will be meeting with a potential employer and first impressions are key.  For more information on appropriate Job and Internship Fair attire, visit the Career Services webpage and click “Dress for Success.”

There are also several other ways to prepare for the Fall Job and Internship Fair.  The Career Services webpage offers videos and articles from Career Spots that explain anything from making a great first impression to tips on how to successfully pitch yourself to a potential employer and more.  Be sure to check these out!

Tips to Remember When Drafting Your Resume

Looking to apply for a part-time position, internship, or post-graduate opportunity?

You will want to ensure your resume includes all necessary information and the layout allows for an easy, quick read for employers. The following items are important things you should be aware of when you draft your resume.


- Indicate the type of position you are seeking (part-time, full-time, internship). Keep your objective to the point. One or two sentences will suffice.

Example: To obtain a professional position within the area of Finance.


-List most recent education (UW-Green Bay) first if you are a transfer student

-Be sure to include majors, minors, and areas of emphasis


“Bachelor of Science, Expected Graduation Month, Year” – If you are not in your final semester

“Bachelor of Arts, Month, Year” (December, May, or August) – If you are in your final semester


      Bachelor of Science in Human Biology with Nutritional Science Emphasis, May 2011
      University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Green Bay, WI

-If you include your GPA, do not round up and use this format: 3.7/4.0 and do not use more than two decimal places.


-Remove any high school information a year after you graduate from high school since you have more recent, relevant education and experiences

-Use present tense verbs when describing duties for positions you currently hold. Use past tense when describing positions you no longer hold.

-When listing work history, be sure to list in chronological order, with most recent first. Include the following information:

  Position Title, Dates
  Company, City, State
  Accomplishments, duties, skills used

-You can split your experience into relevant and related experience to draw attention to positions or experience related to your major or to the position for which you are applying.


-For any activities or volunteer experience, place in chronological order, most recent first and use the following layouts:

                -Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity, UW-Green Bay, Green Bay, WI, September 2008-Present
                -Member, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Green Bay, WI, September 2009-March 2010
                -Participant, Intramural Football, UW-Green Bay, Green Bay, WI, October 2008 and 2009


-Do not include references on your resume. These should be on a separate sheet with the same heading as your resume. Visit to see an example.


-Do not include “I”, “me”, or “my” on the resume.

-If your resume will not fit on one page, be sure you do not split a position or your activities/volunteer experience onto two pages.


-Include your address, phone number and/or email at the top of your resume. Make your name an acceptable size so it stands out to the viewer.

-Move education to the top of your resume if you are looking for a position in your major.

-Resumes should ideally be one page long. You can adjust spacing, margins, layout, and font size/style to allow this.

-Be consistent with font size, style, spacing between sections, bullets and alignment.

Services Provided by Career Services at UW-Green Bay

Career Services Website:

Visit for more information regarding places to search for a job, along with examples of resumes, cover letters, and references. You will also find valuable information and videos about interviewing.

Schedule an Appointment

Career Services at UW-Green Bay encourages students to make an appointment with a staff member to review resumes and cover letters. The office also provides the opportunity for students to engage in a mock interview with a staff member to introduce them to the type of questions an interviewer might ask. To schedule an appointment, call 920-465-2163.

Upload Resume and Search for Positions on PRO

Students can upload resumes into the PRO system on the Career Services website. Some employers can view student resumes uploaded in PRO and may contact you about your interest in a position.

PRO is also a great way to view positions posted by employers.  Students can search on-campus, off-campus, internships, and professional positions along with community service within a certain industry or job function.

If you have any questions about information listed here, please contact our office at 920-465-2163 or email

Six Things to Do Before Your Internship Ends

Perhaps you’re in the final week or two of your summer internship.  This article, authored by Allison Green, provides advice to help you extend the various benefits of your internship.  View the complete article on the U.S. News & World Report web at: