Guide to Employer Research

Quick Tips

1. Don't wait to do research until you are under job search pressure and are feeling budget constraints. Keeping up-to-date with employers you would like to work for and labor market trends is something you should begin doing as early as your freshman year. 

2. Don't depend on one website or resource for data. For example, cross check salary information with other reliable resources to assure consistency and accuracy. 

3. Don't pay money on the internet to purchase career books or videos without checking with career services staff or librarians. You have free access to quality resources and assessments. Additionally, be careful of any private information you provide on the internet when searching for career information. You may end up on solicitation lists and receive unwanted emails.

4. It is important to understand the basics about an industry. Is an industry expanding or contracting? How is technology impacting the industry? Why companies are the largest ones in the industry and where are they located? What is the rate of pay for the most skilled workers and executives?

5. Do research beyond the basic information that a company presents on it's website about products, services, employees, locations, and finances. This means you should look for materials such as recent articles about the company and public documents the company has submitted to the federal government. Consider the following:

  • What are the goals for the short term?
  • What are the challenges for the company? 
  • Who are the competitors for a company and what is their market share? 
  • What types of positions is the company posting and why are they posting them? 
  • Have there been any recent changes in management, lawsuits, downsizing, or changes in product/service lines? 

Using Your College Library & Librarians 

1. Find the Career Corner collection at the USF Tampa Library.

2. Ask a reference librarian for help in your search. Librarians know how to find "hidden" career resources. Ask about career-related databases, such as company databases and salary datasets. 

3. When doing a Google search, use the name of your library or university and the terms "career and libguide." A "libguide" is a template librarians use to create subject guides to find specific resources. 

4. Don't just search Google. Search the library's online catalog for books and videos using key words such as "careers" or "salaries." 

Suggested Resources

  • You will likely be able to find more information about public companies - companies that sell their stock on the market. Public companies make available their annual reports and other documents required by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the database EDGAR. Companies use the annual report to show the company in the best light. Private company's may also make annual reports available on their website. 
  • Finding the industry code will help locate industry information from the government. Businesses are classified using the North American Industry Classification System
  • Business databases provided by college libraries can be an excellent tool. You can utilize: Lexis/Nexis Academic, ABI/Inform, Business Insights, ReferenceUSA, Hoover Company Profiles, Mergent Online, D&B Million Dollar Databases, and Ward Business Directory of U.S. and Private Companies 
  • Plunkett's Companion to The Almanac of American Employers 2017 : Market Research, Statistics & Trends Pertaining to America's Hottest Mid-size Employers by Plunkett, Jack W. is a great example of a helpful electronic book available to students through the USF Library. 
  • Thinking about relocating? Check the Bureau of Labor Statistics Wage Data by Area and Occupation. Additionally, the World Fact Book and Cost of Living Calculators can be helpful.
  • Find salary estimates and job projections using the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
  • Career One Stop is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor and pulls state and federal data together regarding jobs, careers, and salaries. 
  • Follow companies you are interested in on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and additional social media.