AAU Career

Research

Research is significant. Whether you need to find a contact for a project-oriented course, or want to find a company where you can apply for a job, research is the great way to begin your search.

It is important that you explore the company's terms, business, organisation, values, visions and everything else that is part of creating an overall impression of the company. Having done that, it will be so much easier for you to e.g. write a targeted application and adjust your CV so that it hits the bull's eye and enthuse the company.

It takes time and effort which is why a lot of students don't bother. But if you take your time to research well, it may pave way for new opportunities.

➡ On this page, we will help you get started by brainstorming some questions you can use, and some places you can look.

Trust us: This may open doors for you!

Research – hit the ground running

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    How do I "answer" the workplace's needs?

    It may seem obvious, but remember that your application and your CV are ‘answers’ to an often quite vague ‘question’; the job advert.

    Your research should help you make ‘the question’ a little more concrete, making your answer as relevant as possible to the recipient.

    If you can identify what the company is looking for – or to what questions they want answers – your chances of succeeding with your application increases.

    It may seem somewhat complex and time consuming to focus so much on each company in which you want to apply, but it is precisely this very close understanding that will make you able to live up to the godfather of buzz-sentences within CV and application: "Stand out from the crowd”.

    It is the fact that YOU with YOUR competences can solve a task in YOUR way – and that you are able to convey this fact to company – that makes you stand out.

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    How do I research?

    Research is an analytical discipline.

    Your most important tool when you are researching is one of the things that you have trained and used during your time of study; your ability to analyse.

    Basically, this skill enables you to find, understand and organise information so that you are able to respond to the company’s request. This also applies, when you are researching an unsolicited position – though some of the information is not readily available.

    Even when the company itself has defined some of the tasks they want solved, it can be difficult for the applicant to know what is meant by the words in the ad.
     

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    How can I use sub-questions when researching?

    Dividing the research into smaller bites can be a great advantage, making things a bit more manageable.

    Therefore, set up some sub-questions for your research of the company:

    • How do they make money?
    • How are they organised?
    • What does [insert words from the job posting] mean in their organisation?
    • What are their core values?
    • What role does the contact person in the ad have in the company?
    • Who ultimately decides the direction for the "company" - is it, for example, politically controlled?
    • How do they communicate?
    • How is their "culture"?

    The above are just examples of questions you can ask yourself to get as three dimensional a view on the company as possible. Maybe you won’t need to answer each and every question, but the method helps you to get an impression of the company - and thus it gives you the opportunity to communicate as clearly and relevant as possible in your application – and perhaps eventually in an interview. 

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    Where should I start my research?

    Here are some great places to start your research:

    • The job posting (for solicited position)
    • The company's website
    • The company’s LinkedIn profile
    • The company’s social media profiles

    This will show you how the company sees itself, how they communicate about themselves and which "language" they speak. For example, there is a good probability that they have a different way of speaking in a private sales company than in a public administration.

    Understanding their language gives you an opportunity to communicate clearly with them. Clear communication is when the message is received clearly by the recipient. It does not necessarily mean that you have to ‘reduce’ your language to short sentences and words with few syllables. The person you are talking to might as well understand technical or academic terms, which in that case would be the most accurate use of language.

    See how the land lies, is the message here - both in writing and in speech.

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    What other places can I search for knowledge?

    The next steps in your search for knowledge could be:

    • JobIndex' archive function, where you can find previous entries from the company
       
    • LinkedIn, where you can find out which other professions they have employed in the company (by finding their company page) - including the contact person in the job ad. It is also an opportunity to see how the company profiles itself on social media.
       
    • LinkedIn's alumni function which allows you to see what others - with your education - are working with. Here you can for example find inspiration for how you can communicate your skills or see how others describe a similar work function in another company.
       
    • Infomedia, where you can find current articles and news about the company.
       
    • Call the contact person in the job posting - but only if you have something relevant to ask about. Otherwise, it may have the opposite effect of what you hoped.
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    How can I use my research in my application and CV?

    Once you've found answers to some of the above questions, you'll need to show that you can use that knowledge for something. Therefore, you need to find out what you can do to help the company with what challenges you’ve identified in your research. The hard thing about this exercise is that you have to talk about it on the company's terms. In the CV you need to include your most relevant experiences and express it in a way that makes it clear why you mentioned it. To do this, it can be a very good idea to incorporate a profile text that can help clarify how your different experiences create your collective profile.

    Read about the cv

    In the application, it is important that your point of departure is the company and not yourself. You are of course the second most important ingredient in the application – second only to the company. A fairly simplistic rule of thumb that can help keep a focus on what the company does and needs is that you start your sentences with ‘you’ or the company name more than ‘I’. It can help make the application less of a biography and more of an ‘answer’ to the company’s needs.

    Read about the application

Inspiring stories about the importance of research

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