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  • Hour glass icon15 minutes : 8 minutes reading | 7 minutes video

Expanding your knowledge of organisations

Identifying an organisation of interest gives you a starting point for further research. Your interest could have come from anywhere. Perhaps the career clusters, your warm network or from searching job boards. Using some of the tools we describe here, you can learn more about that organisation, related organisations and the sector in which they sit.

For this strategy, an assumption is made that you have a LinkedIn account. Whilst it is possible to use the strategy without LinkedIn, it is even more powerful if you have an account. For detailed support to create a LinkedIn profile, check out the resources in the Learning and Development section under Networking: online.

Researching organisations using web resources

Find out more about organisations and identify related organisations using different web resources, such as:

  • Google and other search engines
  • An organisation's website
  • Business databases
  • LinkedIn company pages

The video here gives an overview of the strategy using an example organisation from the career clusters.

A summary of the strategy can be downloaded here.

Making new connections on LinkedIn

Connecting to people at your target organisation

Finding people and browsing their profiles can be a useful exercise. It gives you an opportunity to look at the skills and competencies of people in those jobs. You can take some notes as part of your research.

But LinkedIn also gives you the opportunity to connect directly with people at your target organisation. Towards the end of the video clip above, we demonstrate how to do this.

Sending connection requests

You are free to send connection requests to anyone you find. However, you stand the most chance of a request being accepted if you have something, or someone, in common.

Two methods for finding people with a link to you are to use the alumni function and to target second degree connections. These are described below.

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When sending out connection requests, do be prepared that some people will not accept your invitation even when you target second degree connections and alumni. Don't take this personally.

Many people only accept requests from people they know. So be patient and identify others to connect with instead.

As you do make more connections, consider adding them to your network map for easy visualisation of who you know and what they do.

Remember, if you're new to LinkedIn, we have many other resources on LinkedIn in the Learning and Development section here. These include:

  • The basics of a LinkedIn profile: overview of the platform and creating a profile
  • Overcoming barriers to using LinkedIn: psychological, security and privacy concerns
  • Personal branding and positioning using LinkedIn: in-depth look at how to build an effective LinkedIn profile

Recording your findings

As you're exploring careers using this strategy, it is a good idea to record your findings as you go along.

You could create a log, table or database. This will allow you to easily return to your research when it comes to making decisions. It also allows you to critically assess your employment opportunities in light of what you might have learned about yourself in the Reflect section of the portal.

Ideally, you will find a match between your skills, strengths, interests and values, and the career you choose. Although some compromises might have to be made.

When recording your findings consider the following:

  • Organisation name and location
  • Job roles and titles
  • Relevant connections
  • Who you've contacted
  • Insights from conversations
  • Planned next steps

Here is a template table that you could use to record your findings.

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Next steps

This strategy, 'mapping your warm network' and 'searching job boards by skills' all converge at the same point - reaching out to others for more insight.

Speaking to people with knowledge of an organisation or sector is the most effective way to find out more about a career. It also builds your network and could lead to real job opportunities.

Networking in this way is extremely valuable and can help futureproof your career. Find out more about the power of networking and overcoming barriers to networking by following the links.

Meeting a person with the intention of discussing their career is also known as conducting an informational interview. We provide more guidance on how you could arrange these interviews and what you could ask, here.

Other resources you may wish to check out

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