The Importance of Industry Research in Executive Job Search: How to Stay Up-to-Date and Informed

The Importance of Industry Research in Executive Job Search: How to Stay Up-to-Date and Informed

Get Paid to Share Your Expertise

Help shape the future of business through market research studies.

See Research Studies

You may be tempted to simply apply for a job in your industry without researching trends that will shape that field in the present and future.

After all, you already work in that field, so you have nothing new to learn, right? 

Of course, this isn’t the ideal job-hunting mindset for anyone, not even if you’re already in the field. Performing industry research in your executive job search makes you better prepared in many ways. 

For instance, research tells you which companies are making waves in the field. You could discover new power-player organizations you’d never heard of before that end up having interesting open positions. Or do you mind learning that the up-and-coming organization you almost worked at six years ago is floundering? 

What’s more, you’ll be ready for questions you might be asked in the interview process, like “What trends do you think will shape our field in the next five years?” 

Finally, you’ll be current on job-search trends in your industry. This knowledge can range from the seemingly mundane, like if professionals in your field use head-and-shoulders headshots in their LinkedIn profiles, to the more important, like if your peers include work portfolios in their job application materials. 

Now you understand the value of researching industry trends. How can you get started with your exploration?


Start by researching your field.

If you want to stay in the field you already work in, performing industry research will be easier than if you’re shifting fields.

Likely, you’re already familiar with new developments in your field, changing expectations in the industry, or novel technological innovations modifying elements of the field. 

However, many of us fall behind with the newest field developments, and job searching pushes us to stay current. 

You also want to consider areas of growth in your industry, as well as current and future heavy-hitters in the industry. You’ll undoubtedly want to be aware of opportunities, challenges, and problems on the horizon, as well. 

Publications like Financial Times and The Economist are smart places to start. CareerOneStop also recommends reading the following trade publications in performing industry research: 

  • National Trade & Professional Associations
  • Standard and Poor’s Register of Corporations, Directors & Executives
  • The Macmillan Directory of Leading Private Companies
  • Ward’s Business Directory of Major U.S. Private Companies


Next, research job-hunting and hiring expectations.

Even if you only applied for a job a few years ago, hiring trends have likely shifted in the industry as a whole and in your specific field. 

So, you want to read up on hiring trends in your industry. For instance, how long should your resume be? What kind of information should you include on your LinkedIn? How valuable are your skills, and do you need to acquire any new capabilities to make your application more persuasive?


Make a list of companies to research.

Once you’ve done your preliminary research, it’s time to move on to company-specific investigation.

Before you start reading about specific companies, it’s a smart idea to figure out what you want your next company to be like. 

Do you want to work at a small, medium, or large organization? What would your ideal company culture look like? What is your ideal balance of traditional and flexible work arrangements? If you already know what you want, you’ll be less likely to be entranced by a company that’s totally wrong for you by offering appealing bells and whistles. 

Once you have this information, too, it will also be easier to search for organizations that fit your bill. 

“Google is your best friend while researching the target industry and companies. Look for the Best of List, e.g., Best small companies to work for…Fortune 100, 500, and 5000 companies, Best companies for Women, Best companies in Pharma,” said career coach Sahasha Namdeo. 


Talk to employees at your selected companies.

You can often get a basic understanding of an organization by reviewing its website and social media profiles, as well as articles about the company in trade publications.

But you’ll never have a clear sense of what an organization is really like until you speak to its employees. 

So, identify employees who either hold roles at your level or slightly above yours. You can connect with these individuals on LinkedIn. 

Even better, find individuals who do the same job you would be doing across organizations. By reading their bios and comparing their position responsibilities, you’ll be able to decide which organization is your primary objective, secondary targets, and so on. What’s more, you’ll have an understanding of what others in your role are earning (and, ideally, what they’re earning) when you do start interviewing for your next position. 

If you can’t connect with someone who can give you the inside scoop on a company, you can also peruse employee review websites that often share information about benefits, company culture, flexibility, and other perks.


Performing Industry Research in Your Executive Job Search


Understanding both your industry and pinpointing the companies that interest you most is key to a successful job search.

Not only will you be more likely to be satisfied in your work if you know exactly what you’re looking for, but you’ll be more likely to receive a job offer if you demonstrate your familiarity with the field and your job. 

Not sure what you’re looking for in your next company? Consider reaching out to one of Ivy Exec’s job coaches. They can help you figure out your “must-haves” to be satisfied at the next place you work.

Ivy Exec
About the Author
Ivy Exec

Ivy Exec is the premier resource for professionals seeking career advancement. Whether you are on the job, or looking for your next one - Ivy Exec has the tools you need.

Similar Articles

Show more