So you’ve decided to search for a new job. Maybe you’re looking for higher pay, more advancement opportunities or a better work environment. There are many reasons why nurses desire to make a job switch.

The job search can often feel like a daunting task. You need to prepare your resume and cover letter, network in the field, and prep for interviews with potential employers.

While it’s important to spend time polishing your resume and practicing your interview skills, don’t skimp on an important part of any job search – company research.

Researching a potential employer means more than just reading their job post and employee benefits summary. Many jobs sound great on paper. But it’s wise to make sure the company is a good fit for your career goals and work style. The job post may sound like your dream job; however, it’s important to make sure the organization you’ll be working for is also your dream employer and an organization where you can grow your nursing career.

Another key benefit for researching a company is that it helps you prepare for job interviews. Many HR managers will ask candidates directly what they know about the organization and why they want to work there. Answering these questions with “I want to impact patient health outcomes” isn’t enough to impress a recruiter. You want to be armed with good company research so you aren’t thrown off by these questions.

Here are a few key areas to consider when researching potential employers.

Culture Fit

The culture of an organization includes size, policies, atmosphere, brand, and goals. Start by exploring the company website and social media profiles. Does the company’s online presence feel conservative? Or does it feel innovative and fun? Some organizations have an HR section on their website where they post employee policy handbooks and benefits information. Read through these to get an idea of their attendance policy, time-off allowances, and fringe benefits. It can be difficult to assess the culture online, but it’s a great starting point.

Management Style

You’ll want to ask questions about the organization’s management style during your interview. Find out who you will report to and ask them how they describe their management style. Does the manager talk in terms of helping nurses succeed and advance? Listen carefully to the manager’s answers, because this person may be your manager if you get the job.

Employee Reviews

You can find more than product reviews online these days. Employees are reviewing their employers on websites like Glassdoor.com.

Another great resource is LinkedIn. Use it to search for current and past employees and connect with them to get their feedback on what it’s like to work for the company you’re considering. It’s worth it to do some digging and get insight from actual employees. This is inside information you aren’t likely to get from the HR manager during your interview.

Advancement Opportunities

Avoid stalling your career growth by using LinkedIn to find out if the company likes to promote employees from within. Ask your contacts about advancement opportunities. Read profiles of current employees to see if they have held a series of advancing positions while working there. If you land an interview, ask for examples of employees who have been promoted from the position you’re interviewing for.

If you’re a new nurse with dreams of advancing your career and education, you’ll want to be in a culture that promotes its talent from within.

Also be sure to research the health of the company. If it’s a hospital, is it growing? Are they keeping up with cutting-edge technology and offering the best patient care in the area? These are signs that you can grow your career right along with the organization’s growth.

By making company research a key part of your job search strategy, you are more likely to land in a job that will be a great fit for years to come.

Denene Brox

Denene Brox is a freelance writer based in Kansas City.
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