The benefits of having a solid and effective resume can greatly improve the chances of employers noticing your attributes as a potential candidate, and also get you called in for an interview. But how do you get your resume noticed by employers in the first place?

With the job market moving online, companies now receive hundreds of resumes for every position they post, and these applicants can be from all over the world. However, many of these applicants are simply submitting their resume to any position without really taking the time to customize it.

By conducting thorough research on a company prior to applying for a position, you will stand out from the crowd because you’ve taken the time to show the hiring manager that you are not only a great fit for the role, but that you are also a great fit for the team and their company culture.

Here are three Research steps to complete, in order to give you that extra edge:

1. Research the company

Browse through the company website, specifically the “About Us” page. Look for their mission statement, values, and keywords to incorporate into your resume and cover letter.

Google the company to find news articles that have been written about them. This is a great way to find out what the company’s current projects are, or if they had any particularly large successes (or failures) in the past that have been reported on.

Download the company’s annual report. All public companies are required to have an annual report that is available to the public.

If you are applying to a private company, they may still release an annual report, or you can research any press releases or fact sheets on their website to gain some additional information.

These documents will show you the company’s successes and challenges, and you can begin to see where your skills will act as a benefit for them.

2. Research the hiring manager

Search LinkedIn to find the profile of the Hiring Manager. Researching the company will ensure that you are a great fit for the entire team, but you also have to make a connection with the Hiring Manager in order to land the position.

By checking out their professional experience on LinkedIn, you can find similar interests that you can discuss in the interview.

Search the Hiring Manager’s social and professional networks. Your goal is to find out if you know any of the same people. Check the Hiring Manager’s connections on LinkedIn, their friends on Facebook, and even who they follow on Twitter.

Finding a common ground between yourself and the Hiring Manager is not always possible, but it can be a great asset.

3. Research the employees

Once again, use LinkedIn to find employees of the company. LinkedIn will provide you with a full list of the company’s employees that are members of the site, but you want to focus on those who are in similar positions to the one you are applying for.

Does your resume match up? This is how you can get a realistic representation of the skills and experience that the Hiring Manager is looking for.

What is written in the job posting is generally just the minimum qualifications, and checking out what the other team members have can ensure that you know exactly what they’ll be looking for.

Ask yourself three main questions:

  • Have you completed the same level of education as the other employees?
  • Do you offer the same number of years of experience?
  • Have you held similar roles in the past?

This research will benefit your job search in two important ways.

One – you will be able to gain an extra edge over the other applicants by showing the Hiring Manager that you’ve really done your research, and also that you’re sincerely interested in working for the company.

Two – you will also be able to determine for yourself, if this is the type of company you should apply for. Though many people in the job search process are anxious to enter any position that lands in their lap, for those of you who are able to be a bit picky, this is a great way to ensure that the company will be able to offer you the experience you are looking for.

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