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Most people are aware that their smart-phone, tablet or computer are invaluable devices when it comes to conducting a serious job search. Since the hiring process seems to be permanently moving towards the digital world it would be unwise to ignore the help our computers can give us. We can use computers to craft resumes, cover letters and emails. We can also find and apply for job openings. These are all valuable and necessary activities but our computer is capable of so much more that can provide an edge in today’s competitive job market.

Using a computer to research a company is an under-utilized job search technique. Companies use their websites to post job openings but there is often other useful information to be found by the motivated job-seeker. For example;

· Companies often have a career or “Work With Us” section on their website which is used to recruit talent. This can provide valuable insights about company culture and will often provide historical or contextual information that can help you with answering the common interview questions of “Why do you want to work here ?” and “Tell us what you know about our company?”.

· Many organizations have a blog which will often provide information about day-to-day operations, challenges, opportunities, statistics and plans. There can be announcements of expansions, promotions and retirements which all can indicate that they will soon be hiring. The style of how a blog is written can also provide further insights in regards to company culture. Some blogs are very formal and conservative while others are more free-spirited. All this can help you target your resume, craft your cover letter and prepare thoughtful answers (and questions) for a job interview.

· Some businesses have abandoned their blogs in favour of a social media presence. Facebook and Twitter allow a business to get information out quickly without having to go through the process of updating their website or writing and editing a blog post. Because of this it has become important to follow a company you have targeted on social media in order to get the latest news. Social media also offers up the potential for you to interact directly with an organization during your job search. As well, many businesses use YouTube channels or podcasting which offer even more potential avenues for research.

People complain that technology has minimized the opportunities for networking and relationship building in the job search process. This is partly true but the Internet has also made it possible to conduct research in an efficient way. What was once hidden in outdated brochures, hard-to-find company newsletters and dusty library books is now a click away.

If you have targeted a specific company and are only looking at their website for new job postings – you could be missing a chance to gain that one piece of information that could get you an interview or job offer.