Dear Career Hunters,

Please stop spamming every employer who posts a job opening with your resume. Employers can easily tell the difference between a candidate who has done his/her research and one is who just throwing darts at a board to see which one sticks.

Consider just how many applicants each job posting gets. If you’re not doing any research on the companies you apply to, your potential employers will be able to make clear distinctions between your generic resume and cover letter and the other well-thought-out declarations of wanting to work for their specific businesses. The importance of researching a company before you apply cannot be understated.

Doing your research helps you to customize your cover letter.

Just in case this point hasn’t already been made clear, you need to customize your cover letter for every employer you apply to. Yes – every one! Each person who reads your cover letter should get the impression he/she is the only person you’re interested in working for. This entails making mentions about specific facets of the business and even finding the exact person your letter should be addressed to.  

On TheMuse.com, Richard Moy offers some insight on how to locate the recipient of your cover letter and resume. “Job descriptions often tell you who you’d be reporting to, and LinkedIn makes it fairly easy to match a title to an actual human being,” he explains, “If you can’t find a contact for some reason, you can check a company’s About Us page…Know this: Any name’s better than no name because it shows you took the time to find it.”

Your research will make you much better prepared for your interview.

Remember – all job interviews are conversations. The hiring manager isn’t the only one who should be asking the questions. It’s important for you to come to your job interview prepared with questions as well. Realize the company is also being interviewed to determine if it’s the right place for you to work.

“The best way to understand a company is by asking the right questions in an interview,” writes Nicole Cavazos on ZipRecruiter.com, “If you’ve already figured out your wish list, this should be fairly easy. Don’t overwhelm a prospective employer with a barrage of questions all at once, but when it’s your turn, ask about their managing style, what they enjoy best about working there and how would they describe the company’s culture.”

Researching a company helps you learn whether or not you want to work there.

Why take the time to apply to a company you may not be a good fit for? Why spend the time sending your cover letter and resume if you’re not that interested in the business? Finding the right job entails discovering details about a company’s culture, its policies – even its location! Doing your research should include connecting with current employees, if possible. What better way to find if it’s the right place for you?

“Take out a piece of paper and grab a pen,” Moy instructs, “Then, write down three non-negotiables about your next company that you think would influence whether or not you’d accept an offer. Tape that list to a place you’ll see it every day and refer to it whenever you’re considering a job.”