The importance of conducting thorough research is well known, but you really can’t do enough before application and interview stage. It’s vital that you are up to date on the latest industry news and know the ins and outs of the company you’re applying to. These details could make the difference between you landing your dream opportunity or being overlooked in favour of someone who took the time to brush up on the company’s competitors.

There are many benefits to completing thorough research – it will help you to make better choices and lay the foundation for successful applications and interviews. Finance recruiters name a lack of research as the main problem when recruiting otherwise suitable candidates.

A very common question at interview stage is ‘why do you want to work for us?’. If you are not prepared for this question with a genuine and logical answer, suddenly your academic achievements and previous experience might not be enough to pull you through.

Citing information given on the company’s website or stating broadly why you are interested in the role is not enough in this competitive market. You need to be able to demonstrate that you completely comprehend the organisation’s business, the industry that it is operating in, what obstacles it faces and the competition it is up against.

It is best to begin by researching the sector you are interested in. You can use the Inside Careers website to keep up with the latest industry news, as well as reading our finance and consultancy blogs.

There are many finance and consultancy specific websites and publications out there that you can visit and subscribe to – most have excellent student offers. Check out the following:

Actuaries

Insurance

Pensions

Banking

Accountancy

Tax

Consultancy

It is also worth subscribing to more general finance and economy publications such as The Financial Times and The Economist in order to stay on top of current industry news. Some firms have active news pages on their websites, so those are also worth checking out.

Visit our employer directory to make a list of the companies you are interested in. Find out what to expect during the companies’ recruitment process such as required degree, key skills or experience. You then need to be able to convincingly explain what it is about that particular company that appeals to you. It’s a good idea to set up Google Alerts for your favourite firms, so you can see if they’ve been mentioned in the news recently – great for interview preparation.

Once you have a list of companies that you are enthusiastic about, have completed the above research and can speak confidently about the company and the industry they are operating in, you can begin to use our handy checklist to make sure you have thoroughly covered all of your research areas.

You’ve taken enough tests and exams by now to know that it is better to be over than under prepared – the same rule applies for your first career step. Give yourself the best chance possible at securing the opportunity that’s right for you by swotting up and ensuring you make the right career choice!

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