Investigate careers in various sectors

If you have some ideas of where a career outside of academia might take you, the following section provides information and links to research the sectors, industries and companies where your next position may be found. Being in the know about industries and employers will also help you network and find opportunities. If you need to get oriented and find out what fields and sectors might be right for you, you may want to start with the “Find Your Focus” section first or book and appointment with a Career Counsellor.

Contents in this section include:

  • A primer on doing industry and company research
  • Links to labour market information and job ad sites
  • Tips on how to develop a strategy to get the career you want

Research Sectors, Industries, Companies and Specific Careers

Before launching into a job search and sending out a batch of resumes, knowing about the places you are applying to is a great way to tailor your approach and focus your efforts. Doing solid company research allows you to be selective and to target companies that reflect your interests and values and develop an effective strategy to maximize your job search success.

The Wide Angle – Sectors and Industries

Before you begin to research specific companies, scan the horizon first by gaining some general industry knowledge. Read trade and business magazines as well as the business news to keep up-to-date on industry news and trends. Find out if your industry of choice has a sector council. These councils, which cover everything from seafood to steel, are where you’ll uncover who the key players are and the challenges facing the industry. This article contains information on sector councils and a list of links to specific sector councils near the bottom.

Find the organizations representing the interests of the industry and / or profession you are interested in. These associations have resources, events and great potential for making new contacts and networking. 

The Zoom - Companies

Once you have focused in on an industry, it's time to do some basic company research. Use company directories, which give brief profiles and contact information for privately and publicly held companies, to make a list of organizations to further investigate.

Research Canadian companies in your industry of interest using this government web site – Canadian Company Capabilities. Use this information to identify the companies you may want to work for, get company profiles, contact information and links to company web sites.

Find manufacturing companies using this directory of industrial suppliers and manufacturers by specific services or goods

The Career Center and University of Toronto Libraries also have a variety of industrial directories for researching companies. Other ideas for conducting company research can be found in this tip sheet.

The Close-Up

The next step is understanding a company’s key products and services, any new and upcoming projects, its clients and main competitors. Finding out about the company’s culture, mission statement, diversity policies, community involvement and financial profile will help you determine if you’d like to target them as a future employer and help you present yourself as a strong candidate. Here are some methods and websites you can go to get more info about a company.

Google
Simply plug the company name into a search engine and see what comes up. Look to company social media accounts, YouTube videos, recent press mentions, product and service reviews, the company blog, and anything else that may come up in a Google search of the company. 

Canadian News Wire
Check Canadian News Wire for online press releases, webcasts or videos

Corporate Websites
Review the company's website thoroughly, especially the "About Us" section. Check to see if the organization has an "official" business blog or one where the posts are written by employees. You may be able to download brochures or an annual report, which gives a current snapshot of company activities.  Also check the corporate website for press releases or a news section.

YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
Many companies have a corporate presence on these social networking platforms. LinkedIn is one of the best ways to do company research. In the search bar at the top, select companies, people or articles and use your company name as a keyword. You can use the connections button see who is in or connected to the network within the company - very useful for networking and getting insider information (more on this in the section on Networking). You can also get a sense of companies by compiling and examining job ads from employers of interest.

The Glassdoor site provides salary details, company reviews and interview questions, all posted by employees and job seekers to those companies

Careers

You may have a good idea of the industry and companies you’d be interested in. The next step is to explore the careers themselves. If you have an idea of the type of career you are interested in research will help you know it’s a good fit for you and understand the requirements for entry. Consult the “Find Your Focus” section if further definition of your career goal is required or book an appointment to explore and further define your path with a Career Counsellor. Need to get a better idea of what your career interest is really all about? Comprehensive, Canadian career profiles are available for hundreds of career titles in the Career Cruising database, accessed through the Career Learning Network (CLN). Login using your UTORid and password, and click on the "Resources" tab.

Links to job sites

Keep in mind when you doing your job search that approximately 80% of the jobs available never make it to a job ad. Why? Employers prefer to hire through less costly and time consuming methods such as through informal channels that connect them with people they already know of who have the skills and personal qualities they are looking for. Knowing potential candidates reduces employer risk of making the wrong hiring decision. This is why networking is such a powerful job search method. It is recommended that responding to job ads be only a part of your overall job search strategy.  

When you do use job ad sites as part of your job search strategy, keep these tips in mind: Set up job alerts available on many job sites. Ads of interest will be deposited directly into you inbox when your keywords are matched in new job ads; Use your degree (MSc / MA / PhD) as one of your keywords in combination with others, to find positions that call for advanced degrees; Scan ads to determine best keywords to use in searching for positions of interest and refine as you go.

General Job Sites

Biology / Clinical Research

Math and Computer Job Sites:

Arts and Culture:

Environmental:

Helping Professions / Not for Profits

Government

Post –Secondary alt-Academic

Business

In addition to the General Job sites which carry the bulk of business job ads:

Recruitment Consultants

Add: Also consider professional recruitment companies that focus on your area of interest to build your career:     

Developing Your Career Strategy

Knowing the area or career you’d like to work in and having done the basic research on the industry and career, an effective job search strategy is the next step in getting the position you want. This starts with assessing your skills, strengths and personal qualities in relation to the requirements for entry into your field.

Here are some important steps in developing your marketing strategy:

Being immersed in academia, many graduate students feel they do not have marketable skills for careers outside of it. The skills gained in your advanced degree(s) that your future employer will want are your transferrable skills. Examples are: project management, presentation skills and analytical skills. Technical skills are less portable from one environment to the next and include lab skills, data analysis and specialized software skills. Soft skills are also important and include aspects of how you approach problems and manage yourself such as being a strong time manager or being a harmonizing influence in team settings to name a few. If you are unsure what skills and strengths you have to offer or want to take stock, go to Skills under the “Find Your Focus” section. Consulting with a Career Counsellor can also help you articulate what you have to offer.

Find job ads for positions of interest and compare what employers are asking against your skills (transferrable, technical and soft skills), experiences, personal qualities and values. This will allow you to express the value you bring to the employer and your fit for the position. It may also reveal any gaps in skills or experience that may need to be addressed to become a more competitive candidate. A “T-Chart” comparison can be used to do this. Here is an example.


Go to next step: Build Experience and Prepare for Careers in a Variety of Sectors