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MAN 120: Business Fundamentals and Entrepreneurship (Mayrhofer)

Use this guide to help with research and projects for MAN 120: Basics of Business

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Dan Hoiland

What Skills are Most Useful for Employers?

When looking for jobs, be aware about not only what skills you have to offer, but also what skills companies are looking for in future employees. Today, the most sought-after skills are more abstract than what used to clutter resumes, such as the promise that a job seeker is "proficient in Excel." Companies want people that are mobile and adaptable, can easily shift with what's happening in the world and their industry, and will lead the company beyond the norm. 

Do your research to learn more about how to leverage yourself for success. Search through job postings and note which skills and qualifications are listed the most. Also, check out the many articles out there that help summarize what businesses are looking for in the next generation of worker. Here are a few to get you started:

Research the Company

When you see a job posting that interests you, make sure to look closer at the company. How have they fared the last few years? Are they projected to grow over the next few years? One simple question to ask: "Would I invest in this company?" If the answer is no, that company may not be the right fit for you. To help answer these questions, do some research.

  1. Find the company's website. If they have an "About" section, read it and learn more about their mission/vision and strategy. Find a recent annual report and pay attention to how they discuss their finances and any major updates that affected the business. For larger companies, annual reports act as communication to shareholders, alerting them to what has gone well and what challenged the business that year.
  2. For more information about the company, check out Hoovers, a library database that specializes in company research.
  1. Finally, read more about the company from another perspective.  Find news articles from reputable business publications (i.e. The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times) and try to figure out if this external information matches how the company talks about itself.  Use business-specific databases to search for recent articles (try limiting by date and source type -- magazines and newspapers).

Learn More About the Industry

To learn more about how the company operates, you also need to understand more about the wider industry. Think about what external factors (economic, social, etc.) might affect business in the future, or if the industry is projected to grow or decline in the next few years. All this can be found in sources through the library. First, check industry reports in IBISWorld:

Once you have a larger view of the industry through an industry report, you can hone in on specific pieces of information. Trade magazines/journals are excellent sources for up-to-date news about a particular industry. They're meant for people within that industry and often share the latest trends and summaries of research that might affect the industry. Their titles are often very specific and reveal exactly which industry they're written for, such as Beverage World and Foodservice Equipment & Supplies. The best place to find these resources is one of the library's article databases, ABI/INFORM or Business Source Ultimate.  

You can choose to only see trade magazines/journals by using a database's limiting tools on the left of the search screen. After clicking "Trade Journals," your search results should automatically refresh -- in this case, removing more than 450,000 articles.