How to research job sectors and occupations
Researching different industries and job roles can help you decide whether they are appropriate options for you, and this knowledge is essential to make a strong application and to excel in interviews.
There are a variety of different ways to structure your research. With JobsLive (the Careers Service's online system for searching for jobs and employers, as well as booking events and appointments), you can search through more than 5000 potential employers:
- Search for job vacancies by industry sector, location, job role and more
- Browse the online employer directory (currently with over 5500 registered employers)
- Save searches for jobs and set up notifications for when similar roles are added
Searching for careers specific to your course
You can find out what other students from your course have gone on to do on our what do Imperial graduates do? webpage, and try using Imperial LinkedIn Alumni to look up what graduates from your course are doing, and who they are working for.
You can also look up our what can I do with my degree? webpages for advice personalised to your subject of study.
It might be relevant to use information published by professional bodies – check with your department which professional bodies are relevant for your subject, or many of the Job Profiles on Prospects include details of relevant bodies.
Searching for jobs in specific areas
It is often a good idea to use resources that are sector-specific when you know which industry or job sector, you are interested in. Examples of websites that provide sector-specific information include:
- Prospects is a major UK careers website, that provides comprehensive career and job information sources. The site offers careers advice for a range of preferences and industry sectors.
- TARGETjobs is a source of graduate jobs/schemes, internships, placements and work experience, alongside expert career advice. Explore job sectors and occupational areas in useful sector guides.
- MarketLine Advantage is available to all current students at Imperial and is a rich resource for information for individual companies, including a round-up of news stories, SWOT analyses, and information about competitors.
- Inside Careers describe themselves as ‘specialists in niche jobs boards’, including sectors like accountancy, insurance and intellectual property.
- If you’re interested in a career in Law, the Beginner’s Guide to a Career in Law from LawCareers.Net is an excellent starting point.
- Gradcracker is an example of a STEM-specific jobs board, which also includes careers advice specific to students with a STEM background in their Gradcracker Toolkit.
Searching for jobs based on location
If you are interested in working outside of the UK, visit our working outside the UK webpage, as well as GoinGlobal, where you can find Global Career Guides and employment resources from an expansive list of countries. You can seach for jobs and organisations with JobsLive, and refine the search results by geographic location.
Wherever you would like to be based in the world, one strategy for career exploration is to pick a city or region you would like to work in and use an online tool like Google Maps to undertake a keyword search.
For example, if you are looking for companies based in London in the data science sector, you would search using those terms. This will produce a list of organisations relevant to data science, which you can then use to research the local labour market.
Searching for companies based on reputation or work-culture
For some people, what a company is like to work for is more important than the day-to-day tasks you will be asked to do. Where this is the case, it can be helpful to research companies based on reputation or culture-related criteria.
There are organisations that make annual lists of ‘top’ companies, based on varying criteria, examples include:
- The Graduate Employers
- Stonewall Top Global Employers
- The UK 300
- The JobCrowd: top company for graduates to work for
- Rate My Placement top 60 medium-sized schemes
All of these guides focus on different criteria to curate these lists, so if you have preferences particular to your individual experience, these resources can help you to find companies that meet your needs.
If you’re still unsure where to look next, make sure to have a look at the other sources of information tab, and see the job hunting advice section of the careers website.
Other sources of information
Imperial Library Services
The Library provides access to excellent sources of information that you can use to further your research. Search their market and industry infromation.
City Business Library (now Small Business Research and Enterprise Centre)
The City Business Library is a resource for business information located in ‘The City’ of London, EC2. Its information is used by researchers from many of the top companies. You can access a wide range of resources that will help you to understand companies including financial information. Visit the Small Business Research and Enterprise Centre website.
Glassdoor is a website where people upload reviews of their employer and anonymous salary information. It is a useful site to review but be aware that the information is often biased. Looking at the salary information can help you to understand the typical salary ranges for roles and industries.
Talking to people who already work in the industry you are applying to can be a great way to get up to speed on the latest developments. If you already have work experience or an internship in a related business, use the contacts you have developed. The Ask an Alumnus database organised by Imperial Careers Service is also a good source of contacts.
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the news relating to sectors that you would like to work in. If you do this on a regular basis over a period of time you will build up a good background knowledge of the relevant issues. Good general sources include: (some may be available online via the Imperial College Libraries)
- Reuters – international business news website
- Businessweek – international world and business news websites run by Bloomberg
- The Guardian
- The Economist – magazine providing world business, science and technology news
Most sectors have news sources that are sector-specific. For example ‘Marketing Week’ is a source of news in the UK for people working in marketing. Try to find the sources of news in sectors you are applying to and keep a regular eye on them. A great question to ask when you are networking.