Research Employers & Industries

Be informed.

When you think about researching employers, the first thing that comes to mind is probably interview preparation. Your research should actually begin much earlier. Take the time to learn about not only employers, but also industries.  Some of the best employers may be those you have never heard of. To help you get started, we've provided a handy framework below.

Know the terminology

If you are just getting started, here are a few words you will come across:

  • Employer / Organization / Company:  These are all interchangeable words used to describe the organization that hires people.  LinkedIn calls these "companies" while Handshake refers to them as "employers." 
  • Industry:   An industry is a group of employers/organizations/companies that produce similar types of products or provide similar services. An industy is a common way to group organizations.  It's important to know that there is no, one standard industry listing that is universally used.  Two of the most common are 4 digit numeric SIC codes (Standard Industrial Classification) codes or 2-6 digit numeric NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) codes.  
  • Sector:  There are three common types of sectors:  private (typically focused on generating profits; some may be publicly traded on stock exchanges); public (typically government-related), and nonprofit (typically organizations focusd on social or environmental efforts). 
  • Conglomerate / Holding Company:  Some businesses are so large that they operate businesses across various industries. Examples include media companies (Disney, Sony, etc.); PepsiCo; General Electric; Johnson & Johnson; Bekshire Hathaway; and Alphabet.  
  • Job Function:  A job function is a role, responsibility, or job title that an employee. A job function is the type of work you would do in an organization (e.g. data analysis, project management, design, corporate finance, human resources, supply chain, marketing, etc.).

Learn about employers

If you are just getting started learning about employers, here are  the first three, easy-to-navigate resources, to begin with:

  • EmployerLinks:  New for 2024, this is the best place to start.  We have created a curated which includes URLs to LinkedIn company and alumni pages, career pages on employers' websites, early talent/internship pages, and links to talent community for companies where ND alums are working.
  • Handshake: Use the Employers feature to see reviews and interview tips from college students across the country.  Be sure to use the filters to narrow down results. Here's a sample of a detailed employer profile.
  • Vault: Many students find a lot of value in this amazing resource with industry reports, employer profiles, and rankings. Vault Guides provide very helpful and detailed overviews of many industries.

If you want to do more advanced research, check out these resources which you have free access to thanks to subscriptions purchased by Hesburgh Libraries.

  • Mergent Online: This is one of the most comprehensive resources you can use for interview preparation. Mergent offers annual reports, news, competitors. It's also a great resource to find competitors of companies to explore similar employers you may wish to consider.
  • Gale Business Insights:  Similar to Mergent, Gale also offers comprehensive insight into thousands of companies. A key feature of this resource is the SWOT analysis, which can be very helpful as you prepare for interviews.
  • IBISWorld: This powerful industry research tool can help you find competitors of companies. Use the search bar at the top of the page and then click on the "competitors" navigation link.

Here are two other free resources ND students have found helpful:

  • Glassdoor:  Offers interview insight, anonymous reviews about employer culture, job postings, and more.  Keep in mind that Glassdoor is a global site, not just for college student recruiting. Much of the information is based on anonymous reviews. As such, some of the information about interviews and hiring practices may not be applicable for your internship/job search.  (Glassdoor is not affiliated with ND - create a personal account if you want to get access to more in-depth information)
  • The Muse: In addition of tips and insight for your job search, this site offers employer profiles and links to job postings.

Stay up to date with the latest

Once you identify a group of employers you want to keep up to date with, do these five things so that you don't miss out on opportunities.

    • Follow the employer on Handshake.
    • Follow the employer on LinkedIn.
    • Set up Job Alerts in LinkedIn for particular job searches
    • Sign up for the employer's Talent Community / email list. If they have one, you will find this on their careers page. You can also find thse links in our EmployerLinks resource.
    • Set up Google Alerts to receive emails with the latest news from the employer (this will come in handy when it comes time to interview)

Find alumni using EmployerLinks

Here's how you can use this Google Sheet to find alums, while also researching companies.

  1. Open your personal copy of the Employer Links spreadsheet below.
  2. Identify an employer that interests you and make a note in the "My Note" column.
  3. Identify which industry the employer is a part of (note: many large corporations may have presence in multiple industries). 
  4. Use the filter in the Industry header and select that industry.
  5. Identify similar employers (use IBISWorld or an AI language tool like ChatGPT to search for "competitors").
  6. Check out the career/recruitment pages on employer websites on the Employer Links resource.
  7. Search for ND alumni (start with the alumni on LinkedIn column in the Sheet.  As an alternative, you can also search for alums on IrishCompass or look up personal email addresses in the Alumni Directory on (you get access to this as a student!).

Get your copy of the EmployerLinks spreadsheet


Need help?

We are here to make researching and networking as easy as possible.  If you find yourself needing some advice and guidance, send us an email at or stop by the south desk on the 5th floor of Duncan Student Center.