March 2015 Articles

Alumnae Career Services

  • The Mysterious Research Behind a Successful Career Strategy

By Cori Ashworth, Director for Alumnae Career Programs

We all know the internet can be overwhelming. It is all too easy to get lost in gathering data and lose sight of what you started out exploring in the first place. That said, a good research strategy can make your job search much more successful (and likely shorter).

Of course, every job search should begin with a careful self-assessment, but for purposes of discussing research, we will assume you have already done this work. Here, I want to focus on research tools.

Identify what is happening in the economy, both in general and in the regions you are considering. Make it your regular routine to read a leading newspaper—the New York Times or Wall Street Journal—and business journals such as Fortune or Inc. Be sure to consult O*NET as well, a terrific career database with a range of information on trends, career families, and projected demand for workers.

Determine the industries that are growing and drill down to the next level of information about them. Bryn Mawr’s Career and Professional Development (CPD) Office databases are available to alumnae/i for this purpose. With new software acquired this past summer, CPD provides secure listings of jobs through LanternLink. (A CPD subscription is required to access these databases. Go to or contact for a login and password.)

Other databases include, a detailed collection of industry briefings that is particularly helpful: It includes the outlook for the industry, identifies leading companies and thought leaders in the field, and highlights related industries as well. This one source can launch you well into the research you will need for a broad-based campaign.

Another CPD resource is, offering information on which majors match well with specific areas of work, and yet another database,, provides access to regional job listings for internships and full-time work in the U.S. and countries around the world.

So now you’ve done your first-level research on your targeted industries. Your next challenge: Where do you want to live? Select a few places and cross-reference your industry information with those regions to discover how they are doing in the areas you have selected.

As Bryn Mawr alumnae/i, you know all about research, but here are some reminders:

  1. Get to know the research librarian in a good research library in your area. When I lived in Massachusetts, I got to know the business librarian at the University of Massachusetts, who was delighted to help me with job searches. He ferreted out invaluable information on privately held companies and startups, and he found details on their cultures.
  2. Check out industry and regional business journals. Follow the Chamber of Commerce. Identify local associations and companies, both new and well-established. Read the local paper to get a bead on local issues, promotions, and culture in the area you are considering. Most papers have a day of the week when they feature promotions and write about local business activity—be sure to read on that day to identify new opportunities.
  3. I strongly recommend, yet another Bryn Mawr resource at your disposal. Enter your criteria (industry, region, company size) to generate a list of company profiles with mission, volume, revenue generated, locations, leaders of the organization, and website links. This “genie-in-a-bottle” resource builds a personal database that enables you to get detailed information like company financials and what leadership is saying. At this point, too, you can start to formulate your networking plan and talk to Bryn Mawr alumnae/i in the field or company for more insider information.

Bryn Mawr Career Resources

Bryn Mawr has created a wealth of resources that are available for you:

  • The Career Services page (under the Services and Benefits tab of the Alumnae Association website) contains lists of websites by interest area as well as self-assessment exercises.
  • For career coaching, contact me, Cori Ashworth, at
  • The Career and Professional Development Office has online resources for particular fields such as nonprofit, art, and finance, to name a few. You can find them at

2015 Career Webinars

Our 2015 webinar series will help you to integrate leading-edge thinking into your career strategy. For more information and to register, visit

  • March 4  Jay Block: Stuff Your Resume with Keywords
  • March 12         Cori Ashworth: Trend-Watching for Career Planners
  • April 1     Tom Rath: Use Your Strengths to Strengthen Your Career
  • May 6     Beth Bridges: 5 Steps to Build a Powerful and Profitable Network
  • June 3    Carole Martin: What You Don’t Say in an Interview Could Hold You Back