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University of Minnesota

Kathryn A. Martin Library

The Job Search: Information for Cover Letters and Interviews

Research Guide


Starting Points
Business Periodical Databases
Other Periodical Databases
Financial Databases
Other Suggested Websites



Job Search Resources: Gathering information for cover letters & interviews

Improve your cover letter & interview preparation by being more informed!
Check out UMD Library’s proprietary databases to help with up-to-date information about a particular
company, corporation, or non-profit. Plus insights into current industries and professions’ outlook.
This information can improve your awareness and confidence as you conduct your job search,
interview preparation, and salary negotiation.


Public corporations

Financial databases: Provide numbers  narratives on public corporations.
Review annual reports. Use Mergent Online, or Google you company's website, and look under "Investors Relations"

Private companies
Use ReferenceUSA or Google search for a private company’s website.
Review social media and Proquest News to find articles about the company.

Industry Information
Give yourself an advantage and learn about trends in industries & professions to develop interview
questions and key things to highlight in your cover letter. 

Use IBIS World database and explore both “industry” & “i-Expert” reports for over 1,300 U.S.
industries and professions.


topStarting Points

Start your Job Search investigations with these two databases:  IBIS World and ReferenceUSA.


IBIS World Industry Reports

IBIS reports can provide insight on most U.S. Industries and professions. This information can be especially useful during the job interview process.  IBIS provides Industry market research reports on over 1,300 U.S. industries, plus Canada Industries, China Industries, and Global Industries, Each IBISWorld report includes:

  • An overview of the industry structure
  • The current industry performance and key external drivers
  • The industry outlook and lifecycle
  • Products and markets, including the supply chain, major markets and international trade
  • Competitive landscape and market share
  • Major companies
  • Key statistics and data.
You can find reports easily by browsing by industry sector, by SIC or NAICS codes, or or simply searching by keyword.  This is vital job search information.

iExpert Summary Reports

Designed for a quick snapshot, iExpert Summary Reports condense the integral elements from IBIS industry reports into bite-sized paragraphs, charts and tables. iExpert provides up-to-date key facts and questions to consider and help in job interviews.

This is vital job search information.

Watch this Video:  IBIS iExpert Summary Reports Video.

Reference USA

Reference USA
is a directory of U.S. businesses. Lists size of company, year established, type of business, credit rating, top personnel, yearly sales and more. Data can be searched by name of company, name of officers, geographic area, SIC, size, revenue or any combination. ReferenceUSA can provide some information on even the smallest businesses or workplaces. This is a vital source for company/workplace background information. As a job seeker, you can learn about the lines of business in your target employer, key contacts, competitors, number of employees, and other related data.

ReferenceUSA FAQ and Tutorials


topBusiness Periodical Databases

Business Source Premier
Business Source Premier
Full text of over 3,400 business periodicals. This is our largest business database. It provides our best access to scholarly journals. It also has special industry reports, including "SWOT" analysis. Note the "company profiles" tab, which will allow you to access over 5,000 MarketLine Company Profiles. Use this database to find both industry and company information.

Proquest News
Contains the full text of newspaper articles from over 350 titles going back over 30 years.  Proquest News provides our only source of electronic access to the Wall Street Journal.  This is a key source of newspaper information.  Use it to find industry and company information for both public and private companies.

top Other Periodical Databases

Duluth News Tribune

Duluth News Tribune
A searchable archive of the Duluth News-Tribune, with complete full-text content of local and regional news, including community events, schools, politics, government policies, cultural activities, local businesses, business people, state industries, and economic issues.  Covers 11/1995 - present.  If you target employer is in the Duluth area, articles may have been written about them.  This could provide useful information.


top Financial Databases

The three financial databases below provide very useful information on the larger public corporations.  They can provide detailed financials, ratio analysis, stock analysis, annual reports, biographies of key personnel, and insights into corporate structure and strategy.  This information can be very useful to your job search if your target company is a public corporation.
Mergent Online


Mergent Online
Provides business and financial information for 23,000 U.S. and international companies. Financials for 15 years, balance sheets, income statements "as reported" and can be downloaded to spreadsheet. Includes company overviews, histories financial ratios, and much more. Mergent Online IS OUR BEST SOURCE FOR COMPANY ANNUAL REPORTS.

MorningStar MorningStar
Provides independent investment analysis of 1500 stocks and 2000 mutual funds. Be sure to find the current analyst reports for both particular companies and funds with an eye to what is happening in the industry. This is a highly regarded and unique source of financial information.

Contains large Industry Surveys (and overviews of markets) for leading companies in 52 industries. Search by company or industry. Standard & Poor’s stock analysis is available for public companies.


top Other Suggested Websites

Occupational Outlook Handbook  is from the US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. This online, searchable version of the OOH contains information on training, education, expected growth, conditions, and more for a wide array of careers.

O*NET OnLine O*NET OnLine (Occupational Information Network) is administered and sponsored by the US Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration.

Glassdoor "has millions of personalized jobs, salary information, company reviews, and interview questions — all posted anonymously by employees and job seekers like you."

Indeed Job Search  "is the #1 job site in the world with over 250 million unique visitors every month. Indeed strives to put job seekers first, giving them free access to search for jobs, post resumes, and research companies. Every day, we connect millions of people to new opportunities."

Oxford English Dictionary Online
Considered to be the authority on the evolution of the English language. It is a guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over 500,000 words, both present, and past. A good dictionary can help you to write better cover letters and supporting documents.

This may be a good place to get an overview of business or job-related definitions, topics, or issues. Also, look up articles on industries, professions, and specific (larger) public companies.


Updated:   January 22, 2020