The FastTrack to Professional, Industry, and Trade Knowledge, Part II

By Paul S. RSS Wed, November 24, 2010

Two kinds of resources can help you to quickly learn the trends, developments, and characteristics of a profession, trade, or industry.  The last entry discussed databases with professional, industry and trade publications. This entry will discuss databases targeted to investors.

There are many resources to help people decide where to invest their money in the stock market. As a job seeker you are an investor too. You are investing your skills, knowledge, time, and energy in an employer and an industry or employment sector such as education or non-profit organizations. In short, you are investing yourself. Shouldn’t you research an employer or field to learn if you will be making an investment that will pay you now and offers you long term employment in the future?

The Free Library has resources for investors that are equally valuable to you as a job seeker. These are databases that provide information about companies that sell stock to the public.

You can learn about the prospects and performance of specific companies and where they rank in their industries. You can also learn about the industries themselves. Some businesses and industries have cycles. Others are volatile or stable. Most undergo changes due to market conditions, innovations, or demographic changes. All of these factors can influence your job and career. The databases described below can help you become informed about industries and fields, or specific employers.

Business and Company Resource Center is a database for researching publicly and privately owned companies, as well as industries.  If you search for a company you will find the following:

Company Profile describing of the company’s business and organization if it has subsidiaries or divisions.

Newspaper / Magazine Articles about the company’s activities, performance or innovations.

*  History of the company and how it has grown and changed. 

Rankings may show where companies fit within their industry by sales revenue, number of employees, or information technology innovations.

Products (brand names) the company makes or sells.


If the company sells stock, you can find:

        *  Investment Reports discussing the financial conditions of the company, ratings, and recommendations to buy, sell, or hold the stock. These reports may also include an expert analyst’s discussion of the company’s current activities and performance, as well as predictions for what will happen with the company over the next year. 

Business and Company Resource Center  also offers a valuable perspective on any field in the Industry Overview section.   This section of the database uses the Encyclopedia of American Industry Online, which includes over 1,000 detailed descriptions of manufacturing, service and nonmanufacturing industries and fields. Descriptions include most of the following sections:

Overview snapshot

Current size and conditions of the industry

Industry  organization and structure

History and development


Technological overview

Trends and long-term outlook

Leading companies

Work force and employment outlook

A bibliography for further reading

Standard and Poor’s Net Advantage is another valuable database to use in researching industries and companies that sell stock to the public. The Industry Surveys section provides clearly written descriptions of industries that can enhance and reinforce information in Business & Company Resource Center.

Using both of these databases, you can gather a wealth of information to put you on the fast track to prepare for job and information interviews or to help you to plan your career.

You can learn more about using these resources by attending the WORKPLACE Wednesday program, Internet and Library Resources for Job Hunters, on December 22, 2010 in the Tech Lab in Room 14 on ground floor at the Parkway Central Library.

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