Does Size Matter?

Okay this is not some ad for “enhancement” meds – it is a serious question for entry-level job hunters, does the size of the company matter when beginning one’s career?  There is no “right” answer – just differing opinions.

Go Big or Go Home:

Larger organizations tend to have better training programs which are valued by future employers if you decide to leave.  Due to the size of these training programs, new hires have the benefit of an entry-level cohort/class and formal mentoring programs. Career tracks for the first couple of years tend to be outlined and formal review processes allow newer employees to track their progress and advancement.  Many large firms permit employees to move within the organization, allowing employees to not be stuck in one division.  Additionally, larger firms are more recognizable when it comes time to search for the next job.

The Personal Touch:

Smaller organizations allow for new hires to develop according to their strengths and abilities as opposed to a “One Size Fits All” mega-training program.  Another advantage to a smaller company is the variety of work, employees have to be able to wear many hats as opposed to focusing on one aspect of one client.  This can keep the work fresher and allow individuals an opportunity to identify areas of interest. Finally, working at smaller firms can allow an individual to make a greater impact and affect change – which make a resume shine when looking for the next job.

When all is said and done, there is no one right answer.  As the theme song from Diff’rent Strokes so eloquently stated: What might be right for you, may not be right for some.  Knowing which is a better fit for you and for your career (at its current stage) is important to understand.  What are your thoughts on this?


About Kevin Monahan

I have 10+ years experience in coaching clients in their career management and career change efforts. Personal career consulting services combined with employer outreach to help find opportunities for both constituents.
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One Response to Does Size Matter?

  1. joeljunker says:

    Career search decisions are about tradeoffs. When I advise Junior Military Officers making the transition from the military to business, I remind them of this. As it applies to a big company to a small company, I like to say, “You can eat well, but you may not sleep well, or you can sleep well but you may not eat as well.” I am referring to the roller coaster ride a smaller company can be especially in turbulent times, economically or when a key person leaves, and the stability a larger company provides. Often, the smaller company has more risk but also more reward in terms of immediate responsibility, closer to decision makers and financially (risk/reward tradeoff). With stability of a larger company (less risk), although there is usually good upside, it may not be as rapid as small company.

    Finally, it’s usually easier to go from a “big” company to a “small” company but most “big” companies do not recruit from the smalller companies unless they are leading players in the same (or close) industry.

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