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One Size Doesn't Fit All Print
Career Tips - Supersonic Searching Mondays
Written by Abby Kohut   

By now, you probably realize how important I believe it is to find a job that you love. In order to love your job, you have to love ALL of the components of the job, and not JUST the job itself. Let me explain…

In order for a job to be perfectly suited for you, it has to be perfectly suited in many ways. You have to have a wonderful boss in a wonderful company with the ideal culture for you. Your schedule has to be exactly what you'd like it to be and you have to have the exact amount of work/life balance that you desire. And, your job must be situated in an appropriately sized company as this can truly affect your happiness.

A question about big company experience versus small company experience came up on my last Career Wake Up Call. The caller asked this question, "While my prior experience has been working with large companies, I have been interviewing recently with smaller companies and have been getting resistance because of the perception that my large company experience hasn't prepared me for the "fast pace" or the diversity of work experience of a much smaller company.  How can I get past these misconceptions?"

What I explained to the caller is that many of us believe that there is a vast difference between smaller entrepreneurial companies and larger more established companies. Many small companies provide opportunities to take on more responsibilities within your job because there are not as many employees who are qualified to do those tasks. Sometimes you take on roles that you have absolutely no idea how to fulfill but because you are smart, you are asked to do them anyway. Small company employees may work longer hours because they are in their start up and fast paced phase, which means deadlines are abundant. Small companies may offer lower salaries but are flexible enough to offer promotions and raises throughout the year for excellent performance.

Larger companies offer long-term career paths as there are usually plenty of steps between you and the CEO. Navigating the career ladder may be tricky though because there tends be plenty of competitors vying for similar roles. Large companies typically offer generous benefits including healthcare, tuition reimbursement, and flexible, substantial paid time off plans. Some even offer day care or adoption assistance. Until recently, large companies also offered a sense of stability and permanence, although these days, the only thing that is permanent is your network.

As I explained on the call, it's up to you to explain to a recruiter or hiring manager for a small company why your big company experience is relevant. Come to an interview armed with details about your accomplishments that might match the pace or the operational details experienced in a smaller company. Explain that your big company experience can help them grow because you can teach them how larger, more successful companies accomplish certain processes.

If working at a small company is a top priority for you, volunteer for a non-profit organization while you're searching to show that you can handle fast paced entrepreneurial responsibilities with few resources. This will give you a good taste of what it's really like in comparison to a big company experience. Then you can make a better decision as to which size company you prefer.

Absolutely Abby’s Advice:
Making the decision on whether to be a big fish in a small bowl or a small fish in a big one is critical to your job satisfaction. No job will be 100% perfect for you. However, if you strive to get as close to perfection as possible without settling just because times are difficult, you will find happiness even if there are small imperfections along the way. And when you love your job, the imperfections are not nearly as bad as you might have once thought they were.
 
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Drawn from my 18 years of experience and research in recruiting and Human Resources, my blog posts are intended to provide insight into what corporate recruiters and Human Resource professionals look for when they are evaluating your qualifications. Simply reading these blogs will not guarantee you success. However, consistently applying the strategies mentioned, as well as developing your own personal interview style, will greatly enhance your chances of victory amidst the competition. I wish you the best of luck with your search as you begin to take charge of your career!