Which Company Size is Right for You?

You are browsing your favorite Internet job site or the Sunday paper, scanning for the job of your dreams. There are plenty of possible employers out there, each ad trying to gain your attention. As you scan the ads, you can’t help but notice how firms of varying sizes have ads in the same section, often side by side. One ad is a quarter page, full of professionally designed graphics and going on and on about the company’s training programs, commitment to quality and diversity programs. Next to that ad is a small, brief ad with barely a job description and phone number. Do you know which company you are more likely to be suited for? Of course, you could contact every possible company, but with so many employers seeking you out you might be sending your rÃ?©sumÃ?© to hundreds of firms that simply rub you the wrong way. Why wait until you are interviewing in the wrong company to find out?

Below are some general guidelines based on company size. Keep in mind these are strictly guidelines, and other factors (such as the geographic location of the job and business sector) need to be weighed when deciding whether to seek employment in a company.

Overview: At a small company, you might be a vice president – and also responsible for making the coffee every Thursday. You might be the receptionist – and also the database administrator. Whether a new start-up or an established firm, small companies frequently double up on tasks and lack formal job descriptions. Personalities can matter more than position.

Best for: Experienced workers looking to take on new challenges. A small company will give you the room you need to use or prove your skills and experience, as long as you don’t step on someone else’s toes.

Worst for: Newer workers or those seeking to make a drastic career change. Smaller companies are less likely to have the training resources and career ladders of larger firms. Newer workers can stagnate. Workers trying to change careers will probably find the company relies on them for the task they are trying to leave, not the task they want to do.

Overview: Lots of chances for training, growth and advancement – as long as you don’t get hit by unexpected layoffs or reorganizations.

Best for: Workers looking to move up the ladder, newer workers and career changers. Larger companies will encourage you to transfer from one department to another, making career changing much less painful. Advancement is available for those willing to do the politicking and long hours required.

Worst for: Workers seeking to solidify their skills or desiring security. Forget the reputation big companies used to have. Unless you are at the top of the food chain, layoffs and reorganizations will occur without notice and eat up anyone who has been doing the same job for more than one or two years.

Overview: Like a small firm, mid-sized companies tend to be a bit more flexible and somewhat less prone to layoffs and reorganizations. Like larger firms, they tend to have more resources at their disposal.

Best for: Workers seeking to solidify their skills or desiring some security. Of course, in today’s economy there is no such thing as total security, but a mid-sized firm will give you your best shot at it. These companies are usually still nimble (unlike larger firms), but have deeper pockets than their smaller rivals.

Worst for: Workers seeking new challenges. This company is usually in the process of growing its core business, based on the ideas which made them successful originally. Changing course or revamping its approach will be seen as too risky.

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