When thinking about who your first career related employer might be, you might be thinking of how you’d like to work for a large prestigious company.
Many students believe that only large companies will offer them career growth opportunities, what they aren’t aware of is just how exciting and challenging roles with small businesses can be.
In fact, many opportunities can only be found in smaller businesses. Particularly as they grow into bigger businesses.
If you think about the major differences between small and large businesses, that’s where you can start to uncover some major benefits of smaller businesses. Not only are these benefits often overlooked, but many are nearly impossible to find in larger businesses unless you’re 10-15 years into your career.
1: I won’t be doing anything interesting
People who work in small business get involved in a huge range of business activities, much more than those in large businesses. With a smaller group of people in smaller businesses, they need to be involved in a much wider range of activities than those in large businesses. Giving you more new and different experiences that will allow you to expand your career and set you apart from the crowd of people in your industry. Larger businesses can afford to have people focus in a narrow range of areas because they have many more people.
2: But I want to specialise in X, I won’t get any exposure to X in my job
If you ask the owner or manager at the business for some exposure to a particular area, chances are they are the decision maker about it, so they can much better accommodate your request. In a larger organisation, because there is so much specialisation, so if you’re given an area of focus to work in, the only way you’ll get something different is if you’re allowed to move around. In a smaller business diverse challenges are “naturally occurring” Allowing you to get exposure to more areas of a business.
3: I won’t have anything recognisable to put on my resume afterwards
While the brand name of a smaller business might be less known than a larger one, your goal is to promote yourself, not the business you worked for. There is a better chance you’ll have broader experiences to share both in your resume and in interviews. If you’re able to have a conversation where you’re able to apply your previous experience in multiple areas of business into the requirements of a role during the interview, you’ll stand out like a star. Having a less specialised job will also give you more to talk about and apply to role requirements. I know this because it’s what recruiters within both large and small businesses tell me.
Harness the power of a small business on your resume
One of the biggest challenges managers complain about to us at Peer Camp is that young professionals can’t independently work on much, apart from perhaps their narrow area they studied in. Even then they lack practical knowledge to do the work at a commercially acceptable level. If you believe you’re a versatile young professional, you need to prove it, and one of the best places you can show your versatility, is in a smaller business. Not only will small businesses allow you to experience more within your industry, it will show you how a business runs, improving your knowledge of the business environment.
Combining your specific professional experience with knowledge of the broader business environment is what will make you successful at this stage in your career.