Career Corner: Does size really matter?

Finding the right company to work for is somewhat of a revolving door these days. New graduates often have their sights set on large corporations, but what about the smaller, startup companies?

As a job seeker, you really need to identify what it is that you are looking for in an employer and your dream job. Consider what character traits you are seeking in a manager. What are the kinds of products or services that you are most interested in? Are work and life balance issues of importance to you? Do an employer's green initiatives impress or concern you? Answer these questions and you should be able to determine what companies are best for you.

Consider your own personality traits when deciding whether you are suited to work in a large or small company. For example, if you don't necessarily like to interact with a lot of people, then you might find more isolation in a larger company, though this does vary from business to business. In smaller companies, you tend to need good people skills because you will work closely with others and in more than one role. And while larger companies are more likely to offer more training to help new employees adjust smaller businesses tend to hire more self-starters. So exactly, just where do you fit in?

There is no question that working in a company with 30 or less employees almost guarantees that your presence is known from day one — and your success or failure is also glaringly apparent! This is where your ideas count though as you are not waiting in line to be heard. This could just put you on the fast track to success quite early in your career. Even though most small companies can't offer all the perks of larger ones, they can be a tremendous career building experience. So if your plan is to build a broad knowledge base, a smaller business has lots to offer.

At a larger firm, new employees tend to be absorbed into the existing culture. A larger firm can offer more security and more opportunities, but you don't know how rapidly you will develop within that organization. Along with more job stability, comes benefits and retirement plans. With smaller companies sometimes there just isn't enough money to do all the same things.

Larger companies can often deliver more unparalleled advantages, especially if they are global in nature and have access to resources around the world. The good thing about most large corporations is that they have the money to cast a wider net, try this and that, and even if only part of the effort is successful the company will still be sustainable. Conversely working in a smaller company means you need to be wise about how you are spending the company's money.

By building a broad and flexible knowledge base while in college you will have the option of going with a company that you want, regardless of size. Above all, go for the job that you wake up and enjoy going to every day — a place where you can be successful and find your own niche.

Need assistance? Drop by the Career Services office in Room D1063. Career Services staff are available to assist you on an individual basis. Visit the office to arrange an appointment with the consultant responsible for your program or call 519-452-4294. For job listings, visit