10 Questions You Should Ask Before A Job Interview

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Getting a call for an interview can be so exciting that we forget to ask for important information. Having the following information before you arrive can make all the difference in winning the job.

1. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions about the interview?

Depending on the answer, you know if you can ask the rest of the questions, or if the person making the call is an administrative professional with no more information than your name, phone number and the interview time.

2. What times are available?

For many interviews, the person calling gives you a range of options on when you would like to schedule your interview. The best times are 10am, and during the early afternoon. Avoid these times…

  • 9am – the interviewer may not be fully awake and alert, and not remember you as well
  • 11am – the interviewer is thinking about lunch as much as listening to you
  • After 4:30pm – the interviewer is thinking about going home and may be tired

3. Can you tell me the names of the people I’m interviewing with?

Ask for the full names and job titles of the people whom you’ll be meeting. Get the exact spellings of the names if you’re not sure. Do research online on the interviewers beforehand. Knowing the background of the people you’re speaking with is a critical advantage, and you might even have some common connections, like universities or hobbies.

4. Is this a newly created position?

It’s good to know if the position is new, or someone else previously held the job. If it’s new, the interviewers may be expecting you to help them define the role. If it’s not new, try to do research on who had the job last and why they left. Go to Linkedin, and search for people at the company. Look for one who had the same job title as what you’re interviewing for. Depending on their current employment or lack thereof, you can get an idea of your predecessors performance, skills and achievements.

5. How long has the position been open?

It’s a bad sign if the position has been open for a long time. It usually means many candidates have been interviewed and rejected. The most common reason is the company isn’t attracting the candidates it wants with the compensation it’s willing to provide.

6. What is the salary and benefits?

Here’s a list of the most common responses and what they mean.

  • “The salary ranges between X and Y” is a good answer, because the company has an idea of what it wants to pay for senior and junior candidates.
  • “I don’t have that information”, might be a lie, and might not be, but you don’t lose anything for asking.
  • “It’s yet to be determined”, is a red flag. Salary estimators are free online, so this answer usually means the salary is low, and they don’t want to scare you off.

7. Should I bring anything besides my resume?

Nothing’s worse than a interviewer asking for a sample of your work when you don’t have any with you. Usually they’ll say no, but its great when they say “Yes, actually, you can bring a sample of your work” or something similar. Since it wasn’t in the job ad, you’ll be the only candidate with something that demonstrates your skill and talent.

8. Will there be a skills test?

Increasingly employers are using standardized tests to determine if the candidate is worthy of being given an in-person interview. Find out what tests will be given, and study hard before you get there. Don’t let yourself be ambushed by a test you didn’t know was coming.

9. Is the interview scheduled to end at a certain time?

Be prepared for the two extremes. If the interview is only 45 minutes, be prepared to present yourself and make all your points in that given time. If there is no scheduled end time, take your time and don’t rush. The last thing you want to do is cut an interview short because you need to go back to your current job.

10. Are there other open positions at the company like this one?

If there are, try to get information on them. Interviewing for two jobs gives you twice the chance of getting hired. If the position hasn’t been posted yet, you’ve gained a great advantage.

 

 

Brand Yourself

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You’ve been developing a personal brand since the day you first stepped into a classroom. Those bright white socks and new shoes. The backpack with the cartoon-character theme you hand-picked. And remember when the teacher asked you to stand up in front of your peers to describe yourself in three words? Even then, you carefully picked the adjectives that described you best with hopes of leaving a good impression on your teacher and peers.

Your response now to the same question has likely evolved into something more sophisticated than it was back then (“silly” shouldn’t make it into your cover letters), but the end goal remains the same: to broadcast your strongest attributes and interests so that the people around you have a clear idea of what you bring to the table. Branding yourself requires that you identify the unique value you can offer an organization and communicate a memorable and consistent message to all current and prospective parties vested in your career.

There are countless career benefits to becoming associated with certain interests and characteristics, such as solid leadership skills, environmental activism, a great sense of humor, or public speaking skills. A strong personal brand makes you stand out from other job applicants or colleagues with the same educational and professional background. A successful personal brand also leads to more unsolicited job offers, as recruiters looking for someone just like you hear about you through word of mouth or read your blog. It can also raise the confidence coworkers, clients, bosses, and potential clients have in you. By knowing your passions and strengths, you’re more likely to find greater job satisfaction that someone who hasn’t spent enough time thinning about who she is and what she can offer.

The point here: A strong personal brand is an essential tool when it comes to opening yourself up to new opportunities and a more satisfying career. Defining your brand isn’t an easy process: It requires some serious introspection and an understanding of how others perceive you. Be true to yourself. Although you can certainly evolve your brand to fit certain skills and interests, you won’t find success without being honest with yourself and others.

5 Things to Do Before Writing Your Resume

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When applying for a new job, a great resume is extremely important in order to get your foot in the door. It is especially important when you think about the fact that on average, about 250 resumes are submitted per each corporate job opening.

While this number obviously fluctuates depending on the industry and company, it still showcases the importance of a strong resume to get you noticed. However, you can’t just dive into writing your resume without any preparation.

So for your convenience, I have compiled a list of 5 things to do before writing your resume that will help you not only with the writing process, but also help to land you an interview.

1. Make a List Of All Your Jobs

Depending on your age, the number of jobs that you have held can vary drastically. Nevertheless, you should make a complete list of every job that you have ever held and list them in reverse chronological order (from most recent moving backward).

If you have worked in a large collection of positions, then you probably won’t list all of them, but you will have a good pool to choose from.

2. Write Down All Of Your Job Responsibilities 

You may think that you can remember every aspect of your job without writing it down, but chances are that you are wrong. You often do much more than you think, so write down all of your job responsibilities for each position in order to get a thorough list to include on your resume.

3. Look Over The Job Requirements Thoroughly

Say you are applying to an open position at a manufacturing company. Well, the job requirements and skills needed for their sales position are going to be much different than that of the mechanic position.

Do your homework! Thoroughly look over the requirements and skills the position needs. Then, include all of the skills that you have that they are looking for. The matching keywords will show that your skills align with what the company needs.

4. Consult Your Performance Reviews

Your manager took the time to let you know what you excelled at and what needed work, so use these critiques to your advantage. Pull key points from your past performance reviews such as your impact on increased sales numbers or what you excelled at. You can then use this information as a key point for a particular position you have held.

5. Find a List of Strong Action Verbs

Do not use boring verbs when listing your responsibilities and accomplishments on your resume. It will sound dull to the hiring manager, and even unimpressive.

Instead, find and compile a great list of strong action verbs that you can use. Words such as “orchestrated” sound much better than “led”, and the incorporation of these terms will expand your vocabulary.

The plus of already having this list put together is that you will save yourself time when you actually begin to write your resume, which allows you to focus on the facts.

Now You’re Ready

So, you’ve followed these 5 steps and have written your resume. Great! What’s next you ask?

Well, once your resume is ready to go you will need to draw up a well-tailored cover letter to accompany it. Then, it’s time to clean up your social media profiles to make them employer friendly. You can alter your LinkedIn account to reflect the resume that you just wrote, as well, which will make your information more consistent.

Once you have all of these things done, it’s time to actually send your application and hope for the best.

About the Author: Leah Rutherford is a freelance blogger specializing in career development, especially resumes, cover letters, and job search. She also writes about small businesses startups and social media, which you can find on her blog, JetFeeds.

 

4 Fears Of The Newest Job Seekers


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We have some good news: Prospects for today’s college graduates are looking up.

According to a job outlook study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers expect to hire 7.8 percent more Class of 2014 grads for their U.S. operations than they hired from the Class of 2013. If you look at international operations, prospects are even more promising, with an overall increase of 12 percent.

Good news aside, as a graduate or soon-to-be graduate, you’re probably still faced with some concerns and fears as you start to look for work. That’s completely normal, and only shows that you are taking a true interest in your future and career.

To help you out with some of your concerns, let’s look at some of the most common concerns today’s graduates are facing and how to overcome them:

Not Finding A Job
With the job outlook looking up, finding a job shouldn’t be too worrisome for you. Just remember that finding a job takes time and patience. It’s best to devote at least one hour per day to looking for a job. If you’re out of school, you should increase that time to two or three hours a day.

Also, remember what you do during school or while you’re looking for a job is very important and can help increase your chances of getting a job faster. Internships, pre-professional organizations, and volunteering at local businesses can give you some real-world experience and networking opportunities to give you a leg up with the competition.

Finding A Job You’re Not Happy With
Coming out of college, it is common to have a picture painted in your head of the perfect job at the perfect company in the perfect location. The truth of the matter is that just doesn’t exist. One job won’t be able to fulfill all of your interests and skills. But you can certainly get close by doing extensive research on the companies where you apply and keeping an open mind when you start working with them. Plus, you have an entire career ahead of you, so be patient!

One word of caution: If you are constantly looking for the perfect position, it can lead to serial job hopping, which is not good. However, if you’ve given your job an honest try and realize it’s not the right fit, it’s ok to start looking for something else. You may even consider resetting your career path altogether.

Becoming The Perma-Intern
Although they may not be the most desirable positions, internships are common for students to take after graduation. Think of it as a “test drive” for both you and your employer. It’s a great way for them to see your skills, and for you to figure out the company fit while gaining some valuable real-world experience.

To avoid feeling like you will be a perma-intern, treat the internship just as you would a real job. Before accepting the position, ask them what their policy is on promoting interns to full-time employees. Once you have the position, prove you are a valuable asset to their team and stay alert of any job openings that come up within the company.

To Stay Or Not To Stay
Many college students want to find a job that allows them to get away from their hometown and explore other parts of the country or world after college. Our advice to you — go for it! You are still young and have very little tying you down, so take advantage of that. Employers also like college graduates who are more flexible to the idea of travel and relocation.

Ultimately, your post-graduate years are a time to explore your career choices and see what else is out there. There is nothing saying you can’t come back to your hometown if you want, but give yourself the chance to be open to new opportunities and unexpected possibilities.

It’s common and acceptable to be nervous about entering the workforce — a full-time job comes with bills and other added responsibilities. However, it’s exciting to be on your own and pave your path for the future. Just take these pieces of advice, and remember it’s about taking everything one step at a time to land your first job.

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and#ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

Guide to Investment Banking: Part 3 of 3

Cream of the Crop: The Top Investment Banks 
Investment banks can technically come in all different sizes and shapes. They don’t have to be units within major financial houses. They can stand on their own as relatively small private entities with about 50 employees. They can include only a handful of people, assuming the founders have the skills, connections and reputation to assist corporations and governments in raising capital and advising on major deals.

Bulge Bracket Banks
The big investment banks on Wall Street, where both young and established bankers often want to leave their mark, include Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Citibank, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, UBS, Deutsche Bank and others.

Those institutions, which are sometimes referred to as “bulge bracket” banks due to their huge size and multinational reach, will also have offices spread around the U.S. and world, looking for new business opportunities and trying to stay in touch with past, current and potential future clients.

Smaller Banks
Non-bulge bracket investment banks, which are generally smaller and often privately owned, will locate in large cities with dynamic, cutting-edge industries and firms that need to raise capital for public offerings or advice on M&A deals. San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas, Houston and other major U.S. cities are popular locations for investments banks, big and small, due to the dynamic and diverse nature of their economies.

The Current State of Investment Banks
Since the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the number of investment bank jobs has actually declined around the globe, as Wall Street and other multinational investment firms retrenched amid market turmoil. The result has been that the already coveted jobs within investment banking are even harder to find and land.

But many of the job cuts, including those on Wall Street, are considered cyclical in nature — and some investment bankers say good times could lie ahead within the industry.

They point to the uptick in IPOs in 2013 — and the prospect of a strong IPO market in 2014.

According to Renaissance Capital LLC in Connecticut, there were about 222 initial public offerings in 2013, valued at about $55 billion. Compare this to 2012, when there were 128 deals valued at $42.4 billion. The 2013 IPO figures were the highest since 2000, when the dot-com frenzy was at its peak. Based on preliminary filings, Renaissance Capital estimates that 2014 has the potential to at least match 2013.

Technology, biotech and pharmaceutical companies have been particularly active in recent years on the IPO front.

But the better news, from the investment banking perspective, is in mergers and acquisitions. M&As have just about fully recovered from the 2008-2009 financial crisis, though the sector has yet to advance beyond pre-recession levels. According to the MergerStat, there were 28,829 M&A deals valued at $2.5 trillion across the globe in 2012, with final 2013 numbers expected to match, or come close to, that approximate level.

As the economy improves and as corporations pile up cash reserves from historically high profits, some investment bankers believe it’s only a matter of time before companies, especially U.S. firms, start to pursue M&A deals more aggressively.

“It’s a fantastic time to be in investment banking,” says one managing director at a Wall Street investment bank. “The M&A market is poised to really improve. Corporations are sitting on a lot of cash that they can put toward acquisitions. There’s a lot of business out there waiting to happen.”

About the Author: Jay Fitzgerald is a business journalist based in Boston. Over the years, his articles have appeared in The Boston Globe, the Boston Business Journal, the Boston Herald and other publications.

 

What Should My Cover Letter Include?

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In your cover letter, include information that truly tailors the application to a particular employer and specific job opening.  Complement and reinforce the qualifications presented in your resume, using words and phrases from the employer’s job listing and/or website.

Here are some points about content you’ll want to keep in mind as you write your cover letter:

  • How you learned of the job or company is important to recruiters and hiring managers, especially if there is a mutual connection that can speak of your qualifications.
  • Demonstrate a good fit with the employer’s corporate or organization culture.  Be sure to back up any assertions of personal characteristics by describing the resulting achievement either on your resume or in your cover letter.  Ideally, the cover letter refers to information found on your resume without being repetitive or redundant.
  •  Go beyond the resume in explaining your situation and career direction.  For example: “My career goals include gaining leadership experience in the delivery of financial advising services in a private business setting.  I am open to relocation for the appropriate opportunity.”
  • Avoid discussing weakness or making excuses; instead, concentrate on what you have to offer.  The cover letter is not the place to confess your mistakes or problems.  For example, if you’ve been laid off, don’t mention that fact.  Instead, discuss what you have done recently to be productive or better prepared for this job (e.g. I have recently completed training in….or I have gained valuable marketing experience volunteering with….).
  • If salary requirements are requested in a job posting, discuss them in your cover letter.  It’s best not to trap yourself by naming a specific amount.  Instead, say something like “my salary requirements are in step with the responsibilities of the position and the expertise I would offer your company.”  If an ad or job posting absolutely requires a salary figure, state a range, such as “seeking a compensation package to include benefits and a salary in the low-to mid-$30s.”

Guide to Investment Banking: Part 2 of 3

 

Are You an Ideal Candidate?

For junior financial analyst positions, the ideal candidate is someone with a bachelor’s degree in finance, business administration, economics, math, accounting and other majors that show a person can sift through and make sense of reams of complex financial data.

But because investment banks deal with a wide array of companies, those with special secondary majors — particularly in biology, chemistry, computer science, and healthcare — are particularly desired by investment banks, which often represent and interact with software firms, biotech and pharmaceutical companies, healthcare institutions and other corporate entities that might be going public or merging with another company.

The bottom line? Having a secondary major in a specialized non-finance field is often considered a major plus if an analyst, associate or vice president can grasp the lingo and intricacies of a client’s product or services, industry officials say.

A grade point average of 3.5 and higher is considered a must for a position at most investment banks, many of which will recruit heavily, and sometimes exclusively, at top-rated colleges and universities. Smaller investment banks may not be as picky what schools people attended, as long as candidates show they’re razor sharp and ready to handle complex investment-bank duties.

In addition, some industry insiders also say they’re always on the prowl for young candidates who have proven they can commit themselves to projects and can work within team environments. As a result, some investment banks favorably view those who played varsity sports or excelled at some other extracurricular activity.

For those wanting to move up the leadership and compensation ladder within investment banking, getting an MBA degree is generally considered critical after someone has served about three years as a junior and senior financial analyst.

Job Interviews and Prep

Never underestimate the importance of job interviews at investment banks, but also don’t psyche yourself out beforehand to the point you act unnatural and come across as uncomfortable, industry officials say.

The entire goal, from the interviewer’s standpoint, is to gauge whether candidates are as sharp as their cover letters, résumés, school records and recommendations may suggest. So, if you’re young, expect lots of questions about your college studies and activities, internships, and prior summer and post-college jobs.

  • If you’ve already worked at an investment bank in a part- or full-time job (or as an intern), expect detailed questions about projects and deals you’ve worked on, as the interviewer will try to gauge the depth of your knowledge about investment banking.
  • Know the names of investment bankers and other executives you have worked with in the past. You may be asked about them.
  • Have mental lists ready about your strengths and weaknesses, and be prepared to talk about them. Questions about careers goals and special fields of interest are also common, as are questions testing skills with spreadsheets and various software programs, including Excel, PowerPoint and other programs specific to various industries.
  • Some investment banks may pose verbal tests to candidates, such as outlining a hypothetical scenario in which a company is trying to buy a similar firm — and then ask how you would approach researching the deal.
  • Have questions ready for the interviewer — about what type of deals you might be involved in as an analyst or associate, or the prospects for promotion within an organization.

By all means, convey a strong desire to work hard and passionately, because that’s exactly what you’re going to be expected to do if hired.

Compensation — What are You Worth?

After all the long hours of research, deadlines, travel and nerve-racking meetings required to piece together major capital and M&A deals, it can be all worth it.

First-year analysts at big Wall Street firms can make salaries of $100,000 to $150,000, with signing and performance bonuses potentially pushing those figures up by 25 percent or more, according to industry insiders and experts.

But the pay goes up almost exponentially in later years as one moves up the corporate ladder. The reason? Commissions off of capital deals can range from 1 to 5 percent for investment bankers — and that means big bucks for mid-level bankers and even bigger fortunes for senior managers.

Every bank has different titles conferred on personnel, and investment banking is no different. But after junior and senior analyst positions usually progress to associates, and then on to vice presidents.

  • Associates generally hold an MBA and have more than three years of experience. Total compensation often ranges from about $250,00 to $500,000.
  • Vice presidents generally have an MBA and a minimum of five years of experience. Compensation hovers between $300,000 and $1 million.

The top-echelon jobs, such as directors, principals, partners, managing directors and department heads — however they might be described — is where the seven-figure salaries start kicking in. The compensation for the very top managers, depending on the size of a bank and its deals, can easily get into the millions or even tens of millions of dollars.

About the Author: Jay Fitzgerald is a business journalist based in Boston. Over the years, his articles have appeared in The Boston Globe, the Boston Business Journal, the Boston Herald and other publications.

 

Guide to Investment Banking: Part 1of 3

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A job in investment banking remains one of the most enduring and sought after positions within the financial sector due to the potentially eye-popping financial rewards for key players.

But, those long-term rewards combined with recent banking industry changes have also made investment banking one of the toughest and most fiercely competitive fields to crack into within the financial services sector.

“They’re definitely unique jobs,” says Richard Deosingh, the regional manager in the New York office of Robert Half, the giant professional staffing agency. “It’s very fast-paced, and it’s not at all your typical 9-to-5 position. It’s long, long hours with big returns, if you can get into it.”

And that “if” is the biggest hurdle for those who have their hearts set on a career in investment banking.

What Is Investment Banking?

Investment banking is non-retail banking that generally serves corporate clients, governments and major institutional investors.

Household checking accounts and handy sidewalk ATMs are not the norm for these financial firms and clients, thank you.

Over the years, due to major regulatory changes and global market forces, the investment banking sector has changed a lot — so much so that someone who started out in investment banking in the 1970s, 1980s and even the 1990s can barely recognize the industry that it’s evolved into today.

Before major regulatory changes in the late 1990s, investment banks were usually smaller partnerships that were more associated with raising capital for IPOs, private placements, bonds, and giant merger and acquisition deals, among other things. As a result of these regulatory changes, today’s investment banking units are often housed inside giant banks that have separate retail banking operations.

In the modern era, investment banks are often huge publicly traded institutions that provide a host of investments services, including corporate finance, trading and research analysis.

However, the “core” of investment banking, strictly speaking, is still associated with raising capital and providing advice on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) — and that’s precisely the field many young investment banker wannabes often want to crack into when they think of careers in this lucrative sector.

A Day in the Life of an Investment Banker

Every job within an investment bank varies, usually depending on the seniority and specialties of individual personnel.

But if they’re all rowing together, the collective goal is to find and raise capital for clients, as well as come up with strategies and solutions to secure capital under the best terms possible for major IPOs, private placements, bond issuances, and M&A deals.

And all those deals are usually, at minimum, measured in the multimillion- and multibillion-dollar ranges. They most definitely don’t fall into the category of routine retail or small-business loans.

The jobs entail long, grueling hours of research into individual companies, industries, markets and even the entire economies of countries and continents, as investment bankers and their small armies of researchers try to measure the potential value and sizes of various transactions.

Investment bankers and their team members will also spend long hours on:

  • Courting potential clients
  • Traveling across the country and globe to research and secure deals

Ultimately, investment bankers are not only savvy about negotiating mergers and acquisitions and raising capital, but they must also be good with clients. In the end, they are salesmen and compete fiercely against each other for very high-stakes corporate business.

One important consideration: Investment bankers are on call 24/7. If a company makes a sudden move over a weekend to buy another firm, all members of an investment banking team had better be ready — on any day, at any time.

“It is a great business for the right person,” says F. Mark D’Annolfo, a former investment banker who’s now managing director of the Stephen D. Cutler Center for Investments and Finance at Babson College. “It is very entrepreneurial, and the work is often highly interesting and intellectually challenging. However, since these jobs often involve a great deal of travel and long hours, they are not for everyone.”

About the AuthorJay Fitzgerald is a business journalist based in Boston. Over the years, his articles have appeared in The Boston Globe, the Boston Business Journal, the Boston Herald and other publications.

When, and How, To Bring Up Salary in an Interview

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There’s no telling when the salary discussion may come up in an interview, but bringing up your desired salary too soon could be a risky move. It’s important that your are able to present yourself, your abilities, and what you can contribute to the company before your price tag.

Employers want to get a sense of your salary expectations as early in the job interview process as possible. They will often press you to name a specific salary number or salary range. Avoid this for several reasons:

1.If you name a figure in response to a question about your salary expectations, it could be well above what the employer had in mind, and your interviewer’s thoughts will shift to another candidate.
2. If the figure is too low, you’ll be stuck with less than what the employer was planning to pay—and you may even come off as less qualified to boot.
3. The employer knows the responsibilities of the job better than you and therefore is better qualified to assign it a dollar amount. Once that happens, you are in an excellent position to discuss why you could bring more to the position than someone else.
Here is an example of how to avoid naming the salary first—even when explicitly challenged by the employer to do so:
EMPLOYER: Do you have a minimum salary figure in mind?
CANDIDATE: I have several opportunities I’m considering, and each one is a little bit different, so I’m taking all of the circumstances into account. Would you mind giving me some idea of the salary range for this position?

In most cases, a hiring manager isn’t going to drop you from consideration just because you dodge the initial salary question successfully. In fact, you may have a better chance at getting the job offer in the end because you had the opportunity to go through your value-increasing presentation first; other candidates who name a salary early in the interview process may never get the chance to present themselves fully, because the manager may be turned off after hearing their asking price.

Small Business Or Big Corporation? How To Know What’s Best For You

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As you go through the job searching process, you will find that there are all types of company sizes within every industry. Although you may be completely confident on the exact industry you want to pursue, you may find yourself wondering whether a large or small company is best. The answer really lies with you and your preferences, strengths, and personality.

Whether you’re looking for your first job or your fifth job, your colleagues and the environment you’ll be in everyday is crucial to the long-term career path you will take. So therein lies the question, “What’s the right company size for me?”

To answer that question, check out some of the job factors below and determine what seems to best suit you overall:

Culture and Processes

In a large company, there are a lot of team members that may be dispersed through different parts of the country and even the world. For this reason, the culture and processes in larger companies tend to be more rigid and defined to ensure everyone stays on the same page. Individuals that excel in this type of culture appreciate following processes and clear expectations.

In a small company, teams will be more agile and less defined. You will get to know team members in the company very closely in a relaxed culture that has likely been built organically. Personalities may be strong and opinionated, but each individual will undoubtedly be working toward the same clear goals of the company. For this reason, strict internal processes will be less important and are many times somewhat lax.

Management

In a large company, you will have a dedicated team that works directly with one or two managers who are in charge of all the team members. It is unlikely that you will interact with, or talk to, management that is above your direct manager(s). The company’s vertical hierarchy helps keep those in high-level positions focused on the bigger picture for the company, and the managers focused on making sure the big picture is delivered.

In a small company, upper-level management, all the way up to the CEO, will often interact and even collaborate with all levels of the team. This can provide an invaluable experience that will help you gain knowledge and skills from top leadership in the company.

Personal Growth

In a large company, by focusing strictly on your major tasks each day, you can easily become an expert in whatever you’re doing. This type of expertise can provide great opportunities later on in your career. Advancing within a larger company generally has defined process, which makes it easy to know what you’re expected to do in order to advance.

In a small company, career advancement does not generally follow a defined process, but naturally happens over time. Because all of the team members work with you on a daily basis, upper management is able to see your growth firsthand. Advancements may come in all different forms — increased responsibility, a new title, or a pay increase.

The opportunity to shift your career focus may also be something that can happen in a smaller company. Because of the agility and flexibility a small company requires, you may happen to stumble upon something that interests you more than your current job and find yourself shifting your career focus.

This is your career path, so choose your steps carefully. There is no right or wrong answer for working in specific company size; you may excel in one and not the other based on your personality, strengths, and preferences. Regardless of which fit is best, choosing the path and environment that’s right for you will ultimately help you advance in your desired career path.

What do you think? Do you prefer a small or large company? Why?

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and#ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.