One of the first questions that those looking for college graduate jobs ask themselves is often: “Am I better off trying for a position in a big company like a global brand or a small company with a less formal, less structured environment?” If you haven’t asked yourself this question, you probably should. There are benefits and drawbacks to both options that we’ll discuss below.
Benefits for Entry-Level Jobs in Large Organizations and Small Companies
Status: Certainly, entry-level jobs working for a major brand or corporation look good and carry some weight on a resume. Experience at a small company does not necessarily jump off your resume to a future employer, but the broader experience that often comes with wearing many hats at a small company will certainly add weight to your resume and enhance your quiver of skills.
Training: Big companies often have large budgets for formal training and development to increase professional skills. This training can help develop skills and a large company with clout, especially one with a respected training program, can always be a plus for your resume. Smaller companies may not offer formal training, but this is often made up for by on-the-job training and opportunities to learn by taking on work that you would not get the opportunity to do in a larger, more structured company. You may have to learn on your own but the chances of you wearing more hats and building up a more diversified group of skills is much higher.
Opportunity for travel: Working for a major organization can open the door for national and international travel, depending on your role. Small companies usually cannot offer these opportunities, but they can provide broader opportunities to take on work outside your normal role, providing great experience and adding value to your resume.
Advancement opportunities: Companies with offices across the country or in different parts of the world often provide opportunities to work elsewhere, and they usually pay relocation expenses. Small companies may not offer relocation, but if they are growing there is a good chance you can move up the ladder much faster than a large company.
Getting noticed: It is harder to stand out in a big crowd than it is in a small one, so a good reputation may be harder to build and take longer to establish in a large company. Small companies let you establish your worth early, but be warned, there isn’t anyone to hide behind if you want to slack off.
Networking opportunities: Certainly, this is an area where a large employer scores more highly than a small one. With entry-level jobs, big companies generally offer better networking opportunities. Other benefits of a larger company may include better healthcare plans, insurance, pensions, and other benefits that add significantly to your base salary.
There is no single definitive answer to the question of which is better, a small company or a large corporation; it is a question that each person has to decide on an individual basis. Think about what you desire more: stability and structure or fluidity and change.