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Size it up: Job seekers can score big with small companies

Posted: Sunday, July 31, 2005

Tired of banging on the door of major corporations with your resume, but receiving no answer? While large companies with recognizable brand names are attractive employment prospects, career experts advise that thinking small can yield big opportunities.

More than 20 million small businesses operate in the U.S., according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Small businesses employ half of all private sector employees and have generated 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade.

A recent survey by http://CareerBuilder.com shows hiring activity among small businesses has remained solid in 2005. Sixty-three percent of hiring managers who operate in small businesses say they have recruited new employees over the last six months and 35 percent say they will be doing the majority of their hiring for this year in the third and fourth quarters.

Positive environment

"Small businesses provide a unique work experience where employees can gain valuable skill sets in a closer-knit environment and feel a real sense of ownership in the company's success," said Jason Lovelace, Vice President of CareerBuilder.com's Interactive Sales Group, which focuses on recruitment solutions for businesses with fewer than 100 employees. "We talk to small companies every day who are looking for motivated talent to propel their business forward and make that next big idea happen. Now is the opportune time for job seekers to take advantage of the growth potential these companies offer."

According to CareerBuilder's survey, hiring managers in small businesses are actively recruiting for everything from sales and customer service to information technology, accounting/finance and food service. However, 42 percent of these hiring managers report that it is difficult to fill their open positions.

A shortage of qualified applicants is sometimes due to skewed perceptions of the work experience afforded by smaller companies, according to some business owners. Notions that small businesses do not have the resources to provide adequate pay and benefits, are less stable or offer limited opportunities to move ahead are among popular misconceptions.

In reality, many small companies offer compensation that is competitive with their larger counterparts, produce considerable revenue and provide employees with the means to rise quickly through the ranks. In fact, job satisfaction levels for employees of small businesses actually track above the national average for all workers, according to the survey.

Close co-workers

Brigid Hay, who joined a small business seven years ago after working for a larger corporation, says there are distinct advantages to working for companies on this scale. She has served in different sales and marketing positions for Sayers 40, a value-added provider of technology products and services with 65 employees and annual revenues averaging over $100 million per year.

"There is definitely a greater sense of camaraderie when you work for a small company," said Hay. "Everyone knows everyone and, because teams are so integrated, you are exposed to a variety of learning opportunities. You feel like you can make a difference and you are recognized for your efforts. You're not just another number."

Abby McClure is a production manager for MakeBuzz.com, a small online marketing company that has seen financial growth every year since its inception in 2001. McClure describes her work environment as team-oriented, casual, fast-paced and flexible.

"In a small company, everyone is much more invested in the work product and in their team," says McClure. "There isn't a lot of red tape and you are able to see your ideas come to fruition quickly. You are also able to shape your own career path and job and grow with the company."



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