If you're job hunting, one way to potentially increase your chances of success is to look for a position with a small business. Many applicants focus their efforts on large companies, because they either are attracted to the idea of working for a household name or believe these companies have more openings. Yet pursuing employment opportunities with smaller companies can be a wise move.
Before you begin sending your résumé to every small employer with an opening, however, make sure you'd be a good fit for the company. Small businesses often have very defined corporate cultures, and working at a mom-and-pop shop can be different than working at a larger company.
The ideal candidates for roles with small businesses often have these traits.
An entrepreneurial mindset. By definition, small and midsize companies have fewer people to tackle projects, oversee initiatives and move things forward. As a result, employees need to be self-starters who can work on their own and think creatively about business solutions.
The ability to collaborate. It's hard to get any job if you aren't a team player, but in a small business, your ability to work and get along with colleagues is absolutely essential. The most effective employees can advance their ideas, but not at the expense of working relationships.
In addition, you should possess excellent listening skills and an upbeat personality. When you're working with the same tight-knit group every day, a negative attitude can easily affect the entire team.
A willingness to do it all. If you're a veteran of a large employer, you're probably accustomed to having someone in IT address your computer issues and asking the department's administrative assistant to order more office supplies. At a small company, however, you may not be able to call upon these same resources. Are you comfortable attending to all tasks, both large and small? And are you willing to help others who need a hand?
A focus on customer service. Every client counts for a small business. You'll need strong interpersonal skills to provide great service and ensure customer satisfaction. A small company may not be a place in which you'd thrive if you get annoyed by the small or "irrational" demands of clients.
A passion for the job. Small employers seek employees who don't merely punch the clock. They want people who show a true interest in and commitment to the bigger picture and understand the correlation between individual effort and the company's overall success.
Working for a small business offers many rewards, including autonomy, the opportunity to make large contributions, a chance to assume significant responsibility and often a family-type atmosphere that may be hard to find elsewhere. If you possess the right skills and mindset, working for a small business could be an excellent career move.