Ask any job seeker what companies they are targeting and chances are they will list the big ones. In the last century, the place to get a good job, to move up the ladder, and to be successful in your career was generally in a large company one of the brand names found on top of a large building.
Technology changed that. While there are still good jobs in large companies, there are many more opportunities to create a career that fits your criteria in smaller organizations.
Why Target Small Businesses?
There are good reasons to target small companies in your job search:
-Small businesses can be more flexible with policies like work schedules, vacation, and telecommuting.
-Large organizations tend to be more hierarchical, structured and set in their ways. Smaller businesses are more likely to be open to innovation.
-There is more opportunity to shape your job to suit your interests and talents in a smaller organization. There is also more opportunity to learn and grow your capabilities.
-Small businesses are more open to career changers and to those who have unusual qualifications. Big businesses tend to be more rigid about their requirements.
-Some small businesses offer big company benefits. There is a growing trend of small businesses working with Professional Employer Organizations (PEO), which serve as an outsourced HR department for companies. PEO's help small businesses offer big-company benefits like medical, dental, and vision insurance, life and disability insurance, retirement programs, tuition reimbursement, and adoption assistance.
Finding Small Businesses in Your Area
Finding small businesses is more difficult than identifying large ones. Here are several avenues that work:
* If you are in a major city, start with your city's business journal. Look at American City Business Journals (http://www.bizjournals.com) for your city or type "business journal" and "your city" into a search engine.
* Connect with your local chamber of commerce. Most have online directories of members.
* Check with your professional trade organization. If you are a member, you may have access to an online membership directory.
* Network in your community. Ask people you know and those you meet about the up and coming small businesses in your community.
* Ask your local reference librarian. They are specialists in identifying sources of information in the library and online.
Good jobs do come in small packages. Stop thinking of small businesses as "Mom & Pop shops" and start thinking of them as great places to create a great career. If you only think "big" in your job search, you could be missing out on the job of a lifetime.
By Shannon Bradford
Shannon Bradford is a writer and coach, teaching people how to master their brains to succeed in their careers and businesses. She is the author of Brain Power (Wiley, 2002), 15-Minute Career Change, and 15-Minute Breakthrough. Find out more at http://www.15minutecareer.com