Once you’ve decided on an industry (for now- none of us are stuck anywhere!), the next step is to look for a job. You have a lot more say in this than you think. Aside from practicing your interview skills (and making your resume sound like you have a lot more experience than you feel like you have), this moment gives you a chance to think through your personality and the environment you prefer to work in. What company size to choose?

Some things we look for are: staff diversity, gender ratios, gender ratios in leadership, and the size of the company.

Here’s the Nav.it skinny on types of companies.

Small, Bigger, Big

Forgive us for stating the obvious: businesses or organizations come in all shapes and sizes. There is no gold standard, but we point this out because- yes, it’s nice to work for a company with big name recognition- but there are upsides and downsides to big, and you should take into consideration small or medium companies when looking for work.

Small

Small companies tend to have more upwards mobility or often give more responsibility to lower level positions. Also, if you’re proactive and strategic, you might be able to increase your responsibility and gain more experience quicker. There is a lot more, but if you’re looking at small, make sure you like the colleagues with whom you will work. One downside of smaller organizations is that people may have been promoted too quickly. Also, if the company hasn’t established its revenue stream yet, the direction it takes can change (and may feel like whiplash occasionally…).

Bigger

Medium size groups sometimes are really right in the middle.  They have some flexibility and upward mobility, but could also have some level of bureaucracy. If they are growing, they tend to have money and less growing pains than smaller organizations. If they are chugging along, they may have some entrenched staff and hopefully their organizational culture is solidified to create a positive environment for everyone. Advice here: ask people who work there how they like it.

Big

And then there are the big guys. In general, large size organizations tend to have beaucoup bucks, so salaries might be cush.  The organizational culture in big companies can be hit or miss. Sometimes they are awesome, sometimes they can be too sprawling, or too focused on the bottom line. One positive aspect of big companies is that usually a lot has been written about them. So do your research!

Tip of the day

To get a sense of an organizational culture: do a quick check of their employee benefits. 

What type of vacation package do they have? Flex, two weeks, use-them or lose-them? Want work – life balance?  Check the company’s maternity/paternity leave policy.  That will give you a sense of where their priorities lie (even if you don’t want kids, it’s a barometer reading).

Finally, if you can ask people working at the place what it’s like to work there, try and do it!

Conclusion

If you’re starting out, you may have to try different companies to get a feel for your options. That’s just life. However, over time, you will start to understand the culture and atmosphere in which you are the most productive and comfortable.  Then the Power You can target who and what you want as you grow.