Career Development The Job Search

Pros and Cons of Starting Your Career with a Small Company

So you’re just out of college, and you’re lucky enough to receive two job offers. The first comes from one of the biggest names in your industry- everyone’s heard of them, and they practically set industry standards. The second comes from a smaller, local company. You’ve spoken personally to the owner, who has been enthusiastic about adding you to their team. You know how crucial that first position is in framing the rest of your career, so which offer do you take? There isn’t an answer that works for everybody, but here are some important things to consider while deciding whether or not to start your career with a small company.

Pros of Starting Your Career with a Small Company

  1. Flexibility- It goes without saying that a smaller group of people will be more flexible as a whole. There are fewer disagreements to potentially arise, and everyone will be relatively familiar with their coworkers. But what does that mean for someone who is starting their career? The company will most likely be more open to embracing technological and other changes, placing you within the future, or at least the present, of your industry rather than its past. Large companies are just too complex to embrace changes as quickly.
  2. Real Opportunities for Advancement- Anyone considering working for a large company, at one point or another, fears becoming trapped in a level or position. There are so many moving parts and employees that some simply end up forgotten. A small company, however, yearns for one thing- expansion. And for that expansion to take place, leadership positions that come with real responsibilities must be filled. If you can demonstrate to those in charge that you are leadership material, you will absolutely not be overlooked. Which leads me to my next point..
  3. Face Time with Those in Charge-Whichever offer you take, you’re going to work your hardest. Now, would you rather your hard work be noticed by the owners of your company themselves or the managers they’ve hired? Face time with the person with the largest stake in the company goes a long way

in terms of input on projects, promotions, and long term relationships.

Cons of Starting Your Career with a Small Company

  1. Large Companies Offer Valuable Experience- There are some things small companies just cannot offer. Among them are name recognition and resources. A big name will certainly stand out on a resume, and with more resources a large company can fund more projects, allowing you to acquire experience sooner and more rapidly.
  2. Smaller Networks- If networking is your main goal, you may want to think twice about working for a small company. While those at the company might be industry leaders in ten or fifteen years, chances are they aren’t now. And even though you’ll most likely be closer with your coworkers, there will be fewer of them to add to your network. Large companies often employ hundreds, and even thousands of people.

None of these pros and cons are intrinsically more important than the others. What really matters are the personal goals you’ve set for yourself. Do you want to lead? Build a network? Make your decision that way, and good luck!

Samantha Levine is a freelance writer for In her free time she enjoys cooking, traveling, and reading in coffee shops.


Leave a Comment