Career Advice, Jobs, Resumes, Reviews

How to Get Hired at a Small & Medium-Sized Company in 2017

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“True ownership” is a featured testament from a current Greenhouse Software employee, one of the companies named as Best Places to Work 2017. The same employee continues to list the pros of working there as:

1. Collaborative Environment
2. Amazing Culture
3. Energizing Teams
4. Hardworking Contributors

This sums up many high points that careerists I’ve worked with say about their experience at a well-run small or midsize organization. Add to that the opportunity to wear many hats and in some instances, advance rapidly to greater responsibility and challenge as the company grows, and you may have the recipe for the ideal organization.

Small companies can be defined as start-ups on a fast-paced growth trajectory or longstanding organizations that have chosen to remain smaller or anything in between. Midsize organizations often are past the start-up phase and generally with larger revenues than small companies, but also share many of the characteristics of their smaller counterparts.

[Related: See Open Jobs At The Best Places to Work]

Whatever the case, smaller and midsize companies often have expectations for employees a bit different from larger enterprises. They may expect you to pitch in across functions and pull extra weight outside your scope when needed, for example. You may be answering the receptionist phone one day and crunching budget numbers the next. And most of all, for the award-winning and best-places-to-work listed companies, they have great leadership and employees teaming to pull toward a common vision.

For job seekers wanting to garner interviews with small and medium companies, therefore, you’ll want to consider the following when building your resume:

1. Headlines | Value Proposition Statements
Ensure you indicate a focus on small and medium size companies. For example, if you are looking specifically for medium size and fast growing, you might headline your Summary or Profile with:

Focus: High-Growth, Mid-Size Listed Firms, $500K to $1 billion in Revenue

Or, if you’re seeking industry-specific at a smaller firm, you may write:

Target: Manufacturing Companies with $25M to $50M+ Revenue

Basing the revenue numbers on Gartner’s definition of a small and midsize business (SMB), is one way you can hone in on the target company via the size of revenue produced.

If you have worked for similar size companies, include a brief description of each company you’ve worked for in the resume’s Experience section to further reinforce you’ve been there and done that.

[Related: What To Put In Your Resume’s Objectives Section?]

2. Experience Stories
As well, keep in mind the qualifications, traits and experiences smaller and midsize companies seek; e.g., nimbleness, hard work, ability to wear multiple hats, innovation, collaboration, knack for saving money and time, experience in expanding revenue etc., and be sure to hit on as many of those in your stories as you can. For example, you may demonstrate an ability to:

Contribute to company growth by driving efficiencies, by saying:

  • Pivotal player in achieving growth for ABC company’s $52M operation, updating and streamlining multi-channel infrastructure into a single system.

Trim expenses, by saying:

  • Wrangled down import costs 45% by <and then explain how you did it>.

Innovate, by saying:

  • Increased market share 12% by ideating new social media strategy involving <and then briefly explain the strategy framework>.

Be nimble, by saying:

  • Focused on intricate details for employer and client, navigating stressful, often chaotic situations, as needed.

The bottom line is to focus the resume language and nuanced stories to the target reader’s needs. Beyond the general rules of thumb about small and medium companies, you will want to read the company’s website and any other information you can find (including Glassdoor reviews) to understand culture and overall needs and expectations. Speak to that in the resume and all other on- and offline career messaging to improve your chances of resonating your solutions with their challenges.


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