Applying to Small vs. Large Companies: What Are the Differences?
Before I list the differences between small companies and large companies from the job applicant’s viewpoint, let me list a couple of similarities:
  • Both small and large companies use applicant tracking systems these days. About the only companies that don’t use electronic systems to weed out resumes are sole proprietorships!

  • Both small and large companies expect to see a professional, clearly written, focused resume, not a generic “I can do anything; please hire me” appeal.

  • Both small and large companies go online to check out job applicants they are interested in.

The differences in applying to a small company vs. a large one include:
  • A small company generally has a tighter organizational structure. Your job responsibilities may be much broader than your job title. If you want to move from a small company to a large company or vice versa, your resume should reflect this difference in job titles and responsibilities.

  • A small company will have a simpler internal structure. You should be able to address your cover letter and resume to a specific person. A larger company may have an anonymous Human Resources Department or “info@” email address. However, through networking and online research, you may still be able to identify the hiring manager or department head.

  • A small company is likely to have a shorter interview process, if only because there are fewer people who need to interview you. When applying to a large company, be prepared for a telephone interview, several in person interviews and a longer time between the interviews and a job offer.

  • A small company is likely to be based in one geographic area. Unless you are applying for an outside sales position or for a position requiring contact with a specific non-English speaking group, your willingness to travel and your foreign language skills may not be relevant. But they could be critical information on a resume for a large company with many locations and an international staff and customer base.