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Best Places to Start Your Career: Big Corporations Versus Smaller Startups

30 June 2010 5 Comments

This guest post was written by Go Banking Rates, bringing you informative personal finance content and helpful tools, as well as the best interest rates on financial services nationwide. Follow them on Twitter at @GoBankingRates and on Facebook at /GoBRates

Congrats college grad! Now it’s time to ship out that resume and get your real life going. As you know, the job market is tough and competitive. If you’re lucky enough to land a “real” position straight out of college, it still might not come with the salary, benefits or job title you expected. One of the only things in your control is where you submit your credentials.

So where are the best places to attempt landing your first job? According to Experience.com’s “2010 Best Places to Work for Recent Grads,” the size of the companies on the list range from 50 to a few thousand employees.

So which is better? The big fish or the little guy?

First, What Are Your Goals?

You want a little money and maybe some decent benefits, too? Shocking. Well, it’s understandable that in this economic climate, you’d settle for whatever pays you enough to move out of your parents’ house.

However, this is an article about the “best” places to start your career, so you might as well know what the great corporations to work for are up to.

The Importance of Career Training

According to Experience.com, 0ne of the measures making stand-out companies, big and small alike, great to work for is the time they spend mentoring you and helping you figure out how to design a prosperous career path. Regardless of the size, each of the listed companies have functional, cross-functional and e-learning/online oriented training programs that often include career counseling and career path design. It’s important to work for a company who can help you kick start your career, helping you learn and make strides toward progression and promotion.

Small companies might have a smaller ladder to climb up to the top. Then again, getting started at a bigger company might teach you how to climb further than you ever thought you could.

The Benefits of Working for Small Companies

Companies with fewer employees are able to offer certain perks that organizations with hundreds of employees may not.

Casual, Flexible Environment: Generally, smaller companies offer more casual work environments for their employees. Whether its through dress or informal interaction with upper management, this is a common characteristic of smaller businesses.

Hours also tend to be more flexible and environments are more open to discussion and collaboration. Capital One, for example, encourages employees to introduce creative ideas to senior management.

Corporate Kitchens: Small offices are usually stocked with free snacks or weekly take-out meals during company outings and events.

Time and Money On Your Side: Another common perk offered by smaller companies is more paid time off. Morningstar, for example, offers six weeks paid sabbatical to all employees every four years. Tuition reimbursement and annual bonuses are also more common among smaller businesses.

The Benefits of Employment with the Big Wigs

Wall Street: Larger companies with thousands of employees may not be able to offer as many cash bonuses, but they do offer lots of other high-value packaged deals. Stock options and profit sharing are among common benefits offered in big companies.

Rewards Packages: Larger corporations are also more likely to offer 401(k) plans, and other perks like cell phone plans, parking and transportation.

Full Campus: Some big companies offer perks that are unmatched by small businesses due to the differences in budget and space. Some business campuses, such as Progressive, contain entire communities filled with media areas, full fitness centers, cafeterias and dry cleaning services.

Big Budget Luxuries: Bigger companies obviously have bigger budgets to play with. Hyatt employees can stay at complimentary hotel rooms at Hyatt locations across the world, along with free or discounted meals at Hyatt restaurants.

Fidelity Investments has concierge services for their employees, and in some cases, companies like Target offer a 10 percent discounts to everyone of the 2,200 plus employees. Target also puts on annual concerts for their employees showcasing big-name artists like Black Eyed Peas and Faith Hill.

Common Ground

Whether big or small, international or domestic, there are some elements of the office environment both types of “2010 Best” companies value and offer employees.

Hands-On Approach: Both design their companies to help employees grow and figure out their strengths, which in turn contributes to the success and productiveness of the institution. Whether through full hands-on training with personal career counselors, or an open environment with direct connection to upper management, helping employees succeed is what also helps the company as a whole succeed.

Focus on Fitness: Health is one of the biggest aspects that companies are focused on. Most have on-site fitness centers or discounted gym memberships.

Company Outings: Each of these companies, both big and small, recognize the importance of team building and giving their employees a chance to develop a healthy and steady balance between work and personal life.


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