Going From a Small Business to a Corporate Career? (Top Job Hunting Tips)

Forty percent of U.S. employers report having difficulty filling jobs, according to a recent Manpower survey. The top reason cited was lack of technical competency, followed by absence of workplace “soft” skills. Positions most difficult to fill include everything from skilled trade work and sales to accounting and IT.


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The good news for qualified job seekers is that this makes you a strong candidate. But what if you’re coming from a small business background, and you’re trying to land a corporate job? Although the move up might seem intimidating, your job hunt can be successful if you follow some strategic steps.

Know What Corporate Employers Are Looking For

Corporate HR departments don’t stress the same hiring criteria as small companies, according to CareerCast. Corporate employers place more weight on education and experience, and this means you should emphasize educational and experiential credentials in your resume when seeking employment with larger companies.

Pursue Educational Opportunities

Because corporate employers place high value on education, boosting your educational credentials can be a path to landing a job. A 2014 CareerBuilder survey found that 27 percent of employers had increased their educational requirements over the past five years, and 30 percent were now hiring college graduates for positions previously filled by applicants with high school diplomas. These figures are higher for companies hiring workers with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, rising respectively to 46 and 43 percent.

While some employers stress STEM qualifications, liberal arts skills remain valuable, reports the Association of American Colleges and Universities. AAC&U research has found that 95 percent of employers value problem solving, critical thinking and communications skills more highly than a candidate’s major. Eighty percent of employers agree that all college students should pursue a broad education in both the liberal arts and the sciences.

Likewise, it can help your job hunting odds to take continuing education classes in areas that hone job-related skill sets. For instance, Moody’s Analytics Advanced Corporate Credit Analysis seminar is geared toward credit professionals who want to raise their skills to a more advanced level. Taking this kind of course demonstrates to employers that you’re intent on excelling in your field.

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Emphasize Agility

When building the experiential part of your resume, emphasize your ability to manage multiple workplace challenges and learn new skills on the job. Former hiring manager Alison Green says candidates coming from a small business background have an advantage here, in that smaller companies often require employees to wear multiple hats. Be sure that your resume highlights your ability to handle a variety of tasks that might be useful to potential employers.

Build Your Social Resume

Ninety-four percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to find and screen candidates, Jobvite reported in its 2014 Job Seeker Nation Study, while 76 percent of job seekers who used social media in their search found their position through Facebook. This means that making your social media profiles consistent with your job search strategy should be a priority. Think of your social profiles as your personal brand, and make sure the image you emphasize is what you want employers to see. Your social profiles should emphasize the same educational, experiential and personal qualities you stress in your resume.

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This article is published by Will Sherwood | The Sherwood Group |Website Design | Graphic Design | Marketing Communications: The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

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  • By Terri 21 Jul 2015

    Lack of technical competency? Hardly. Absence of workplace soft skills. Not. The problem of finding good people has ZERO to do with the workforce and EVERYTHING to do with unrealistic and excessive “requirements” — which are selectively enforced by employers and recruitment firms.

    If the employers were actually looking for people (not skill-matrix-widgets) and were offering parity (not ‘retro-wages’ = same pay as in the 1980s), they would easily be able to find talent to fill their jobs.

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