Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dear CR: How Do I Move From A Big Company To A Little One?

DEAR CAPTAIN RECRUITER,

Thank you for replying to my application. I am just starting my search after 20+ years of working at Big Company. I have noticed that smaller companies are concerned about how well I would do outside a bigger company. I will be making some modifications to my resume to address these concerns. Can I ask your advice on adding the following points to better illustrate this?

While I have been in a huge corporation, I ran my division as a small company:

* I frequently acted like a customer to experience our processes and to drill into why it's so complicated.
* We rarely benefited from the corporate infrastructure as the company is tuned for shipping hardware. We had to create our own software delivery, on-line support, consulting delivery, and R&D tools.
* I know almost every one of my direct reports across the world by name and background.
* I have a long list of customers who I visit and consult with on our new products and overall product and service quality.
* I am well connected in the EDA industry and know the top executives in my competitors and partners.

SINCERELY,
BIG COMPANY CHARLIE

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DEAR BCC,

The #1 way to overcome this is to make friends with someone who sees beyond your resume. Another good way is to start your own company. Another path is find a company where your deep domain expertise makes your value proposition high.

There's no way to hide 20+ years at Big Company, and there may in fact be some things that you aren't aware of that would make running a smaller company more difficult than you know. The concerns you are bumping into are coming at you for a reason, so you need to educate yourself and fight hard. Remember for every big company person that applies to a small company, a small company person is also applying and making things more competitive for you.

The silver lining is that finding a job is like this for everyone at every level. Your struggles upfront make the path more visible, which is an advantage if you ask me. You're smart enough to navigate this path, so decide where you want to be and work hard to get there. You'll likely find along the way that someone notices how much effort you put into kicking ass and may hire you for that reason alone.

CHEERS,
CAPTAIN RECRUITER

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