How to move from a small company to a large enterprise: and vice versa
Do you aspire to work on larger more prestigious projects by getting a construction engineering job with one of the bigger firms? Or are you looking to move to a smaller operation to get a better work-life balance or a broader scope of work?
Moving from a small company to a larger enterprise and vice versa is not always straightforward. The larger firms tend to want people who have experience of working on large construction projects, whereas the smaller guys want people who are not too specialised.
So how can you make the transition in the construction engineering fields?
For many candidates it’s not going to be a quick process. While some are fortunate to be able to walk into their dream job in a different sized firm, others need to plan for the long term. For many the first step is to get the right kind of exposure to the construction engineering projects a prospective employer works on, and transferable skills that make you a more attractive candidate.
Here are some of the ways you can get this experience and skills.
How to get the right exposure and skills to move to a different sized construction engineering firm
- Identify what skills and exposure your ideal company wants
The first step is to really understand what experience and skills a prospective employer wants and where you have a gap. Spend some time researching different companies and looking at job advertisements to see what they’re asking for. Speak to specialist construction engineering recruitment agencies, like ourselves, to get a second opinion and advice on what areas you should focus on developing further to secure your dream job.
Also identify the things that are in your favour. Transferable skills and experience that will positively help a company of the size you’re interested in. There may be opportunities to sell skills and experience that candidates who already work in a larger / smaller business don’t have.
- Seek out opportunities with your current employer
Having identified your skills / experience gaps, see whether you can get the exposure you need with your current employer. For example, if you work for a large enterprise you may be able to request work on the smaller projects they get involved in, taking a more leading role within a smaller team.
If you want to become more specialist so that you can transition to a larger company, seize any opportunities to develop those specialist skills and get the experience you need. You may still need to offer your company a broader skillset but by putting in extra hours and learning from specialist contractors you can improve specific areas of your knowledge and experience.
- Investigate training
Your current employer may not be open to investing in your professional development if the end goal is to move jobs. But you can! See what training is available that can help you broaden your skillset or become more specialised, depending on your goals.
Focus on gaining qualifications that a potential employer will view as a good substitute for hands on experience. For many employers your commitment to developing the skills they need will also make you a more attractive candidate.
- Consider a sideways or incremental move
Making the transition from a small company to an enterprise or vice versa in one go, may be too big a step. Instead a sideways or incremental move to a company that can help you get relevant exposure may help you towards your end goal.
Speak to your recruitment consultant about the type of companies that might be suitable. Our team have an in depth knowledge of our clients’ company structures, their different roles and the type of projects they work on, so can help you identify the right employers.
- Make sure you understand the difference in culture
Finally, make sure you understand the difference in company culture, as well as the difference in jobs. Enterprises and small businesses have very different cultures and you need to be 100% sure you’ll fit in and be able to demonstrate to prospective employers that you’re a good fit.
If you’re thinking of moving to a small company you might find that politics play quite a big role in decision making and relationships between the team. Whereas larger companies tend to be more bureaucratic with hierarchical structures. You could find that you’re working in a silo and it can be a slow process making any significant changes. Smaller companies are generally more agile, decision making is quicker with more flexibility. However, generally a large company will have more resource capability so when a decision is made, it’s backed up with investment and support.
If you are ready to start looking for a new role and would like our support, please get in touch. In the first instance we can talk through your goals and experience to date to help you formulate a plan to get where you want to be.
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