If you are currently working in a small firm and going for a role in a bigger company makes you nervous, don’t be. You might be surprised to learn how many similarities there are and how good a match your skills will be to what big firms want. Here are five reasons to send in your application for that enterprise job.
1. You already know the technology
Access controls are access controls. The fundamentals are the same, even if the servers in a large enterprise have bigger processors. Have confidence in your skills: you already know plenty about the technology in use in larger companies, and probably use some of it already. And if you do find something that you need to clarify, system documentation, Google or a colleague will help you find out how to do it.
2. You understand the business needs
Working in a small firm means that you likely have skills in a wide variety of areas, including working with business people. Candidates who have only worked in large businesses often have a narrower skill set, as they have had the opportunity to specialize. This could also mean that they’ve found themselves working less closely with colleagues in the rest of the business than you have.
Your SME experience has given you the chance to talk to your colleagues about what services they need to do their jobs. You’ll know about the challenges of keeping a mobile workforce running, and you’ll have talked to the people who struggle when the network isn’t available. This can yield unique insights, making you better at coming up with network admin solutions that work for the business.
3. You’ll have a bigger team
A bigger team means you won’t have to be on call all the time. It also gives you the chance to learn from specialists and those with different experience. You won’t get exposure to those people if you stay in an SME with a small, insular networking team.
You’ll be able to specialize if you want to, and you’ll be able to benefit from things like additional training. It’s harder to justify—let alone attend—a training course that takes you out of the office if you’re the only person who understands how to configure the application performance monitoring tools and there is new software being launched this month. A bigger team means you can spread the load and turn your BlackBerry off when you are on vacation.
4. You know you can deal with problems
There might be more of them, but the approach to fixing problems and troubleshooting remains the same, regardless of the size of the business. OK, your change control processes might be a little bit slack in a small firm – you just do what you have to do when the CEO leaves his iPad at home – but you’ll understand the concepts, even if you don’t always apply them in your current role. Be prepared for much more rigorous change control. It’s essential to manage changes effectively, since in a large organization, more of them typically happen at any given time.
If you’ve got a tried and tested approach to firefighting, then this will no doubt work in a larger business. Whether you’re dealing with a small blip in the logs or a massive network outage, the methodical and calm way of handling problems that you currently use will work just fine in a big enterprise.
5. You’ll get better benefits
Bigger firms tend to provide better benefits, and a step up in company size is a good career move if you want to get into a management or director role at some point in your career. It’s not good form to ask about the benefits at your first interview, but do investigate the package on offer before taking the job. Many small firms have excellent pay and benefits, but large companies can offer insurance, healthcare and pension packages that small businesses simply can’t afford.
Of course, the world of big business brings challenges, too. Whereas small firms can be nimble and get projects moving quickly, governance requirements and long-term corporate strategy often means that the bigger the enterprise, the slower it is to implement change. Bigger teams lead to breakdowns in communication, so you’ll have to make more of an effort to keep your colleagues informed. And contrary to what you may believe, there isn’t always money going spare for the latest UC monitoring tools or to make a big architectural change to open source, just because you think it is a good idea.
But for all the challenges, taking an enterprise job can be hugely rewarding and a great career move. So what’s stopping you sending off that application?