With all the challenges facing those in reentry, it’s important to create a job search plan that is realistic, focused and tailored to the type of work you are good at. And you may want to include small businesses in the mix. Or concentrate on them exclusively.
And there’s an excellent reason for this. It’s one that might surprise you. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses provide 55 percent of all jobs and 66 percent of all net new jobs that have been created since the 1970s.
And it’s not just the number of jobs created. The number of small business themselves have increased 49 percent since 1982. Think about these numbers for a while. And then think about the advantages small business might be able to provide.
Benefits of employment at a small business
At a small business you will:
- Learn a lot about your job and how a business operates very quickly.
- If you take initiative, you’ll be able to get experience in a variety of areas.
- You will probably take on more responsibility than you would at a larger company.
- After you’ve offered value to the employer and learned the business, it may be something you could replicate in the future and become an entrepreneur yourself.
A small business can also offer entry possibilities that big corporations might not. First of all, there may not be the dreaded “box” on the application. Depending on the size, small businesses may not have human resources departments. The owner may do the hiring.
And since the owner is also running a business, they might not have time to wade through a pile of resumes. Be proactive and pick up the phone and call them – or drop by in person. Even better, try to find someone you know who might know them. LinkedIn is good for this. Having a referral is always the best way to approach someone when looking for a job.
Since most small business owners are entrepreneurs and often have to sell themselves and their businesses, they will appreciate your initiative.
Do your homework
Before contacting a small business owner or manager, however, do your homework. Pick out a handful of companies you really want to work for. Local chambers of commerce are excellent resource for this, since most of them have online directories listing the companies of their members.
Once you’ve chosen a handful of companies, learn everything you can about them either from the company website or their Facebook page and by studying up on businesses that might be their competition.
Come up with some ideas about how you could help improve the product they create, the service they provide or the way their business operates. Then, when you meet with the owner, you can share your ideas.
And knowing a lot about the business will help you in the interview. Although human resources personnel are trained to do interviews, many small business owners are neither very good at interviewing nor enjoy doing it. Your knowledge will help them feel at ease and can ensure a steady flow of conversation.
In addition to your elevator pitch, your well thought out list of ways you can help the company and your knowledge of the business, bring along a handful of questions to ask.
Be sure to ask for the job
And at the end of the interview, don’t forget to ask for the job, if you really want it. Say something like:
“I appreciate your time and enjoyed talking to you, I think I can contribute to your company, and I’d really like to work for you.”
If you don’t happen to be hired, follow up telling them that you were disappointed you didn’t get the job but would be interested in other opportunities if any open up. Also ask them to contact you if anyone they know might be looking for someone with your skills, talent and interest.