Seasoned construction professionals and those just entering the work force tend to look for career opportunities with large, well-known construction companies whose names can be seen on projects all over town. Are the “big guys” a better place to get your experience or seek happiness after years in the industry? They can be or they might not be. It all depends on what you’re after and which company is in the best position to give you what you want. The reality is there are good “fits” for construction professionals in all sorts of companies—small, big and everything in between.
This is not about slamming big companies—far from it. Many large construction companies offer excellent projects to work on, tend to pay well, have long-term advancement opportunities and many more attractive benefits to their employees. The reason, however, that many construction professionals don’t always think about smaller companies boils down to brand recognition. Simply put, if you don’t know they’re out there or don’t know much about them, you are less inclined to investigate what might be an outstanding opportunity.
The fact that there are thousands of smaller to mid-sized firms that are general contractors, sub trades and suppliers in the construction industry just increased your chances for finding success and satisfaction in the industry many fold. Aside from simply increasing the odds, small to mid-sized companies also tend to be great places to work because of variety and opportunity. Working for one of these firms, you can often wear many hats and be exposed to many aspects of the construction process along the way. Your position may be Project Manager, for example, but because fewer staff share a project, you can get much more exposure to other aspects of the process like estimating, business development, finances etc. For those who like a greater variety and exposure to many facets of the business, working in a smaller shop can be highly rewarding. There’s also the corporate culture that some love about small and mid-sized firms. Often times there is a more intimate, familial culture with smaller firms that some professionals crave.
Sounds interesting you say, but how do I find out about these construction companies and potential opportunities? Small or big, many companies don’t advertise their positions and rely on referrals from trusted sources who know the industry and what employers are looking for. Employment advisors from a construction-specific recruitment agency are one of those trusted sources and they tend to deal mostly with mid and smaller sized companies. A good construction recruitment advisor can help you uncover opportunities that you won’t find on some generic job board and keep all your information strictly confidential. And, in addition to helping you discover what’s out there, they can hone your skills in interviewing, negotiating and distilling down what is truly important to your happiness and future career success.