Smaller Employers

Most first-time or novice job seekers look to the large, well-known chemical employers for work. These types of companies use campus recruiting as a main strategy, hiring professors as consultants to advise them on students who might make good employees. Often paying high salaries and providing other incentives, large companies are the objects of widely circulated stock market analyses and reports.

While it's easy to find and target large employers, small companies are forming at rapid rates and are generating most new jobs in the U.S. Small companies employed 50% of the nation's nonfarm private workforce in 2006, according to the Small Business Association. (Small companies are usually defined as those with less than 500 employees; those with fewer than 50 are usually referred to as start-ups.) While recent job losses are widespread, small businesses' historical ability to create jobs are an important factor in the economic recovery.

Advantages of Small Companies

Small companies offer some advantages over large companies.

  • Customer Interaction
    A small company almost always has more direct interaction with its customers and can tap more quickly into changing customer needs.
  • On-the-Job Task Variety
    Employees in smaller companies take on more varied tasks.
  • Recognition
    In a company of 30 employees, if you do a great job, there is a good chance you'll be recognized. In a company of thousands, it's easy to be missed.

Most small chemical companies are not household names. They tend to advertise jobs locally, their businesses often are quite specialized, and typically they don't have a human resources department to promote openings. Use local resources (e.g., radio and newspapers), your contacts, and websites to learn about small employers' hiring needs. In addition, you can use NAICS codes to search for small companies that are working in the same business activity as larger companies. 

On the other hand, small companies do have access to the Internet and social media tools (e.g., Twitter) to advertise, message, and market. If your résumé is posted on major search engines, an employer of any size can easily find it. Your networking efforts should include both large and small employers, so you will hear about opportunities in both sectors.