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HUMAN RESOURCES

How do I find small businesses that want to hire me?

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An Inc.com user asks: I am a young employee of a large asset manager, but, ideally, I would like to get involved in managing a small business. What is the best way for me to get my story out to small business owners that may be looking for someone like me--smart, good experience, but no hands-on industry or small biz experience?

Allan Schweyer responds: While I cannot claim to be an expert in career transitions, I can offer a few suggestions.

First, you have an enormous pool of potential employers: 99.7% of American businesses are small businesses (under 500 employees), and they account for about half of all jobs in the country and have been the fastest growing segment of the job market for over a decade. Small businesses everywhere tend to read local business journals available in most cities. You can find job ads in these types of publications. Most cities also have a Chamber of Commerce and/or a Board of Trade, which are typically made up almost entirely of small businesses.

Small companies are less likely to use the large job boards in recruiting. Small companies are more likely to use less formal means of recruiting for non-specialized and entry-level jobs. They rely more on employee referrals. Do you know anyone who works in the type of small business you'd like to join? You might also speak with staffing firms that specialize in working with small business. Decision Toolbox (www.decisiontoolbox.com) is one example. And you should also make an effort to understand what HR and recruitment challenges small companies face so that you'll have unique insight into what they're looking for. Publications that cover small business issues, like Inc. magazine, can offer insight into this area.

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