Is a Brand Name Necessary for Career Success?

As you start your career, how important is it for long-term success to get a brand name company on your resume early?  We’ve all heard stories of graduates who take a job at Google, Apple, IBM, GE, etc. and that experience sets them up for career success whether they advance within the company or leverage that experience for a new opportunity.

Should a job seeker hold out for a brand name experience at all costs?  Job seekers need to carefully assess both their career goals and the personal strengths to make the best decision.

If your goal is to work for the same company and advance within that organization, it is critical to land at a company large enough to support your future growth.  Is this company committed to promotion from within the organization?  Are there training opportunities available to advance your career within the organization?  Do you feel committed to the product or service they provide?  What is your tolerance for multi-level decision making processes?

If you are hoping to gain as much experience as possible, you may want to consider a smaller organization where you touch a wider variety of projects and gain a broader base of experience.  Do you want to do one specific thing and do it very well or do you want broader exposure within the function?  Are you flexible and able to adapt to changing priorities?

What if you really don’t want to risk of a small organization or the structure of a large one?  There are a multitude of options in between that can offer you valuable learning experiences and exposure as you grow and develop your career.

There are many ways to gain valuable and marketable experience.  There are many outstanding companies with strong managers and great learning experiences that are just not as well known.  Find a company you admire with products and services you respect and then focus on fit.  There are many jobs you could do in a wide variety of companies.  Find people you want to work with each day doing work that motivates you and keeps you learning and growing.

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