It can be difficult to find the right fit firm. There are several criteria to consider when finding your right fit including overall culture, career growth opportunity, alignment with the work you’ll be doing, the mentors you’ll be learning from, and many more. The size of the organization is oftentimes a large factor in shaping some of those criteria. Many of the job seekers that we work with are unsure what size firm they should be considering. There are benefits with organizations of all sizes so stay tuned for some tips on helping you identify the right firm size for you.
Characteristics commonly associated with smaller organizations:
- Less-Structure/Increased Breadth of Opportunity: Career opportunities within small firms often provide a less-structured environment and day-to-day responsibilities which allows new planners to dive right in and get their hands dirty in a variety of areas early in their careers. This could include researching recommendations for clients, placing trades, working with operations, and sitting in on client meetings in apprenticeship-type models where you are learning directly from more experienced team members.
- Carving A Path Based on Your Interests: Communicating your interests, strengths, and weaknesses is imperative in any opportunity. Based on some of the added flexibility within smaller firms’ independence, growth paths may be less defined which allows for each individual planner to carve the path alongside their manager or firm owner that is an ongoing fit for both parties. This is especially important to take an active partnership with your firm if you may be the first person they’ve hired for a particular role, or that has grown along a specific path.
- Direct Access to Mentor’s Time: Many small firms have their newer planners work alongside senior planners and partners, and many times even the firm owner in an apprenticeship style model. In this format, the new planner is able to secure valuable individualized time observing, learning, and practicing the ins and outs of the planning process and doesn’t have to share their mentor with a lot of other people.
Characteristics commonly associated with larger organizations:
- Established Processes and Procedures: Larger firms have usually been around longer and have had to develop and refine processes and procedures to reflect their growth and success. This may reflect in roles being focused on a smaller set of tasks where you need to exhibit more depth than breadth in your responsibilities so that you can contribute to a larger team effort.
- Defined Role and Growth Path: Growth paths are important considerations in any firm size. In large firm environments, established organizational charts tend to allow less wiggle room in what the path for growth looks like. There are typically organizational markers that outline a growth path that has been exemplified by others within the firm and may be more rigid based on the structure.
- Access to Multiple Mentors and Approaches: Mentors and knowledge foundations within the profession are extremely important in both learning and gaining perspective to your planning approach. Working within a larger firm may provide you the opportunity to work alongside an array of other planners for which you can leverage and discern knowledge on a greater scale; this may mean less one-on-one mentorship time if you are splitting time between working with multiple mentors at the same time.
Narrowing in on the firm size that is right for you will be based on your career priorities. Regardless of the size, we encourage you to find a team, culture, and client base that exemplifies why you chose this wonderful career and helps to get you where you want to go.
If you are entering the financial planning profession or seeking the perfect fit with a top-tier financial planning firm, submit your resume here or peruse our openings for entry-level planners. We are here to help you in any way we can so you can secure your dream job!