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In the start of my career, I worked for startup companies. I don't know but during those days, when I tried to apply for any mid-level or MNC for job opportunities, I never received call from them or let just say HR rejected the applications because my resume had startup companies mentioned in my resume. For few I did get calls, but I came to know from someone (via some source) that those companies mostly prefer people having work experience in MNc's (big companies) and they are very reluctant to hire people having work experience from small comapnies. And same is true for good funded startups.

Currently, I'm working in a big investment banking company as Software Engineer. I have offer from few startups (5-10 years old) and some staffing companies to be deployed on their client location. Would my future job opprotunities suffer again if I move from big to small?

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  • I did not experience that, but your experience could have some truth in it. The skills needed to work at a big corporation are quite different from skills valued at a startup: Startups need "jacks of all trades", as they don't have an expert for everything. Corporations will rather hire narrow field specialists, because they can afford hiring multiple people to get the job done But most probably your experience with failed job opportunities will stem from you being inexperienced at the start of your career, or just a failure to advertise your skills correctly in your cover letter /CV.
    – jwsc
    Mar 9 at 10:15
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I'd suggest that as long as you are good at what you do, you will always be able to find a job somewhere.

While it's common for companies to seek out candidates with past experience which aligns with the role in question, that's not always the case. There will always be companies and hiring managers who are more interested in raw ability or cultural fit. Equally there will be those who are willing to invest the time and resources in helping somebody who is taking a step up in their career.

The thing is, for a software developer, if you wrote Java/C#/whatever in small company, you can write it in a big one. The organisation size only really becomes relevant as you take on leadership responsibilities where managing stakeholders, co-ordinating with other teams/departments etc. become a significant part of the role. In a larger organisation this often requires more political nous and tact so prior experience can be an advantage. (Though, even then, as long as you have a good CV and can sell your abilities in an interview, there is nothing stopping you making the transition to a big company).

The question you should be asking yourself is what do you want to get out of your career? Are you driven by prestige or personal fulfilment/satisfaction?

If you want to be able to say you work in a globally known company or if you see success as having 200 people below you in the company org chart, then maybe looking to stay in a larger company would be good option and it will make the next move easier.

If on the other hand you're more concerned with fun/interesting/challenging projects and growing your skillset, then go chose your next role based on the work you'll be doing rather than the company size.

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Obviously this is not true, there are lots of great people at startups that would be hired by big corps anytime, and there are lots of great people in corporate who would be sought after in startups. All else being equal they might prefer someone who has more similar experience, but then they might want some fresh ideas to shake things up too. Regardless, all else is not equal and the dominant factor is whether you actually seem like a good fit for the job.

This might be why you are having trouble: Maybe your resume is too much of a startup resume that talks in language startups like and speaks to their culture. Big corps have their own culture and it's different from startups, their understanding of "normal" resume will also be different. The problem is not that you worked at startups, the problem is that you're applying to a big corp like it was a startup.

Answer to inevitable follow-up question: Look at people similar to you who are getting big corp jobs. What are they doing differently?

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