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Big Opportunity in Small Places

Posted: October 29, 2012 2:00 P.M.
by Memorie Bailey

Coming from a relatively small town, I’ve never taken a liking to big cities. Don’t get me wrong — it’s a lot of fun to visit the sea lions at PIER 39 in San Francisco, watch the American Ballet Theater’s production of Swan Lake at The Met in Manhattan, and tour our national monuments and memorials in Washington, D.C.

Personally, I could never see myself living or working in such busy places.

As a future PR professional, obviously this preference could prove problematic for me as I try to find a job in the industry, given that most agencies are located in big cities. I’m accustomed to more easy-paced cities where there is a larger emphasis on personal relationships.

As I’ve begun the strenuous task of job hunting, I’ve researched places where I’d like to live and work that can offer this type of environment. I’ve investigated some boutique firms in smaller cities where I can not only apply my PR expertise, but also feel comfortable and at home.

Through my research I’ve learned that boutique agencies can make just as much of an impact as large agencies. There are certain advantages to working for large firms, but small firms provide those benefits on a more personal level.

After reading several articles on the advantages and disadvantages of large firms versus small firms, I’ve learned two important things:

Intimate expertise: Smaller firms are able to foster more intimate relationships with each client. Employees are dedicated to considering their clients’ strategic goals at all times and put forth their best effort. Staff members have more time to devote to each account and treat each client as an individual.

Working for fun: Small PR firms sometimes operate in unique and fun working environments. Closed rows of cubicles are replaced with open floor plans, allowing staff members to freely interact with one another. These relaxed working environments can foster innovative thinking and facilitate personal and interactive relationships among staff members and their clients.

So, if busy cities and large firms aren’t for you, there’s still big opportunity in small places.


  1. Post comment

    Memorie, this is a great point. That is the great thing about pursuing a career in public relations; the demand only seems to be growing. More companies are asking for specialized services that are better optimized in a small firm. For the job hunters interested in moving to a big city, the small firms exist there as well.

  2. Post comment

    I can relate to this article and wish I had written it myself. I was born and raised in a small town and enjoy knowing so many people in my community. I would like to have this same opportunity of finding a job in my field with room for advancement and still work and live in a “small” town. Those of us raised in small towns have spent our lives networking and making personal connections with the friends we have grown up with and their families. All too often, people believe that it is necessary for them to be in a big city to be successful. “Small towns” give us the best of both worlds. By being able to have choices in our careers, even having to give up the higher salaries, we are able to enjoy the standard of living we have grown to appreciate.

  3. Post comment

    I enjoyed this post because I have been thinking about what kind of environment I personally would like to work in. You made some good points about the advantages of working in a smaller firm that I have not really thought of. I guess it really is also deciding what environment works best for you and the kind of atmosphere that fosters your best work.


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