9 Reasons You Should Apply For Jobs At Small Companies

When looking for a graduate job it can be easy to only see the big corporate grad schemes. It makes sense; these companies have 1000s upon 1000s of pounds to spend on clever marketing campaigns to 'woo' you. When you go to careers fairs, they are the ones handing out free pens and gummy bears. You know the type. 

Of course these large companies offer some fantastic opportunities for grads, and we are by no means discouraging you from applying to them. However, there is a whole host of hidden graduate jobs which are worth investigating too - those within SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises).

So first things first, what is an SME? Well, it's any business that has fewer than 250 employees and an annual turnover of less than £50m. Some impressive facts which you might not have known about SME's:

  • ●  A huge 99.9% of businesses in the UK are SMEs

  • ●  The majority of the UK workforce are employed by SMEs

  • ●  There are 4.9 million SMEs in the UK, together they turn over £3,300 billion per year
By just applying to the largest grad schemes, you are targeting less than 1% of the businesses in the UK! You could be limiting your prospects right from the off.

Here at GT we love to support the underdog and, since we are an SME ourselves, we've decided to compile a list of 10 excellent reasons why you should consider applying to an SME!

1. You will take on responsibility earlier

Being part of a small team within an SME will mean that you will be able to take on responsibility earlier in your career. In general you'll have more control over projects you work on and will be able to use your own initiative a bit more.

2. Varied work

A graduate job at an SME is often more flexible than an equivalent position at a larger company. You will likely to be getting involved with lots of different tasks, rather than having a rigidly defined role. As a grad straight of uni, a job in an SME can be a great way to figure out what you enjoy and where your strengths lie.

3. Develop your commercial acumen

Commercial acumen is something that's often asked for from graduates, and working for an SME is a perfect way to get it! Whereas in a large business it may be difficult for you to get a good view of how the business as a whole works, in an SME you will be interacting with people from every department, and at every hierarchy on a day to day basis. By working in a smaller, closer knit environment you will pick up on how the different areas of the business run without even realising it.

4. Influence

In a larger company, it can sometimes be difficult to see how your work contributes to 'the bigger picture' of the company's success. When working in an SME  the direct impact you have is much more apparent, which can lead to high job satisfaction.

5. Progression

This is probably one of the most appealing facets of joining an SME as a fresh graduate. Whereas in larger companies it may take you several years to get a promotion and move up the ranks, in an SME your progression will often be a lot quicker. If you're looking to move up the career ladder quickly then joining an SME could be a shrewd move.

6. Location

A lot of large corporates are based in London, and require graduates to relocate there to take part in their graduate schemes. While this will appeal to a lot of people out there, life in the big smoke may not be everyone's cup of tea. There are likely to be a lot of SMEs in your town/city on the hunt for a grad like you.

7. Simpler application process, and less competition

While each graduate scheme process receives hundreds if not thousands of applications, jobs with SMEs are a lot less competitive. Rather than the six stage application process which big companies often have, graduate jobs with SMEs often require an application, and one or two interviews - that's it!

8. Start dates all year round

While the big grad schemes usually start in September, SMEs usually have no such structured yearly intake, and will recruit as and when they need someone - which is great if you are on the graduate job hunt mid year.

9. Develop your problem solving skills

Contributing successfully to an SME will often involve having an entrepreneurial spirit and problem solving skills. Budgets are much more limited than those of huge corporations, and it can be difficult to get customers and clients to use you, rather than a larger business, so you'll often have to think outside of the box and find inventive solutions to problems. These skills will stand you in good stead, whether you choose to carry on working for an SME or want to join a large company later on in your career.

We've got a number of SMEs as well as the big dogs on our site - why not see if any of them take your fancy?

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