We are often blinded by big brands and large corporations during our job search as we believe these companies will offer more opportunities. Graduates for example tend to feel obliged to apply for graduate schemes rather than jobs at smaller companies. But the reality is that your talents and skills can be far more appreciated in a small company and opportunities to progress, as well as witness what goes on behind the scenes of a business, are far greater. So it’s worth applying to smaller companies so you can receive more recognition and support in your career development. But it’s important to recognise that applying to a small company requires a different method than you would use for a large company, so here are our top tips.
It can be tempting during your job search to apply for everything and anything, but when applying to smaller companies it’s extremely important to know the company you’re applying for. Therefore you must target companies you actually want to work for and will have to research them so you know the company inside & out. The owner of the business will not appreciate an application or interviewee who clearly lacks the knowledge and passion for his/her company. So rather than applying to a great number of jobs you don’t really care about, be selective and really think about why you would like to work at each company.
You need prove that it is this specific role in this particular business that you want, not just a job. Therefore as well as making sure you’re up to scratch on the background and latest news of the company, it will certainly be worth trying to get to know the company through its employees. Use social media to reach out to current staff, join company profiles/pages and find out if anyone you currently know has any relevant contacts. If you manage to get a referral from somebody the owner or an employee at the company trusts, this could significantly aid you in the interview, and it may even lead to you achieving the job.
All new employees require some form of training when they take on a new role, but training requires your manager’s time, effort and money. In truth, training is a laborious process therefore you’ll find that most managers will prefer to hire somebody who will require as little as possible. To be the ideal candidate, particularly for a small company with less resources to spare, you must be confident in your ability to handle the role and show your initiative to the employer. This will help them to feel reassured of your ability and know that you’ll take a proactive approach as soon as you start.
It’s all well and good telling the employer how good you are, but something interviewers of small companies will especially want to see is how exactly you will make a difference to their business. For example, if their website needs a revamp and you have some ideas, bring some examples of what you would do to improve it. Or if you’re applying to a magazine and you’ve got an idea for an article or column, write it and present it in the interview. This of course will require effort and time on your part, but it has the potential to set you apart from the rest, so it’s really worth it.
Small companies may not necessarily advertise their jobs online or indeed publicly, therefore it’s always worth knocking on their door to see if any positions are available. You could even ask to speak with the owner, but make sure you actually have a clear idea of what you would present to them in terms of the benefits you could bring to the company. Smaller companies place more importance on building a team of employees that work well together, creating a positive company culture. If you can make a good impression in a meeting or interview with the manager, you could encourage them to contemplate how well you would fit in with this culture and subsequently be offered the position.
If you’d prefer to work in a close-knit environment where your work has the potential to make more of an impact, then it’s worth checking out the many opportunities offered by small companies. It’s important to adjust your approach in order to increase your chances of success. For those of you who are willing to put in the effort to appeal to the manager of a small business, no doubt you will be rewarded for your determination.
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