New graduates often feel compelled to apply for graduate schemes in large companies because they are led to believe they’ll have more job security and access to opportunities. However, this is not often the case and the truth is, small businesses appreciate talented graduates far more than businesses with hundreds of employees. So with 99.9% of the private sector made up of SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises), why do graduates often overlook the opportunities within smaller companies? The answer is an unfortunate lack of awareness and the huge shadow cast by big brand companies which engulfs smaller businesses. Career Savvy is here to help you discover the benefits of applying to SMEs, rather than restricting yourself to graduate schemes in large corporations.
Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions about big businesses is that there are more opportunities to progress your career. Although it is often possible to move within a large company when looking for a new career direction, in a small business you will have the opportunity to take on extra roles without moving at all. Your position in a smaller company will allow you to be involved in multiple aspects of the business. Therefore you will gain wider knowledge of how businesses run and develop new skills in areas you might not necessarily have had the chance to access in a bigger company. The opportunity to try your skills in a different aspect of a business might even lead to a different career path altogether; one you never realised you were good at or suited to.
You are far more likely to get to know your colleagues if there are less of them, thus the environment in a smaller business tends to be friendlier as people get to know each other better. Furthermore, you will have more opportunity to work alongside senior members in the company as smaller businesses have less hierarchy. Therefore you will be learning from the best in the business and be noticed personally for your efforts, which leads to…
Visibility and Credit
Because you will most likely know the senior members of the company, they will know you better and recognise your efforts. Thus your contributions will be apparent and no one else can take the credit for your success. However, it is important to note the flipside of this – failures will also be easier to spot. Your ideas are far more likely to be considered and taken on in a smaller company; they are often far more open to new ideas than bigger corporations. As a result, you have a greater impact within the company which is more rewarding for you and your career.
So don’t discard smaller businesses during your job hunt because they really do have a lot to offer you. Often your experience in a smaller firm will be far more enriching, more pleasant and help you to discover skills you didn’t realise you possessed. By all means continue to research and apply for graduate schemes within large companies - just don’t forget the little guys! Consider how much your role will be valued within the company before you dive in.
To find opportunities in SMEs, try more traditional methods of searching such as checking the local papers for vacancies and dropping your CV and cover letter through the doors of local companies. Also try adding ‘small company’ as keywords for your job search on job sites.
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