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Good things come in small packages

It’s that time of year again; graduates who have just finished university riding high on the waves of their considerable academic success are being brought back down to earth with a bump given somewhat tricky market conditions making it difficult for them to find jobs.

Competition is fierce - a recent report by the AGR suggests that this year you can expect to go up against an average of 82 other graduate candidates for the job of your dreams. Large blue chip companies are experiencing record volumes of applications, with only the cream of the crop making it through extensive recruitment processes.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Much of the work I’ve been doing lately has focused on boutique professional services firms; placing bright and commercial candidates with some of the fastest growing consultancies out there, which are hiring pretty widely!

What’s interesting is that with some of the bigger consultancies being more cautious about hiring and focusing on weathering the storm, many of the smaller consultancies have been able to capitalise on this caution, growing slowly and steadily and acquiring some impressive clients along the way.

Why work for a smaller company?

Exposure: graduates working in SMEs often gain a more diverse skill set due to the size of the company and less distinction between roles. Therefore, they gain exposure to business areas and activities that they might not necessarily gain in a larger firm. This can range from increased client facing opportunities and input to the growth of the firm, which also means greater chances of being ‘noticed’ by senior colleagues.

Responsibility: With the increased exposure comes increased responsibility and accountability. They are encouraged to take greater ownership of opportunities given to them and freedom to develop opportunities that they identify.

Tailored career progression: Due to the lack of structured career programs graduates have more flexibility and ownership over their careers, often moving into roles that would be considered over and above graduate positions due to the fewer ranks to climb. This is attractive to those who would feel restricted in a planned scheme and career path with a set career progression.

Teamwork: In an SME there is typically an enhanced sense of team, where all employees get to be a vital part of the bigger picture to which every individual contributes to.

Often, opportunities with smaller firms won’t be widely advertised, so keep your eyes peeled and stay proactive. Register with FreshMinds, keep your eye on job boards and identify the industry you’re interested in so you can monitor relevant press and attend suitable networking events.