Finding work in a small or medium size business (SME)

What is an SME?

It means small to medium-sized enterprise and usually encompasses those business that have under 250 employees.

Why work for a small business?

Small businesses are generally less well known than the large organisations but there are many opportunities in the small business sector which provide great opportunities to gain experience and start your graduate career.

Many SME owner managers will want to recruit graduates and will be keen to identify potential leaders and senior managers of the future who can take the company forward. This often applies to family owned companies who do not have anyone in the family to pass the business on to, or perhaps they need a fresh pair of eyes and hands to move the company forward.

Either way, small businesses are increasingly interested in recruiting graduates and will offer great opportunities to progress for those that are successful in joining them and show potential to take on responsibility and seize opportunities to impress.

Where to find opportunities

The Careers Service works with thousands of small businesses and advertises opportunities both within the UK and internationally. The following are great places to look for these opportunities:

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP)

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme helps businesses in the UK (including many small businesses) to innovate and grow. It does this by linking them with an academic or research organisation and a graduate. The scheme can last between 12 and 36 months, depending on what the project is and the needs of the business.

Find current KTP Associate opportunities at:

Apply speculatively

As small businesses do not usually recruit large numbers of employees, their recruitment practices tend to be a little more informal. They are often happy to receive speculative applications, you should consider networking to make contacts. Get advice on networking.

UK Small Business Directory an extensive list of businesses searchable via location and category search.