Guest blog: Getting Experience at a Start-Up or SME

beauhurst-1Over 90% of jobs are at start-ups and SMEs, yet many graduates still aren’t sure what sort of opportunities are available at these companies and how to access them. However, whether you are looking to go into finance, sales, tech, design, or any other sector there are a wealth of exciting opportunities at smaller companies that you should make the most of! Below, we tackle three myths about graduate jobs, to help you consider if a start-up SME could be for you.

  1. If you miss out on a place on a graduate scheme it is a disaster!

Many graduates get caught up in the flurry of applications to graduate schemes at the beginning of the year and it can be disheartening if you do not get a place on one. However, if you miss out, or you decide that this is not the route for you, smaller companies offer interesting opportunities year round. Things often move quickly at smaller companies, and they almost definitely won’t be employing a whole year in advance!

Also, start-ups and SMEs often have less rigid requirements (e.g. grades) and shorter application processes (e.g. they are unlikely to do psychometric testing). As long as you have potential, new ideas and you fit into the company culture, you will be a strong candidate.

  1. The best opportunities are at big companies

Graduate schemes and formal training schemes can be a great way to learn, but smaller companies also have a lot to offer when it comes to career development. You are given high levels of responsibility quickly because the business is growing and there is no time to micromanage new employees. Also, many roles at smaller companies cross multiple functions because the team is small so it is much easier to get a birds-eye view of the business than it would be if you were just in one department. This allows you to get the hands on experience which makes you really valuable to future employers. Also, it lets you have a real impact on your company – pretty good for a first job!

In terms of opportunities to move up at your company, as a small company grows, so do the roles of its employees. If you are good at your job you will be given more complex tasks and you will move up!

Many recent graduates worry about pay and job security at smaller companies. However, so many factors affect these things. If you are at established SME, then that is very different to joining a brand new start-up that is still volatile. Check out salary and company for each role, rather than just writing off all smaller companies!

  1. Corporates provide a better working environment

The bigger budgets of bigger companies can be seen as the route to the best working environment. However, this is not the only thing that contributes to a good experience at work. Smaller, tight-knit teams and regular team socials are common at smaller companies and you will have the chance to get to know your colleagues really well! Start-ups can be hubs of young, up and coming talent and the people you meet at work may come in handy in future!

The most important thing when choosing a graduate job is to think about what will suit you. If you do decide to look for roles in start-ups and SMEs then you will find them advertised on job boards, through your university careers service and on talent matching platforms like TalentPool. Once you have decided what is right for you, get applying!

Guest post by Tara Sallis, TalentPool.

TalentPool is a talent matching platform that connects top talent with exciting roles in start-ups and SMEs. Sign up for free in just 5 mins on our website (

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s