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Have you thought about targeting local SME businesses for your job search?

By Irrum Ali, on 15 July 2014

So, you’ve decided the big corporate world is not for you.  You would much rather work for a smaller company – an SME, where you can make your mark, take on responsibility, get to understand the whole business not just a fraction of it, and potentially rise to the top.

The next stage is to work out what SMEs are out there and how to target them?

 One way might be to think about what is on your doorstep.  Students based in London have a plethora of businesses to target and the majority of them are SMEs.  According to the Federation of Small Businesses and Department for Business, Innovation & Skills there were 841,000 private sector businesses in London in 2013.

From data that we collect through the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey we can see that during the last 5 years after graduation 827 UCL students had graduate level roles in SMEs across London with 294 UCL students in businesses based near UCL in the WC1 area.Careers Fair

In just one year (2012/13) 395 UCL graduates had graduate level positions in SMEs throughout London six months after they graduated.  Of those students 35 were based just near UCL.

By targeting local businesses to UCL you can build up a relationship with an employer while you are still a student.  The employer is likely to know UCL, might be extra keen to engage with UCL students and could be willing to offer you the opportunity you have been looking for.

Once you have your target list of SMEs you will need to contact them to see what opportunities they might be willing to offer – you could ask if they have a summer internship scheme or you may find it more fruitful to ask if they would be able to have a short informal chat with you about the work they do, or perhaps could they offer work shadowing for a day or two.   As they will be local they may be more willing to offer you something and the hope is that the initial thread can ultimately lead, perhaps via one or two more interactions, to something more robust.

To source opportunities with SMES register with our shortlisting service UCL Talent Bank.

For UCL students wanting more help with sourcing SMEs in relevant sectors and locations, and for general guidance on approaching businesses speculatively book an appointment with one of our Careers Consultants.

One Response to “Have you thought about targeting local SME businesses for your job search?”

  • 1
    stephen gibson wrote on 16 July 2014:

    I run a small civil engineering consultancy, having worked for many of the major UK engineering consultants and smaller ones. With small consultants you will get more responsibility, less paperworks and systems and more direct experience. They can also be more like a big family. With large consultants you can often get more money and more formal training.

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