GUEST BLOG: An introduction to SMEs…

UoY Careers Balloon illy Guest blog written by Rachel Donallon, User Community Manager, TalentPool

So first off, what does this oft used acronym mean? SME stands for ‘small or medium-sized enterprises’. But what counts as an SME? Here are a few you may have heard of; Seatwave, MatchPint, Pheonix Capital. Over at TalentPool we work with a broad range of SMEs such as GoCardless, AlphaSights and Jukedeck.

There has been a recent increase in both students and graduates wanting to gain experience or jobs at SMEs and start-ups. This is largely because working at a smaller company is a unique experience that exposes you to most of the main business processes; be that marketing, working with clients, developing long term business strategy, contributing to the development of a new pricing model, streamlining certain processes. From my experience you have the opportunity to have your opinion counted on any discussion topic that arises, be it creative, strategic or technical. In addition to this you also have the autonomy to grow your own role and responsibility within the business. To that end, you must be driven, happy directing your own work schedule and content, and effective at prioritizing. However this combination of elements makes for a very exciting job where no two days are the same.

Often, SMEs are not looking for specific experience in a certain industry or sector, so don’t panic if you never got round to applying for that corporate internship, or didn’t organize that week volunteering at the local newspaper. What they are looking for is evidence that you have shown initiative at some point, and have the confidence and drive to craft your own role within the business. It isn’t tricky to do this, and it can be shown by extra projects you’ve taken on; blogs you’ve written, societies you’ve started. It doesn’t matter whether these projects were a roaring success or not, the fact that you took it upon yourself to develop an idea will add lots of value to your CV. Like any job interview, you will also need to show passion for the company or business idea and display knowledge of the sector in which they operate – you might even want to bring a few new ideas to the table. However, nearly every managing director of an SME that I’ve spoken to (and that’s a fair few!) are much more interested to see that you can take the initiative and have the confidence and drive to fulfill and develop your own role within the business. 

For more information and news on the SME sector, here are a few good websites:

If you think that a job at an SME might be for you, sign up to TalentPool to be selected by one of our many SME employers.