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When searching for placement and graduate opportunities, it can be tempting to only apply to companies that you are already familiar with. These are likely to be the large, global organisations – the household names and the well-known brands.

The problem with this approach is that, while there are many advantages to working for big employers, there are just as many benefits to working for small or medium-sized companies (also known as SMEs) that you perhaps might not have heard of. Being brand-conscious restricts your job search, and your access to some fantastic opportunities.

On the other hand, some students decide that they would prefer to work for a small, local company over a large, global organisation and limit their job search accordingly.

I’m going to explain why we at Gradcracker think it’s important to keep an open mind when choosing which companies you’d like to work for, and, by extension, which opportunities to apply to.

What companies can I expect to find on Gradcracker?

Companies on Gradcracker come in all shapes and sizes, and we ensure that they all operate on a level playing field by giving them equal space on their Company Hub to advertise their opportunities. We do this because we believe that each company is equally relevant to our student audience, regardless of size – and here’s why.

As I’ve mentioned, there are many advantages to working for both large organisations and SMEs – but there is also more overlap between the two than you might expect.

Some misconceptions…

Something Gradcracker often hears from students who are set on working for an SME, is that they are reluctant to apply to larger companies because they fear they’ll be ‘a small fish in a big pond’. But we know, having spoken to employers from the likes of Atkins to Siemens, that large organisations are often organised into small, close-knit teams. This enables them to maintain a ‘family feel’ and provide graduates with the time and attention necessary for their development. (They aren’t called graduate development programmes for nothing!).

Equally, it is sometimes thought that large organisations will have more structured and comprehensive training programmes than smaller companies. But again, this just isn’t the case. We’ve spoken to students and graduates from various SMEs on Gradcracker who have received an immense amount of training and support. Often, they have been able to experience multiple teams, projects, and business areas, and have received high levels of responsibility very early on.

My point is that there are many misconceptions surrounding large and small employers, and you shouldn’t let these cloud your judgement when choosing which companies to apply to.

Be inclusive, not exclusive

Research is key to finding out what working at a particular company is really like, and you can use the resources on Gradcracker to do this. Most Company Hubs have an ‘Our People’ page, where you can hear from students and graduates who already work there and find out what to expect. Many of our employers have also taken part in a live webinar or Insight Day with us; watch and listen to these videos (on their hub or in the CareerCentre) for a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s opportunities, culture and working environment.

Choosing the company you’d like to work for is an important step to finding a job you love. My advice, when looking for opportunities, is to keep an open mind, do your research and don’t exclude companies based on size alone.

By considering the full range of companies on Gradcracker, you open yourself up to more opportunities, and more chances of success. But, equally importantly, you increase your chances of finding the opportunity that is most suited to you and your development.

Explore the 200+ Company Hubs on Gradcracker. Or hear from a wide range of STEM employers in our employer webinars.


Big thanks to Hannah Vernon, Media & Communications at Gradcracker, for writing this blog! We hope you find it useful and it inspires you to start your job hunt today. For even more opportunities, have a look at our online job listings on Engage (updated daily).

Please be reminded that if you need careers support, your Careers Team is only an email / a message away!

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Anna Dolidze

Anna Dolidze

Student Engagement & Data Coordinator at Careers Team
Anna Dolidze

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