How Graduates Should Build Relationships with Small Businesses


Do you know life working at a big corporate isn’t for you? Whilst you’re at university, it can feel like large-scale graduate schemes are the only graduate jobs out there, what with them being recommended by careers services and taking up the majority of the careers fairs.

But fear not, there are many other options and in fact only a minority of students will end up working for those big names. So how do you find out about, build relationships with and ultimately get a job with smaller companies who never come near campus?

By taking the following avenues you’ll be able to get a better insight into the start-ups and SMEs you’re interested in and, even more importantly, get your name in front of them too!


Although they may be harder to come by than your average university or graduate careers fair, there are events out there to get in contact with small businesses. These might be events that societies put on at university or talks and conferences held by external bodies. When you really look for them, you’ll be surprised how many there are. A good place to start is the start-ups section of Eventbrite.

Be sure to make the most of all events you do go to and network as much as possible (add anyone you do meet or speak to on LinkedIn!) Being able to say you were at their talk is great but being able to remind them that you briefly met is even better.

LinkedIn & Twitter

You don’t have to physically meet a company to make an impression on them. By using social media cleverly, you can not only get a much better insight into your chosen industry but also get your name in front of potential employers. Using LinkedIn and Twitter you can get involved in industry discussions and directly interact with companies. You can do this by either following certain businesses on LinkedIn, using LinkedIn Pulse for industry news and articles, or similarly create your own list of accounts to follow on Twitter who you know regularly share interesting content.

When applying and interviewing, mention your proactivity in seeking out industry knowledge as it’s something which small companies in particular really look for in candidates.

Recruitment Agencies

Rather than having to create lots of relationships with numerous different businesses without knowing if they’ll ever come in use, another route to take is using and building relationships with one or two recruitment agencies. It’ll give you access to different businesses all of which are hiring then and there, reducing the time you’ll have to wait for a job that you’re interested in and that suits your experience to come along. Creating great relationships with recruitment consultants will mean that they’ll be able to put you across to the employers in the best and most accurate light possible, giving you the best chance to secure an interview.

Joining a small business holds so many benefits for graduates and by implementing the above you’ll be setting yourself up to step into the job search with your best foot forward.

Upload your CV to JobsGraduate today, allowing you to be searched by thousands of potential recruiters and employers!

Written by Jasmine Sherman, graduate careers advice expert at Instant Impact. Instant Impact is an intern and graduate recruitment agency, helping top talent find graduate jobs at exciting start-up and scale-up companies across London and the UK.


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