* AND WHY LOCAL BUSINESSES MAKE GREAT EMPLOYERS *
Question: Who employs more people? Big businesses like Microsoft and McDonald’s, or the small and medium-sized businesses you’ve never heard of?
Answer: The small and medium-sized employers you’ve never heard of.
Question: How many job applications does Google receive every year?
Answer: Over 2 million!
Think of businesses and what do you think of? Supermarket brands, banks and big technology companies probably. But did you know that half of the wealth created in Poland comes from micro, small and medium sized businesses? And in the UK, these businesses employ over 14 million people!
It’s often hard to spot these potential employers because they’re so small – micro businesses have as few as one or two employees! And sometimes their product or service is very specialised, so you wouldn’t necessarily come across it.
Yet, these types of businesses can make fantastic employers for all sorts of reasons. For one, there’s less competition (thousands of people don’t send in applications like they do for famous employers) and secondly, there’s can be a greater chance of quick promotion as you won’t be one of hundreds of employees.
This is especially true of successful start-ups (new businesses) and fast-growing businesses. Companies like these can provide more opportunities for you to demonstrate your potential and climb the ranks to more senior positions. When people talk about working for a start-up, they often praise the fact that their role isn’t ‘set in stone’ – meaning they can adapt it to suit their talents and what’s needed for the company to grow.
SO HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT GETTING A JOB WITH A SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED EMPLOYER?
1. FIND THE EMPLOYERS
A lot of businesses are listed in regional directories like Yell.com and Manta.com. If you search for “business directory in [your country]” you should find multiple directories listing companies. Lots of towns and cities have community websites too, which are great to places to find local businesses.
You can even search using Google maps. Simply type in a search word like ‘IT companies’, ‘hotels’ or ‘media companies’ into a map of your local area and some companies should magically appear on the map. Just be aware that Google maps aren’t 100% reliable, so this shouldn’t be your only method of searching.
It’s also important to look in industry-specific directories. For example, in the UK, there’s a directory called The Knowledge that lists 20,000 businesses involved in TV and film production – yes 20,000! Anyone looking for an entry-level job in TV production – like running or researching – can go through the directory and write to each company.
But not everything’s online! Look offline too. Try local newspapers, notice boards in public places such as supermarkets and libraries, and within your own community and networks. This means talking to your parents and their friends, your schoolteachers, your friends and their parents – pretty much everyone you come into contact with.
Once you’ve got your list of companies you need to...
2. RESEARCH THEM
Before starting work in any company – or applying to work for any company – you must always do plenty of research. Start by going to the company’s website (assuming it has one) and looking for an ‘About us’ section.
You can also do a Google search on the company to see if it’s been mentioned in any trade news, for example. And don’t forget social media. Lots of businesses now have Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts – so it’s definitely worth looking at those.
If you can, try to get an idea of the size of the company and who its main clients and customers are. Is it consumer facing – meaning that it sells directly to people like you and me? Or is it business facing – meaning it sells goods and services to other businesses.
Try to find out how old the company is and what sort of direction they’re going in. Is the company creating new products, and growing its market share? Or is it focussed on one particular area instead? Has the company won any awards or been in the media at all?
3. GET IN TOUCH
Once you’ve found the companies you’re interested in and researched them as thoroughly as you can, you need to make contact.
Get yourself ready to do so by Start by creating and completing your YouRock profile as thoroughly as you can – so it looks as impressive as possible. For tips on getting a great YouRock profile, see this blog post 13 great ideas for your portfolio.
Then draft a cover letter and get your CV in order. When you draft your cover letter, remember to tailor it to match the company you’re writing to. You want the person who reads it to see that you’ve done your research and that there’s a reason why you’re getting in touch. See our recent post: Can’t find a job – have you done these three things? for more help on this.
Now you’ve done these three things you can start contacting businesses to ask about job vacancies. Good luck!