Graduate celebrating

January can often be the best time to make progress in your job search as organisations look for ways in which they can meet new targets and grow. Hiring new employees can bring a fresh perspective and vital skills into the business which can drastically improve results.

According to new research from Opus Energy, 15% of SME owners are expecting to expand their workforce by up to 10% this year, with another 10% of respondents looking to grow their number of staff by up to a fifth.

This can give graduates the perfect opportunity to start their careers with an ambitious company, where growth and success can come much more quickly, leading to much more responsibility. But what exactly are SME’s looking for in a potential employee?

Show you can drive success

Whilst graduates working with larger companies may have more time to bed in and establish themselves within the role, SME owners are eager to find employees who are able to hit the ground running almost immediately.

The research shows that 38% of SME owners have set out to grow their organisation by winning new business in 2017. This means it is vital that graduates are able to demonstrate their ability to adapt quickly and to possess a solid understanding of the sector as a whole.

Matching the companies ambition

A key priority for 21% of SME owners over the next two years is staff retention, so graduate job seekers can expect to be well looked after if they can secure a role. Just over 25% of SME owners say they are focused on providing better training for staff, whilst 23% are intent on providing a better standard of leadership.

Employers want skilful candidates who are committed to the business and who are willing to do everything they can to drive it forward. For smaller companies, the recruitment process can be extremely costly, in terms of both time and money, so graduates who are able to show they possess the right ability and attitude can find themselves in a great position.

If you’re a graduate looking to kick-start your career, have a chat with Discovery graduates and see how they can help get you started.