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Graduates and UnderGraduates

About ME

Thank you for visiting my website. I am Matthew, Director of SME Graduate Employment and I specialise in connecting graduates and undergraduates with small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) through internships, placements and permanent positions; covering most industry sectors and job types, and in all areas of the UK.

I started my recruitment career in 2005, and over the years I have filled a huge range of vacancies, from entry level up to CEO, and across many business sectors. Since 2016, I have chosen to specialise in working with undergraduates and graduates, I enjoy this as you are beginning your journey and often have a lot of potential but need a bit of extra help. It’s great to see how many of the graduates I have found work for have progressed over the years.

As you will see from my picture, I was once a graduate myself. When I was at university I didn’t get much careers support, and while things have improved greatly in the years since then, there is still a lot of room for improvement. I am glad to be able to help where I can.

If you are a graduate and reading this, then you may not have found a graduate role yet. Maybe you tried but didn’t make it onto one of the big graduate schemes, or know people who did and are now wondering what you can do. But don’t be disheartened. Although the top graduate employers have some great opportunities, they are not necessarily the best ones for you. There are many excellent opportunities with smaller businesses.

As you may have guessed, I am a huge believer in the benefits of working for an SME – it’s why I choose to recruit for them. The usual definition of an SME is any business with fewer than 250 employees, though many of the businesses I work with are a bit bigger than this. Chances are you won’t have heard of many of them before; they don’t generally have graduate schemes, nor are they in listed in the books that are prominent in university careers departments showing the ‘top graduate employers’. But there were nearly 6 million different SMEs in the UK in 2019, making up 99% of all businesses – and accounting for around 60% of all private sector jobs.

So, clearly SMEs are a vital part of the UK economy. But as an undergraduate or recent graduate, why should you work for an SME? There are many reasons, including:

  • A flatter structure, where the most senior people in the business know you.
  • Working on, and sometimes taking charge of, a range of projects.
  • A more varied role, where you can add to your skills and duties as you progress.
  • Learning on the job, and getting stuck in from your first day.
  • You will be one of only a few graduates, maybe the only one in a year or more.
  • You can generally contribute and innovate more in businesses with less employees.
  • More opportunities in different areas, rather than just the big cities.
  • Research has shown that job satisfaction is often higher within SMEs.
  • The application and interview process is generally more straightforward. There are usually no psychometric tests or assessment days, methods that are used by a lot of the bigger employers, but that are perhaps not ideal for everyone.

Many of these businesses do regularly take on graduates; so although its maybe not a formal scheme, they have the infrastructure in place to support you.

You will often be managed by people who started as graduates themselves. I know of many graduates who have risen to department-head or director level with smaller businesses (I got some of them their first job after leaving university) so there can be opportunities for those who are looking to advance in the longer-term.

If there is a downside, it’s perhaps that it’s not as easy to plan ahead. While many SMEs do have set periods when they take on graduates, others generally recruit as and when they need someone, and this could be at any time of the year; perhaps due to a new project or someone being promoted. So it’s important to keep a look out for opportunities throughout the year. Many do also offer summer internship or sandwich placement opportunities for undergraduates.

So where do you find these businesses? I’m speaking with new ones every day. Some of them have not employed undergraduates or graduates before so I’m able to consult with them about what they are missing out on. Others have already bought in to the importance of working with graduates,  but perhaps have had difficulties finding the right ones, so I help them.

I work with employers across the country and cover many industry sectors and job types. Any job vacancies I am working on will usually be advertised in the jobs section of this website, though not always. The opportunities I have are generally one-offs, with one position available. When applying for them,  it’s important that your application is strong, as there will be competition (maybe not 1,000s but certainly dozens), so you really need to stand out.  You can see hints and tips in the advice section of this website.

I can’t promise to get everyone a job, I wish I could, but I have got plenty of undergraduates and graduates work over the years and will continue to do so.  My work is largely employer-led in that when a vacancy is available I will look for suitable candidates. However, I do also let employers know about carefully-selected and particularly strong candidates who are available in their area.

If you are interested in being considered for suitable positions please send your CV to cv@sme-graduates.co.uk together with a summary of what you are ideally looking for. My service to you is free of charge.

Matthew Parry, Director SME Graduate Employment

Here are a selection of testimonials from delighted students and graduates who I helped. These and many more can be viewed on my LinkedIn profile:

 

  • I am so grateful to Matthew for securing me a position as an applications engineer. He kept in touch throughout the recruitment process with regular updates, and I really appreciate the hard work he put in to find me a role, especially during the pandemic.
  • Matthew did everything he could to help me secure my placement. He offered great advice for me to prepare for phone and video interviews. After my previous placement was cancelled, he secured me an interview within a week and without his help I would not currently be undertaking my placement year. I have now started my placement and Matthew regularly checks in to see how things are going to ensure that I have no issues. I am very grateful for your help and would highly recommend you to everyone, thank you.
  • Really friendly and efficient. He did all the legwork and found me a job role I would never have seen otherwise. Gave me the information and guidance to make everything easy. Thank you!
  • Matthew reached out to me with a graduate position during my job search which wasn’t directly related to my education or the jobs I was applying for but turned out to be very relevant to my interests and at a great company to kick start my career. Matthew was very proactive and professional during my application giving me lots of info about the company and making sure I had everything I needed. I highly recommend Matthew to anyone looking to start or further their career.
  • Matthew is a great person, very professional and dedicated to his work. He was extremely helpful and supportive during my recruitment process. He is a great listener, and a person full of empathy, who is always happy to help. I was lucky to be Matthew’s client and I can recommend his services to everyone who is looking for new professional challenges.
  • Matthew was so helpful during the recruitment process for my new job. I was always kept up-to-date with what was happening during the entire process. He gave me great advice for my application and the interview as well. I have spoken to many recruiters and Matthew is one of the most reliable people I have spoken to. As a candidate, reliability and honesty are the best traits a recruiter can have and I can think of no better words to describe Matthew
  • Mathew was a great help throughout my graduate recruitment process. He was fully knowledgeable of the company and the role itself and was always happy to answer any questions. Matthews skills matched me to my dream opportunity.
  • Matthew is a very kind and helpful man, who helped me through the application to get my current internship. Not only was he helpful but he was also very attentive, making sure I had answers to any questions I had. Would highly recommend dealing with him for future applications.
  • I had been out of my last position for about 2 months or more. Matthew approached me with a position, I couldn’t say no too. Throughout the whole process he guided me with precision and prepared me on a daily base in order to get me my first career presentation down to the highest level as possible. I was even kept up-to-date throughout the process and did not never need to ask for additional information, he supplied everything I needed from the start of the process even when the process was complete. Matthew went above and beyond and I am highly appreciative of the work he put in during the process. I am developing quickly in my new role and also enjoying it. I have recommended Matthew to a few of my friends as well.
  • I had just quit a miserable job when Matthew rang me out of the blue with an opportunity in medical communications. It did sound right up my street so I went for the interview. Matthew was incredibly supportive in the lead-up, making sure I felt prepared for the interview. Matthew remained involved even after I got the job, checking in with how the interview went and offering his help with anything new-job related as I found my feet. Five months down the line, I still love the job and am so grateful to Matthew for bringing this opportunity to my attention
  • Matthew has been excellent. He recommended to me a role that I was very well suited to. He helped me both in my application, and upon receiving an offer, helped me to settle in quickly; I was kept up to date with all the information I required and I never had to ask for additional information, he supplied everything I needed. Matthew went above and beyond and I am highly appreciative of the work he has put in. I am developing quickly in my new role and it is clear cut as to how I can progress my career in procurement.
  • Matthew was a great help to me in my search for a new position, he offered me as much I formation as he could to ensure the role was something I wanted to pursue and that it was a right fit for me. Normally you don’t hear from Recruiters after the interview but Matthew called to see how everything went and was genuinely interested, and still dropped me a line months after. I would strongly recommend Matthew to any Graduate looking for the right steps in their career path.
  • Matthew was very professional and helpful throughout my application process. He provided me with tips and ideas to improve my CV which I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Thank you for the support!

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