While aiming to work for big brands and recognizable names is commendably ambitious, you should be sure to keep your options open and explore the possibilities offered by smaller, independent outlets, too.
Smaller companies can offer new graduates more responsibility and a wider range of experiences as they develop employees into long-lasting members of close-knit teams. Smaller and more independent companies often target niche markets in order to stand out from more established brands. Therefore, when applying for a role in such a company, you should remember the following things:
1. Be Proactive
Because a smaller company will look for you to take on more responsibility than other companies might, it’s integral to show that you’re a proactive self-starter. Obviously, you won’t be thrown into the deep end and expected to know everything right away, but an eagerness to learn and the motivation to jump in headfirst are essential.
Working in a smaller team also means you’ll have the chance to gain a well-rounded skill set within a company, so demonstrate your drive to learn outside of your comfort zone and your willingness to push yourself further.
2. Have Expert Knowledge
Any business that targets a niche market must present itself as an expert force in the field. Therefore, when applying for a role in such a business, you’ve got to take the time to research the company prior to applying. You’ll find you can easily get a good grasp of any market and any company’s target audience as long as you ask yourself the right questions. Start with what the business is. Then ask: Who are its major competitors? What sets the business apart? Who are its primary customers? What do those customers want?
The more you know about a business, the more easily prospective employers can see you working with them, so be sure to do your research, and be able to demonstrate your knowledge in the interview process.
3. Be Online Savvy
The Web is a massive part of any business’s strategy, and you need to demonstrate that you can be an online-savvy employee. Starting a blog is a great way to demonstrate a range of online skills, from copywriting to staying on top of social media trends. A company’s online presence always has scope to grow and expand, so think about generating some ideas of what the company could do in the future. This will show that you’re forward-thinking when it comes to your knowledge.
You must also have a good understanding of the company’s website, so thoroughly navigate through all sections of the site. Don’t just take a quick glance. The better you know the full user-experience of a company’s website, the more comfortable you’ll be speaking about the business as a whole.
4. Be Solutions Oriented
Perhaps the most important skill you should have is the ability to take all of the previous points and express them in a way that is solutions oriented. Knowing a company’s target audience is essential, but knowing how best to access that audience will really put you above other candidates. Think critically about websites that you both like and dislike, and be able to explain their merits. What should the company improve? What does it do that should be replicated elsewhere?
By suggesting improvements rather than simply picking holes, you’ll be in a much better position to hit the ground running and possibly work with others to implement those improvements. Roles in niche markets are all about tapping into the ideal customer base and tailoring an experience for them. If you can show you know a business’s target market and what needs to be done to get that market’s attention, your potential employer will already have an idea of how you can help their business grow.
Small businesses in niche markets look to new hires to become integral parts of their businesses straight away. By showing detailed knowledge of a company’s niche, you can give employers a clearer image of how you can fit in with their existing workforce.