In this blog post, we explore how to craft your own experience – this can be anything that furthers your skills and employability, from running your own music night to setting up an online store.
Whilst some industries abound with internships, spring weeks, or work shadowing opportunities, these formalised and structured work experience are rarer in other sectors.
However, this doesn’t mean that work experience is less important – instead, you’ll have to make things happen for yourself.
Employability is your knowledge, attributes, skills, and experience that you can demonstrate with real-life examples. Read more about it on our Keats pages. Creating your own work experience can show industry knowledge, a get-up-and-go attitude, professional skills and, of course, real-life examples of experience.
You can reach out and ask employers if you can shadow them, or complete a short internship in their company. Not only will you (hopefully) get work experience, you’ll flex your networking muscles and prove to future employers that you have the drive and ability to make your own opportunities. We’ve got loads of advice on both networking and on crafting speculative applications for un-advertised jobs on our Keats pages.
And it’s not just the office-based, “professional” work experience that you can create for yourself; if you take the initiative, you can expand your employability by pursuing your passion!
Think about what you’re interested in and what sector you want to work in – no matter what you want to do, you can create work experience.
Ladan, a careers consultant and manager of her own bakery enterprise, grew her business out of her passion for home-cooked sweet treats. “I love baking,” she explains, “and I missed having access to Swedish baked goods when I moved from Sweden to the UK”. So she decided to fill this gap herself. Registering first as a sole trader and then evolving her market stall into a baking class from home, Ladan learnt to manage her own website, market her baking class, and organise food hygiene inspections with the local council. Not only did Ladan pursue her passion, but she’s also developed entrepreneurial skills, resilience, and self-reliance.
Musician and author Naomi agrees that creating your own experience means developing your resilience and emotional strength, recalling how she was nervous to perform in a local open mic night. But digging deep and powering through her nerves was invaluable, and she’s since performed at the O2 in front of a 5000-strong audience. “You’ve got to use your contacts and social media to get yourself out there” she advises, recounting how publicising her novel led her to co-author the introduction to a photography book.
Feeling inspired to create your own experience? Great! Read our advice on Keats and if you’re thinking about setting up a business, take a look at the support that King’s Entrepreneurship Institute can give.
Don’t worry if it all sounds intimidating – businesses or experiences can take a while to grow and there are bound to be setbacks on the way. Read our blog post on resilience to see how failure can actually be an asset.