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Gaining experience


Undertaking work experience is invaluable in developing expertise and all-important transferrable skills particularly in this competitive industry. Putting together a portfolio of your work, as evidence of your skills and knowledge, is essential and will help you demonstrate your motivation and commitment to your chosen area.

Interpersonal skills are critical for photography careers, so any experience which promotes customer service skills will be useful, as is experience at events, particularly social ones, where you can observe structure and organisation, and practise your photography skills.

However, finding experience will take time and effort; employers receive many CVs every week so you will have to work hard to stand out from the crowd. You can find out more about how to create a targeted CV through the Careers and Employability Service website.

The key to success is to prepare thoroughly, do your research and organise your experience in good time. Think about small and medium size companies as well as large organisations.


Types of Opportunities

Below are some examples of the different types of opportunities to gain experience while you study.

Placements will give you a long-term look at an organisation, and help you to build contacts and experience.

On some degrees, work placements are part of the programme, whilst on others you can choose to complete a placement as one of your modules. Should you choose to undertake either your first point of contact is your placement office in your Faculty.

Learn more about taking a placement


Many students from the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Arts choose to take a Self-Employed Placement. This allows you to work for yourself during your placement year and receive support from the University's Student Startup Team. You will have access to funding opportunities, networking events and workshops.

Learn more about Self-Employed Placements 

It is worth considering the voluntary sector for work experience. Voluntary work with community art initiatives can be valuable. Seize any opportunity to get involved in local community projects to help you develop your work experience. Our Volunteering Bank provides local opportunities to undertake alongside your studies. 

Learn more about our Volunteering Team

Internships are usually for a fixed period and give you more hands-on experience. Many employers will treat interns in the same way as full-time employees, so when future job roles ask for 'at least one year's experience' you can include an internship in this type of experience.

You can also speak to your tutors in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries about potential contacts and opportunities for work experience over the Easter period or summer vacation.

Be proactive and try to gather inspiration and ideas from the world around you: join creative clusters and attend networking events. This is a great way to meet people working in the creative industries and will help you with your networking skills. LinkedIn is a useful platform to network with sector employers.

Visit our LinkedIn Guide

Tips to finding work experience

  • Explore the various areas within the photographic sector before you apply for work experience; knowing what you want to specialise in will help you focus your research and ensure you gain the relevant skills.
  • Get involved in relevant university or external groups. This is a good way of demonstrating your motivation and interest in this area of work.
  • Speak to your tutor or other members of faculty staff researching in the areas that interest you as students are sometimes recruited to work on research projects over the summer.
  • Be proactive and make direct contact with organisations that interest you and apply speculatively; send a targeted CV and a covering letter focused on why you are interested in them and why they should be interested in you.



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