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Leaving the Classroom 37: 3 Ways to Get Work Experience Without a Job

#jobaids #jobsearch #jobspecificskills #leaving the classroom podcast #leavingteaching #leavingtheclassroom corporatejob Jan 30, 2024
The purpose of this image is to present information about the podcast episode Leaving the Classroom 37: 3 Ways to Get Work Experience Without a Job. Host Kristi Oliva is presented in a graphic with a blackboard in the background and the title of the podcast and episode in white font on a green background.

Leaving the Classroom: A Transitioning Teacher Podcast

Leaving the Classroom 37: 3 Ways to Get Work Experience Without a Job

In this episode, Kristi Oliva discusses 3 ways for teachers to gain work experience outside of the classroom when transitioning to new careers.

Tune in to hear:

- Tips on finding a local small business to gain experience through unpaid case studies and portfolio building

- Advice on taking on contract work to gain client management skills and experience 

- Suggestions for using a fictional client scenario to build a portfolio if other options aren't available

Listen to the episode here:

Connect with Kristi on LinkedIn

This podcast is sponsored by IDOL Courses and is the only authorized vocational school and implementation program of its kind that not only shows you exactly how to create your job application assets and build a portfolio from scratch, but also includes credentials, mentorship, expert coaching, and paid experience opportunities in corporate instructional design and online learning for life! Learn more about the program here.


Enjoy the podcast transcription:

Welcome to leaving the classroom. This is a podcast for teachers who are ready to transition out of the classroom and into a new career. Each week I'll share stories about what I've learned moving from education to the corporate world. I'll answer the most common questions and share my best tips to help you get started. If you are considering leaving the classroom, this show is for you. 

Hello, everyone. Welcome to Leaving the Classroom. I'm Kristi Oliva. I'm so glad you are here. Today I'm talking about how to get work experience without a job. Now there's no question that teachers have transferable skills. I talk about this all the time. I have several episodes of this podcast where I lay out the top transferable skills, as well as which other skills former teachers list as their top transferable skills. But often, these transferable skills are not enough without some experience outside of the classroom. But how do you get experience if you can't first get a job? It's a vicious cycle. So today, I have some tips for you. 

Here are three ways to get work experience without a job. Number one, find a local small business. This is my number one recommendation. Post in local Facebook groups and ask friends and family if they or anyone they know has a small business they can use as a case study. This is what I did to help me build my portfolio when I was leaving the classroom. I asked my brother-in-law, who is a small business owner if I could use his company to help me build my portfolio. I was looking to transition to a role in Instructional Design at the time. So I took a look at his onboarding program and looked at ways I could save him time and money by building asynchronous courses. He got new onboarding materials, and I got real assets to include in my professional portfolio, as well as work experience with a real client. If you could find someone like this to help you, it is really one of the best options. You have the flexibility of the fact that it is unpaid, and you get to gain valuable work experience along with the added benefit of getting to learn how to communicate and manage a client without the pressure of a real job.

Number two is contract work. The next best option, in my opinion, is contract work. You get most of the benefits of doing pro bono work for a local small business. You will learn how to manage a client, you will gain valuable work experience. But you may not gain the flexibility that comes with an unpaid position. and you may not be able to use the assets you make in your portfolio. This means you will still have to take time to build additional assets in order to help you make your portfolio. Now, when I was building stuff, for my brother-in-law, everything I built, I put on my portfolio because I was building it for free, and he agreed to that. You may not be able to do that with contract work. I haven't been able to with any of the contract work I took so far, they all involved NDAs. 

Number three, use a fictional client. This is the least favorable option I'm presenting today, but it's still there, it's still an option. This means you will invent a client, model a client after an existing business, or use a web-based generator to help you invent a scenario, and I'll include a good one in the show notes today. The obvious drawback of this option is that you won't gain true work experience working with a client. 

Now, no matter which option you decide, for many roles, you need a portfolio and/or a body of work experience that shows you're not just a teacher. Now, I don't buy into that, but we do have to play the game. Even if it feels like you are inventing the work experience, you aren't. You will be working in that role. Regardless of whether it's for free, as a small contract job, or building something for a fictional client. You've got this. 

If you've liked this episode, please subscribe and follow so you never miss an episode. Did you know that when you leave a five-star review, it helps other teachers find this podcast? Please take a minute and leave a review. Five stars will do. It's time to take control and make the career change that will change your life. It changed mine. See you next time. 

That's all for this episode, but you can find more at or subscribe to the podcast. And if you are ready to leave the classroom, use my code classroom100 and get $100 off enrollment to IDOL courses Academy.

My go-to web-based generator that will help you build a scenario:

Send your stories or your questions to [email protected] or share them with me on Instagram @leavingtheclassroom.