Go for entrepreneurship

Milkround's Abbie Baisden on take on how to make yourself more employable

We all do it. Sit at home in front of the TV criticising the efforts of this year's Apprentice candidates, or judging Dragon's Den hopefuls for their attempts at finding a "niche market" for cardboard beach furniture. We all think there's a great idea in us, one golden concept that will earn us the millions we deserve... well now is the time to put your money where your mouth is!

Competition for jobs is tough, and many are looking for alternative routes into a career. More specifically, they're creating their own opportunities. Over the past few months I've interviewed entrepreneurs from a range of industries, including Jamal Edwards of SBTV, Julie Deane of The Cambridge Satchel Company and Rob Forkan of Gandys Flip Flops, and all had the same piece of advice: stop waiting and just go for it.

It's a cheesy line, but one that resonated throughout every interview, and pretty quickly the benefits of entrepreneurship as a graduate career choice became clear.

Sink or swim

You never truly know your own capabilities until things start going wrong, and entrepreneurship completely rips the safety net from underneath you. Working for yourself means there are no senior colleagues there for guidance and no one to tell you the best way out of sticky situations. It's just you, all alone, with nothing but your own skills, experience and gut instinct, and it's bloody exciting! Real entrepreneurs thrive in moments like this, and relish the chance to build on their experiences, because the higher the risk, the higher the reward.

Responsibility and recognition

Some people naturally flourish on graduate schemes. The structured, pre-outlined format brings out the best in people that need to be able to see a clear career path ahead of them, but for those with an entrepreneurial spirit, it can be too stifling. While it is comforting to know exactly what's needed to get you to the next level, it can also be difficult to get yourself noticed among a sea of other graduates. When you work for yourself, you have to face all the challenges alone, but you can also take all the credit.

Employability

It may seem silly to recommend entrepreneurship as a way to find a job, but it is an advantage to this career path that was recently brought to my attention by a student entrepreneur. Currently his business is going very well, but should his company fail in the long term (and let's hope it doesn't), he feels he's now miles ahead of his peers in terms of business experience. He thinks he'd be able to skip entry-level roles and head straight for management, having already handled business with corporate giants, including the likes of Asda. Starting your own business and committing to it, whether or not it's ultimately successful, will show employers your tenacity and drive, as well as giving you a wealth of experience of dealing with all aspects of running a business that you can draw on in interviews. So going down the entrepreneurship route certainly doesn't close the door to becoming an employee at some point in the future - and whatever direction you choose to take your career in, it's always good to know you have a back-up option!

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