I landed my first job in marketing because I pulled a good pint.
I was working in a pub during University holidays and met a marketing agency owner called Jason. After a couple of chats, I plucked up the courage to ask Jason for some work experience. He agreed and within a matter of weeks I was managing a Guitar Hero pop up at Bestival festival...pretty cool.
Once I graduated, Jason offered me a job, and I went on to work for him for five years; moving through the ranks from Account Executive to Account Director level. Following this, I moved client side where I managed Whitbread's Marketing Operations Team for four years. I've now set up my own agency; Salt Communications that specialises in creative, digital and experiential marketing for hospitality and lifestyle brands...it all started with work experience (and pints).
For me, work experience is the best way to get into any career. It allows you to build experience, understand the industry you want to work in and learn what your skills are in a really risk-free and (hopefully) incubated space, but also never underestimate how useful work experience people are to businesses.
I've had huge help from work experience people during really busy periods and it's been invaluable. It's not just for the extra pair of hands but also for the new and fresh perspective you get from these individuals. So don't be afraid to contact your favourite brands and ask for work experience...I'm sure you'll be surprised at how warm the reception is.
Aside from work experience, there are a few other things someone starting out their social media career should consider. First, get involved in the industry; attend events, read papers and subscribe to newsletters. All these things will mean you understand and can't talk confidently about the subject.
Find A Mentor
Second, get a mentor. This is another tool that has helped me hugely throughout the years. Again, you'll be surprised at how willing people are to take on this role for you. Find someone who currently works in social media and reach out to them on LinkedIn.
Ask them to coach you as you start out your career in the industry. Meet with them monthly to discuss your progress. This individual (if they are the right one) will help with building your CV, coaching you for interviews and (if you're really lucky) make introductions/open doors for you.
Build your personal brand
The final suggestion I have is to build your personal brand. Social media is ubiquitous and there are zero barriers to having a successful social media presence. Find a topic you're passionate about and start building a presence in this space across social channels. Blog, post, follow, engage... This activity will help you to understand social media but will also demonstrate to potential employers that you have skills in this area.
But of course, before anything else...learn how to pull a good pint.