Career Advice: How I Made a Career Change into Social Media & Marketing

Work in Social Media & Marketing

One of my favourite things to read about from the bloggers I follow is how they established and built their career in this industry.  This year I made a career change and am now working in social media and marketing, something I’ve wanted to do for a while.  I felt held back though as my formal education was in clinical psychology and neuroscience and I had not really worked professionally in the industry.  In this post I’d like to share with you my career advice and how I made a career change into social media and marketing and how you can use transferable skills to get what you want from your career. 

Career Advice Social Media & Marketing

Blogging

I have started and abandoned countess blogs over the years, on many different platforms (Tumblr, Wix, Blogspot-where this one started).  I am now on WordPress, and incredibly happy with it.  I have as much creative control as I can imagine in this space, I find it super user friendly and intuitive and feel like the design and aesthetic are exactly me.  I began this blog (which has had several different names over the years) in 2014.  At the time I was really into urban exploring (random, I know) and was doing a lot of travelling.  Blogs are one of my favourite places for travel inspiration and recommendations, so I wanted a place where I could contribute to that.  This space has of course evolved over the years as creative projects do and is now really more of a lifestyle blog where I can share all of my interests.  It is now taking shape even more as I re-explore my love of fashion, which I have started sharing more of on this platform.  My main goal when I began was to have a creative place for myself and a place to put all my travel photos!

Just over a year ago, something prompted me to take my blog more seriously.  I wasn’t sure at the time the purpose, I just knew I wanted to redesign it, put more effort in and take a professional approach to my content.  So, I put a theme on my, then blogger site and resolved to start blogging more and make my posts more about sharing helpful information, rather than the personal diary prose I had used prior.  

In September I left my full time job in an office, which I really hated and felt like I was just wasting away, to find something more me, more creative.  I knew I wanted to work in marketing and social media in some capacity, but wasn’t sure how.  I would love to be a full time blogger, and that would be my dream job, to work for myself and make all the creative decisions, I’m not there yet, but I’m also not willing to give up.  As I mentioned previously I recently switched from Blogger to WordPress and have committed to posting at least once a week on my blog.  Wordpress is definitely where you want to be if you are a professional blogger.

I have used my blog as a portfolio to obtain my current position in social media and marketing.  It is a place where potential employers could see my writing, design concept and photo editing skills.  I truly believe the main reason I was offered jobs in the field is due to my blog.  Having not held a position in the industry previously, I didn’t have an prior work, or experience to prove my abilities.  By creating a blog, employers could see my initiative, as well as my capabilities in the job.


Instagram & Social Media

Around about the same time I began to work more professionally on my blog, I also started taking Instagram more seriously.  I made my account public and started only posting things that were on-brand for what I wanted my blog to be.  I have a detailed post on how to build your Instagram account and presence HERE   Instagram is by far my favourite social media platform, I find it manageable and the content really appeals to me.  However, I knew if I wanted to work in social media I would have to get on board with multiple platforms and know how they worked.  So, I also set myself up with a Pinterest and Twitter account and began promoting myself across all platforms.


Coding: Learning New Skills

I also took time to learn new skills.  I focused on Google Analytics, HTML & CSS.  This began with a free course, I believe it popped up as an ad on my Facebook feed and I ended up attending that evening.  It was a complete beginner course, but it gave me a basic feel and confidence to pursue learning on my own.  I now have the basic skills to build a webpage, or website- a very basic one albeit, but I have enough knowledge to add some HTML & CSS to my blog, emails and the website I work on at work.

I think taking free courses and doing your own research is one of the best ways to develop new skills, especially those using new technology.  Technology has embedded within itself a user friendly nature, that’s part of what’s so wonderful about it.  Not to say that it doesn’t take skill to build a website, or edit photos, but I have pretty much taught myself the basics in coding and adobe editing over the past couple of months.  Honestly, most of the information you need is currently sitting right beneath your fingertips.  All you need to do is open a new browser page and begin Googling how to do things.  I still do this myself at work, why is something not working in photoshop, what do I need to type into the CSS code so that my page looks how I want?  Chances are, someone out there has already asked the same questions you have.  If not, troubleshoot!

Career Tips: How to Get the Job

Before the Interview

 

Research the company you are applying for!  This is not only for the benefit of making you shine in front of your interviewer, but it will also tell you if this job is right for you!  Knowing where you’re going, the beliefs and ethos of the company will get you excited about the job (hopefully!).  It’s a great way to show the employer that you care and the work you’re willing to put into a job.  When I was last applying for a job I was asked “what do you know about this company” (a very common interview question).  When I was able to clearly and eloquently tell the employer what they stood for, who they were and why they were I saw the one interviewer nod to the other one, clearly impressed with my knowledge.  Being prepared for questions like this is the best way to boost your confidence in an interview!

Personally I like making q-cards when preparing for interviews.  I have some colour-coded cards, which I use to write down questions and answers to prepare for interviews.  Each colour is coded for either: common interview questions, questions pertaining to the industry, questions pertaining to the specific job & questions pertaining to the company.  You can never be too prepared for an interview.

 


The Interview

Some of the best advice I have gotten before going into a job interview is that, they’ve invited you to the interview based on the skills and experience listed in your resumé.  Based on this, they already know (or have a pretty good idea) whether, or not you are capable of doing the job.  What they want to gain from an interview is how well you will fit with the company and what kind of presence and demeanour you have.  So when you go into an interview, be your shining lovely self and don’t let nerves get the best of you (easier said than done, I know).  One of the best things you can do to improve your confidence and shake nerves before an interview is adjust your posture.  Rather than hunching over your phone while waiting for your interviewer, sit calmly and confidently, shoulders rolled back and down, head held high and arms open, not crossed over the body.  Body language is a huge first impression indicator.  If you carry yourself with confidence, people will see that and respond to it with respect, which will set you at ease and the impact of your body language will actually help to influence your own performance.  Try to implement this in everyday life, not just job interviews and see how people respond to you.

I’ll quickly run through some basic interview etiquette.  Be early, ten minutes is good, your interviewer will almost definitely be running late (at least in my experience), but early shows you are punctual and that you care.  It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.  Likely you aren’t going to lose a position based solely on your choice of fashion alone, but office attire is usually a good place to start.  If you’re interviewing for a more creative role, you may want to let this shine through a bit more, but generally dressing a bit more formal than you expect is a good rule.  Introduce yourself and shake your interviewers hand at the beginning and again at the end.  Bring a copy of your resumé and references just in case.


Following the Interview

Following your interview be sure to send a letter thanking the interviewer for their time.  I would usually do this the day of, or day after.  If you can send a handwritten letter, even better.  Putting that extra effort in will go a long way.  As I said before, your skill set is listed in your resumé the interview and what happens after is to see what kind of person you are and who’s going to go the extra mile for and in the job.  

Final Thoughts

 Some of the best advice I’ve ever been given was from my father, who told me that people’s work ethic is something they express in all aspects of their life.  If you are driven and hard working and willing to put in effort, that is who you are as a person and it comes through not only in your 9-5 job, but in all areas of your life.  This is something an interviewer will look for, how much effort are you going to put in to the job, it will come through in ways and they will look for it in ways you may not expect.  Go the extra mile.  The people you see at the top, who’s jobs you want, they didn’t start there!  People get to the top by climbing the ladder, they’ve seen the view from every rung.  I’m currently re-reading Anna Wintour’s biography, which details some of the jobs she had before the DREAM job she has now.  The people living the dream jobs got there by showing that they will work harder and longer and be more innovative than anyone else.

 

To those of you currently searching, applying & interviewing for your dream job, best of luck!

xx Sheila

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