How To Break Into a Career in Social Media Without a Marketing Background

Social media skills are still at the top of employers’ “most wanted” lists when it comes to hiring talent. In fact, Business Insider claims that the demand for social media savviness amongst tech employers today is at the top of the list. So how does someone break into this field?

My love for marketing erupted my sophomore year in college after settling on a liberal arts school with no marketing or communications degree to offer. I had become fascinated with how social media was changing the way we market ourselves and our businesses, and I wanted to secure a job where I could be at the forefront as it unleashed its full potential. For those of you eager to pursue a similar career path, I hope you’ll take away from these six actions that helped me carve out a future in digital marketing.

Live, Eat and Breathe It.

Immerse yourself in it. Being a content junkie in this line of work isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Begin each day reading Mashable, SocialMediaExaminer and other online publications. Take classes from HubSpot Academy or consider paid weekend or weeknight classes (at BCAE, General Assembly or Sleek University) and online courses (Udemy has great ones) that will help you expand your social media aptitude and understand its tangential elements – SEO, copywriting, analytics and technology, just to name a few.

Learn, Learn and Learn Some More.

Attend digital and content marketing networking events and conferences where you can learn from experts and meet more experienced professionals. Ask them about how they got started with their careers and shop around for a mentor who can give you access to mature advice and a network of employers and industry leaders.

Get Creative with How You Present Yourself

Beef up your online presence and be active to instill confidence in any employer or client that you can deliver. Follow influencers and relevant hashtags (like #SMM and #contentmarketing) and demonstrate real-world application by using the tools marketers use (like Mention or HootSuite) on your own profiles. Start a blog or a Periscope account around a favorite interest or hobby or make an infographic out of your resume using Venngage or Fiverr. Whatever you do, promote the heck out of it. Use social media to get a job in social media. Too, joining and asking questions on forums like Reddit or Quora are great ways to connect with others in your field, get noticed, and learn.



Don’t Be Afraid to Ask to Help or Fill In.

After I graduated college, an admirable attempt to apply to over 40 marketing jobs in Boston turned into a long-winded and depressing fail. I then took a job as a receptionist/EA for a local software company but made myself available to the marketing department whenever possible. When a marketing assistant position opened up, I jumped on it and landed the gig.

If you’re not currently in a marketing role, ask the marketing team if you can help them with any projects or take over the administrative tasks. If you are in a marketing role but not doing social media, see if you can fill in when the social media manager is out of the office. You’ll develop the skills you’ll need and show your willingness to take initiative – a surefire way to gain a leg up when an attractive role opens up internally.

Get Good at Writing.

I have always been a horrible writer. Thanks to my mom (equipped with a journalism background and a clever way with words) my grades in school didn’t suffer too badly. After enough red ink, I started to catch on. I knew that if I wanted to become a marketer, I would need to get good at writing. Being “good” at social media means producing content that is snackable and memorable. Regardless if you’ll become a blogger, a social media strategist, a content marketer, or something else, learn how to write well.

Ask for the Job.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to leverage a marketing degree, so instead I took marketing classes while studying abroad in Australia and did everything I could to land an internship there until I got a yes. That summer, I gained experience in blogging, PR and social media. I didn’t know it at the time but my internship would set me up for a lucrative career.

(This is me seven years ago in Sydney giving a thumbs up to an advertisement of the campaign I was working on as an intern!)

Ask for the opportunity. The job market has never been more competitive. If an employer has one shred of doubt that you’re not excited about the role you’re applying for, they’ll find someone who is. It’s that simple.

To lock in a social media career, you need to know the skills that will get you hired, mixed in with a little courage to ask for what you want.

(Original source: Young Women in Digital Blog)

If you're eager to start a career in social media and have questions, ask someone who's done it! I'm happy to help. ashley@untapsocial.com 

photo credit