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How to land your first job in social media in 2024

So you’ve sat down and had a think about the sort of marketing job you’d like and you’ve decided that something in social media is the dream. On initial impressions, social media marketing may just seem like it’s a load of young people making Tiktoks all day. But, there is actually a hell of a lot more that goes into social media marketing.

In this short article, we’ll discuss what your average social media marketing role involves, and several ways to improve your chances of landing your first social media role.

What is actually involved in a typical social media role?

The role of a social media marketer varies depending on the size of the company size and industry. This will dictate marketing budgets, content, posting schedules, branding, etc. As you can imagine, working in social media for a clothing company aimed at young adults versus working for an FCA-governed financial company will be VERY different.

Small businesses often rely on one person to manage all their social accounts and marketing efforts, including activities beyond social platforms. Again, this depends on the sort of company you work for. But, it’s quite rare to find a dedicated social media marketer working in companies with fewer than 50 staff unless it’s in an agency setting.

In contrast, larger companies typically have a specialist team handling social channels, covering things like social media strategy, community manager, and social engagement.

What are the typical areas of social media?

  • Social media management;
  • Content creation;
  • Community management;
  • Social media advertising.

In smaller setups, you’ll likely see all of these things combined into one role. This ultimately requires someone to have a broad skill set. However, larger teams will sometimes split these elements across individual team members.

What are some of the common duties you’ll have in social media?

  • Campaign planning – Sitting down and researching, planning, allocating budgets, etc.
  • Community engagement – Engaging with your followers through DMs and comments.
  • Copywriting – Writing engaging posts in alignment with your company’s tone, brand, and position.
  • Customer support – Like it says on the tin. Helping customers via channels, chats, and emails.
  • Data analysis – Sitting down and analysing the performance metrics of posts and campaigns.
  • Graphic design – Creating visual assets for channels.
  • Social ad management – Setting up, managing, and monitoring the performance of paid ads on platforms.
  • Stakeholder communication – Working with senior team members, clients, and so forth to ensure social media is performing it’s duty.

So, where do you get started?

Okay, so you’ve read all that above and you’re still thinking “Social media is defo for me!”. That’s great. So, how do you land your first role within social media then? Well, isn’t that the question of the ages…

In the following section, I’ll break down some of the things you should be doing in order to improve your chances of getting interviewed and ultimately landing that first social media role.

Grow your social media presence

Right, if you have no experience, you have no way of proving that you’ll be good for an employer’s social media position. So, the first thing you’re going to do is set up one or two social media profiles and start building your social media presence.

Pick something that you’re passionate about or know a lot about and start building content. Depending on what it is, this will affect your choice of platforms. If possible, work with a visual platform like Instagram, Tiktok, or Pinterest and one that is a little more copywriting heavy like Facebook, X, or Linkedin. The reason you’ll want to do this is to develop not only your content creation skills but your copywriting skills also.

The whole point of this activity is to experiment and try to build a targeted following of people around your chosen subjects. You’re not just trying to aimlessly get 10 million followers. Though this approach is impressive from a numbers perspective, the likelihood is that you’ll get little engagement on your content and ultimately you’ll start to lose followers if your content is generic.

By showing that you’ve accumulated a specific audience, you’ll demonstrate to employers that you understand the concept of netting the right people with similar interests or desires to you. This can be translated to businesses.

Get learning

On top of getting your hands dirty, make sure to start studying toward certifications, taking courses, and reading content around social media. There are plenty of great training resources out there for free. But, don’t be afraid to spend a little bit of cash on your own development. Afterall, you are your own best asset.

Check out courses from websites like Hubspot including:

But also stuff like:

Also, check out websites like Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, and Coursera. Lastly, Google also provides a load of free resources through their Google Garage initiative.

Try to get a little bit of freelance experience

After two or three months of doing the last two steps, you should be ready to start looking into something like freelancing. I know what you’re thinking, “If I can’t get a job in social media, how will I be able to get a freelancing gig?” Well, actually, it’s a lot easier in most circumstances.

People who are looking to hire freelancers are often just looking for someone to take responsibilities off their hands. Often this will be a couple of hours of work a month. One of the big factors in choosing freelancers for a lot of small business owners is price. I should know, I’ve both been there and done that myself. So, not only should you consider the sorts of work you bid on, but also be realistic with your pricing. PS, this doesn’t mean setting it as low as possible. This actually puts people off.

Get yourself on websites like People Per Pour, Fivver, and Upwork. Create a profile and list yourself as offering social media services. Add links to your own channels that you’ve been creating and start bidding on small contracts. The process can be long-winded and you may get a lot of rejections, but, the idea here is to land one or two small clients. By doing this, you’ll be able to demonstrate some client work on your CV. Even if it’s just a couple of posts.

Additionally, if you’re particularly socially minded, go and visit some local businesses in person and ask if they have any freelance requirements. If you can sit down with small business owners or their marketers, you could land yourself some side work to gain that experience.

Finally, don’t underestimate doing some bits and pieces for free just to get that experience. Remember, that experience will be what lands you your first full-time social media role. Don’t invest months of time doing this, but maybe the odd day or week just to build your CV/portfolio. Personally, I’m very against working for nothing, so I’d always recommend doing this sparingly for the end result.

Polish your CV and network

As you continue on your journey, be sure to update your CV. At this point, you’ve probably been using things like Canva or Photoshop to create visual assets for your channels. So, make your CV look nice. Don’t just settle for some boring Word document. Leave that for the accountants and solicitors out there.

By creating a visually stimulating CV packed with references to your experience, building your own profiles, and the certifications and courses, you’ll be showing prospective employers that you’ve been proactive in trying to break into the industry.

Don’t be too critical about your CV either. Perfection is the catalyst for procrastination. If everything has to be perfect you’ll never get it posted and apply for jobs. Instead, get the first version sorted and start applying. Update and improve your CV in stages. If you’re successful in getting interviews, you should be asking interviewers how they feel you could improve your CV. This will give you valuable perspectives from the other side of the table or screen.

Remember to upload your CV to job boards like Indeed, CV-Library, and send it to recruiters. These channels are scoured daily by hiring managers and recruiters and they can do the hard work for you.

Lastly, on a side note, get yourself a LinkedIn profile and start building your network. Do a simple search for social media and marketing and filter the results by your area and start connecting with folks. Building a professional network in marketing is incredibly important and can actually land you jobs on its own. As the famous phrase goes “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

Social media marketing apprenticeships

During this article, we’ve been talking about social media and how to land your first role. However, there is one major thing we’ve missed out and that’s apprenticeships. The whole point of apprenticeships is to give people opportunities to get their foot in the door and start meaningful careers.

Here at The Marketing Trainer, we specialise in marketing apprenticeships and as such we work with employers across the nation who are looking for junior marketing talent to join their teams. A lot of the time, this means taking on people with little to no experience. So, they’re perfect for people looking to get into social media marketing careers.

Though there is no such thing as a social media marketing apprenticeship any more, there are a couple of apprenticeship standards that can be applied to social media-focused roles. Things like Multi-Channel Marketer and Digital Community Manager are good examples of this. However, for someone with no experience, we’d recommend looking at level-three apprenticeships to get started. Something like Multi-Channel Marketer would be ideal as it covers all of the core concepts of marketing but also looks at things like content and copywriting, strategy, and brand development.

The major benefits of marketing apprenticeships are that you’ll get paid to work, gain experience for your CV, receive training and guidance from your employer and coach, and training providers do most of the application and interview arrangements for you. Think of apprenticeship providers as part recruiter and part training programme.

So, where do you go from here?

Now that you’ve read this, where do you go from here? Well, start doing it. We’ve given you a list of activities that you can start working on right now. So don’t procrastinate, just get started. Like Nike says “Just do it”.

It’s important to be realistic in this endeavour, however. Give yourself 3 months to really gain momentum with all of this. Take small steps each day towards achieving the things listed above and within 3 months you’ll likely start getting interviews. But remember, you’ll likely still get rejections or knock backs. The important thing is to keep moving forward and continually improve your skills, knowledge, and CV.

Let’s get you a role in social media

If you’re looking to start your career in social media then sign up today

  • Graduate in just 15-18 months;
  • Master your chosen skills with individual coaching and development;
  • Gain additional professional qualifications that 98% of apprentices do not;
  • Learn at your own pace;
  • Access to the latest in creative and technical training.

If you need any more information, check out our Apprentice FAQ in case it answers any of your questions.

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