21 Sep 2018

How I actually created the career path that I love


Facebook timehop is the devil because this week I realised that I started University SEVEN years ago. SEVEN, and gosh I have come a long way since then, both personally and professionally. I get asked all the time about how I got into the Social Media/Marketing industry... What did I study? Why do I have a blog? Why does your job look so fun? All of these questions I have the answer to so I thought I’d do a post about what it actually takes to do what I do. For some reason people think that the fashion and beauty industries are impossible to get into, yes they are extremely competitive (and it's about who you know) but if you want it and you’re willing to work for it you’ll get it - it’s certainly not all smooth sailing though.


College

Backtracking to 2011 - I started my A levels but I was really unsure on what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I loved makeup, I was my friends’ resident MUA before nights out, I loved fashion and I also really loved to write too - I actually wanted to be a lawyer at one point, but then realised in serious situations all I do is laugh and make jokes, #awks. In all honesty I actually really disliked college and my attendance wasn’t the best - maybe I thought being allowed to go to college in your own clothes gave you the chance to be more independent with your learning… wrong.

However, I still got three A Levels in English Language, Business Studies and Law and an AS in Psychology (v. random) - which in turn set me up to study for a degree in Advertising and Marketing Communications. I think I picked this subject as it mixed together creative, analytical and business skills and I figured every business always needs marketing, so I went for it.


University 

Firstly, student life isn’t as fun as it’s made out to be. Yes I drowned in Jager bombs and two for Tuesday pizzas, I went out clubbing in London like three times a week but I also had #studentlife struggles. You had to juggle making friends, studying, reading endless text books, exams, paying bills, part time jobs and also avoid living off just beige foods. This all taught me valuable life skills though (mainly that you actually can survive on a diet of mostly wine and carbs).

When I did actually make it into a 9am lecture, we learnt loads but I honestly feel Marketing and Communications is something you just click with - you can’t really teach it, you have to be so in-tune with the consumer and actually care about delivering content that engages with people. You also have to be good at communicating with people in general life, so working in PR/Marketing, especially the creative side isn’t for introverts. 

In truth, Social Media Management as a full time job role wasn’t a thing back then, nor was a real 'influencer' so I had no idea this would be my actual job right now - this just shows how quickly this digital area is progressing and it’s actually quite exciting/scary to think about what’s next. In our lectures we mainly learnt about traditional forms of advertising (magazines, emails, tv ads, PPC) and looking back on it now, most of the knowledge I have about my current role is through my work experiences, but having that Bachelor's Degree deffo kick started all of this. 

University puts a lot of pressure on you to decide where you want to take your career and in Marketing there are endless options. I nearly did work a placement year at Warner Brothers, but didn't get the job and I was devo at the time but I wouldn't be doing what I do now if I had secured that role. I started to really think about my career goals when I decided to do my dissertation on - 'The Role Social Media has on buying behaviour in the beauty industry'. I was SO enthusiastic about understanding and researching this topic, that it was from then I knew this was what I needed to be doing everyday.



Full Time Job After Uni

Expectations: Gets a 1st class degree, walks straight into a £30k+ a year job at Estee Lauder, works way up to manager level, get £150k+ pay packet, works further up and eventually takes over Estee Lauder, L'Oreal and the world and becomes a global social media marketing sensation. 

But oh the reality. I took me three whole months to find a little beauty PR agency that would even entertain a meeting with me (because I had zero experience other than working as a host at an events company) - and this was for an unpaid internship. I also went to one interview who told me that sometimes they make their interns skip dive to find boxes to send samples in. Nope. I finally found a job anyway and got to work on some amazing projects - the company has recently worked on Kim K's new fragrance campaigns - jel. 

During my interview stages, each company was asking me if I had a blog. I was like, erm no huns why would I ever have a blog (I'm not Zoella). But the more and more I thought about it the more I realised that this was a perfect way to show off my skills - creative writing/photography and if I could build myself a social following - I could help brands build theirs! Thus, Keeping Up With Kirby was born in 2015! 


And now... 

Since I graduated in 2015, I've had four jobs. One internship, and three full time roles. I worked for a creative agency, a start up app (blog post pending about the dangers of working for a start up), then I was on the social team at GLOSSYBOX and now I'm a Social Manager at Lash Perfect. Some notable achievements of mine are:

- Pitching and creating the October Unicorn vs Mermaid GLOSSYBOX which sold out in 14 days and drove the highest amount of organic social sales in company history. 

- Lash Perfect being nominated and winning for the first time - ‘The Best Use Of Social Media’ in the Guild Awards Of Excellence 2018. 

When people say my job 'looks fun' and they would 'love to do what I do' I agree - but it's not just about posting pretty pictures to Instagram. Social Media Marketing is about building a reputation for a brand. It's everything from the way you write captions, how you respond to customers, which content you post and when, how a consumer perceives you online and ultimately how many sales you make from campaigns and product launches. Before the Social Media Influencer, many people would buy products due to reference groups – whether that be friends, family or from a TV ad. Let’s be honest, how many of you reach for that certain moisturiser or shampoo just because your mum has used  it throughout your childhood. I was the same with Olay – my mum swears by it, but now due to the influence of Social Media and blogger recommendations, I branch out to try newer products. Social Influencers are a new breed of ‘reference group’ and shake up the way we’re used to buying beauty. I'm so excited to grow with this ever changing industry!

A very long post and I'm not entirely sure if this has helped clarify anything (I've had a wine)... I've rambled on a bit but I hope it makes some kind of sense and P.S GO AFTER WHAT YOU WANT! As always, pop me an email if you want to chat about Social Media, jobs or general life - keepingupwithkirby@gmail.com. 

Lots of love, 

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