After graduating from university Neil moved into roles in client services and account management, after a few years Neil decided to follow his passion for social media and pursue a career in Digital Marketing.
By developing his food blog Neil on Meals, Neil was able to demonstrate his marketing skills which landed him an internship in Social Media and PR with Jigsaw Medical and quickly turned in to a permanent role.
What attracted you to a career in Social Media & PR?
I have always been a massive fan and early adopter of any forms of Social Media and have been using them for as long as I can remember. I am particularly interested in how you can engage with people all over the planet at the touch of a button. In terms of PR, I love how a brands/company’s image can directly affect their success. I always wanted to get into writing content/press releases etc. so PR was an ideal fit.
Tell us about your route in Marketing and move across into Social Media / PR?
I fell into a client services then account management career after university (I started at a company on a 6 week temp contract and ended up there for 6 years!). I was unfortunately made redundant from that job and ended up going into 2 different jobs that I didn’t particularly enjoy so started applying for jobs/internships within social media and PR but didn’t really get anywhere. It was only when I started writing my food blog (neilonmeals.wordpress.com) that I started getting call backs and eventually was offered an Internship with the company I am at now called Jigsaw Medical. They took a chance on me and I haven’t looked back.
How did you go from intern to executive in less than 3 months?
I really embraced the ethos of the company from day one and got my head down and put the work in. After a couple of months, registrations with the company had gone up through social media and we had gained several new clients the MD offered me the job full-time.
Briefly talk us through a typical day as in your current job
As we are a medical staffing provision agency invariably there are ambulance staff or Paramedics in our office when I arrive in the morning so chatting with them over a coffee usually starts my day! After that I’ll start by checking emails for any PR inquiries and responding to them. Checking the companies Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn for any inquiries, comments, messages etc.
I’ll then have a quick chat with several departments (Sales/Recruitment/MD) to see if there is anything they would like specifically posting on our blog or on Social Media. If so then I’ll write it up, if not then I will research a new blog post (using relevant medical websites/publications) and get an idea and see how it could relate to our company.
This will take up quite a chunk of the day, so while doing that I’ll be updating Social Media with reposts, re-tweets, pics, motivational quotes etc. (which our MD is very much into!). As well as monitoring emails and social media for any further queries, complaints, inquiries.
What would you describe as the skill-set requirements for roles in Social Media & PR?
Confident, friendly, creative. Additionally, the ability to build relationships with people and quickly understand your audience is essential.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced throughout your marketing career and how have you overcome them?
As I have only been in the marketing industry for less than a year the major obstacles and challenges I faced was finding a company to take a risk on me. Since I started my new career in marketing I have had to learn very quickly on the job in an industry I wasn’t overly familiar with which has been an enormous personal challenge, but very enjoyable.
Keeping up with trends and what is happening within the industry is a massive daily challenge as in medicine particularly things change quickly from day-to-day and given the fact that the NHS is in the news everyday (not helped with upcoming General Election) every bit of content we produce has to be completely accurate and relevant.
What would you describe as your biggest personal strengths and assets that have ensured success in your career?
My biggest strength, probably due to my years in Account Management, is my ability to build relationships quickly. This definitely helps when trying to persuade journalists to feature your content. Additionally, my ability to think outside the box and be creative has helped add something to a relatively non-creative environment and helped engage people when looking at our company.
If you could give a single piece of advice to someone looking to get into their own marketing career what would it be?
Not only is this relevant to marketing but to pretty much any career, but my advice would be to go for it, your dream job won’t just land on your lap, you have to do something to earn it. I waited around in a job I didn’t enjoy for quite a while and dreamed of doing something within Social Media and Marketing, but it wasn’t until I started writing my blog and contacting different people within the industry that things started to happen!