One of the differences between breaking into the US or UK film business is that the British system encourages apprenticeships as a key tool for advancement. Working side-by-side with a film professional is the best hands-on way to learn one's craft. It's a pity the same isn't as true in the US. On the other hand, it is easier in the US to become a director by creating a successful indie film that does well on the film festival circuit.
One of the reasons I co-founded www.filmfestfinder.com is because I've worked in the film business in both countries and know the pitfalls of each. It is my intention through this site to assist filmmakers in choosing not only the right film festivals for their film, but also to know what steps to take to best promote their work once it's been completed. Blog posts like these from professionals are designed to guide filmmakers worldwide.
The Guardian newspaper (link below) has written an informative piece with tips on how to obtain film career jobs.
PC Thompson, co-founder of Film Fest Finder, has documentaries for the BBC, ZDF, OPB, etc. His films have won awards at countless film festivals around the globe.