How to get into the SEO Industry

When I was at university, SEO as a job barely existed.

It was a thing some people were already doing – but not something you could really do as a viable career.

These days universities might feature 1-2 lectures over the whole semester about online marketing – when I was there, there were 0 lectures.

Today, internet is everything.

Everyone needs to be successful online, and businesses understand that.

Problem is, there are still limited opportunities to learn about it.

  • Universities barely cover it
  • Specialised courses are generally short and only cover basics
  • There is no official training or certifications recognised by the industry (There should be but that’s for another post)

Read

The internet can be a scary place, but it’s also the BEST place to get a free education.

With a plethora of online courses, videos, blogs and communities you can get involved in, or just lurk.

The free information time is now, and SEO being a constantly changing industry – online is the perfect place to learn 24 hours a day.

Some of the best resources I can recommend to someone wanting to get into SEO are:

Do shit

Being good at SEO isn’t about the theory, it’s about getting your hands dirty.

If you are looking to get into the industry, or still studying at university, that is the best time to start something to help your learning.

  • Start a website selling a product or service. This doesn’t have to be anything groundbreaking, but will be a website that you can test and learn things on a shoestring budget. Who knows – it might even take off!
  • Start a blog to write about your experiences or journey about learnings.
  • Do some pro bono work for friends and family to get some runs on the board
  • Offer to intern at a company in any way they might be willing to take you on.

Engage

Becoming visible in the industry is actually not a hard thing. It can be hard at first but by putting yourself out there a little you will make new friends and contacts, and gain some reputation points in a crowded market.

  • Engage with people on Twitter (Start following/reading/engaging with top SEO minds around the world)
  • Join some Facebook Groups
  • Join some Slack Groups
  • Attend some local networking events and chat with people
    • Hint: There are always recruiters and business owners at these events looking for people.

Be proactive

As with anything, being proactive is the key to starting out successfully.

Never wait for anything to come knocking – go get it.

  • Being proactive makes you stand out from 90% of other job seekers
  • A high percentage of people we actually hire are not actually applying for a role.

Generally people are good, and willing to help where they can.

Even if you are not looking for jobs, reaching out to people in the industry sets you up for one day when you might be contacting them for a reason.

I often reach out to people I admire for advice or to just say hello. If you are specific about what you ask for and don’t waste their valuable time – you would be surprised how successful you can be.

A great article resource on doing that can be found here: https://tim.blog/2008/05/19/5-tips-for-e-mailing-busy-people/

What now?

If you want to get into this exciting industry, all I can say is that SEO is a growing industry (SEO is not dead like some people will lead you to believe) and there are huge career opportunities for those who can become truly skilled.

Getting Hired

opt

Optimising has grown quite a bit over the previous 12 months, which has meant that I have been involved in recruiting for several positions over this time.

Finding the perfect hire that will both fit the culture and also have the right skills set can be difficult at times, mainly due to the way in which people apply for roles. With a bit little more effort on the applicants behalf will not only make them stand out from the crowd, it will also put the potential employer in a positive mindset when speaking the the candidate.

This blog post should make it easy for potential employees of mine to know EXACTLY how to get a job with me (if candidates are reading this, just follow these golden rules and you are in)

Cover letter & Resume

This is the first point of contact I have a with a candidate, so a great first impression is vital:

  1. PDF
    Resume and cover letter should always be in PDF format. No excuses.
  2. Short and to the point
    When I go through over 50 resumes for a job, if your resume or cover letter is too long, it won’t get read. Make it to the point and relevant. If you fit the bill, I’ll notice.
  3. Nicely formatted
    You don’t need one of those fancy infographic style resumes, or your photo on it, but having a nicely and neatly formatted resume is a must. Make reading your resume a good experience (if that’s even possible!)
  4. Relevant to the job
    Whatever is in the resume or cover letter, ensure that it pertains to the job. I am not interested in the work experience you did at the local footy club canteen when you were 14.

Do I call to follow up a resume?

This is a tough one. I get lots of follow up calls about applications. Now, I am not completely against it as a technique, but if you are going to follow up:

  • Have relevant questions/reason for the follow up call: Don’t just call for a random chat about nothing in particular
  • Keep it short: Everyone is busy – Keep the call short, to the point, and make a good impression.

Interview stage (Phone or in-person)

If you make it to the interview stage you are doing something right! Doing well at the interview stage should not be stressful, as I will already have a positive impression of you in my mind:

  • Show interest in the job and the company
    Do some research on the industry, our company, our clients, and the job. This shows your initiative and genuine interest in working for me.
  • Don’t argue or push your own agenda
    Generally it will not be your job to lose, it’s up to you to show us that you will be the best fit for the job. I am interviewing you (although I do appreciate some questions from candidates)
  • Don’t ask for the following…yet:
    • Hours (eg. can you leave early on Mondays, sometimes I need to take my cat to the vet on Tuesday mornings at 11am…)
    • Holidays you need to take (this is fine, but wait till we get a bit further into the process)
    • Things that may get in the way of your job…(leave drama at the door)

Bonus Tips

  1. Reply to emails fast
    This is one some may not agree with, but prompt replies to emails are pretty important. A reply that takes more than a few hours is a big no-no in my books.
  2. Email Address: Gmail, personal domain, university email only
    This might be a bit fussy, but internet provider emails, hotmail accounts, and email addresses like ilovecats@msn.com don’t scream professional to me.
  3. Be on time to your interview
    No brainer…
  4. If something is asked of you, like to provide documents or answers, make it a priority
    This shows that you the job is a priority and a real focus for you.
  5. Dress for the job
    Check out our website, see what other wear to work, and dress to that level. This will illustrate you already fit in.

Good luck future employees!