A common misconception is that your job search starts once you decide you want to make a career change. In reality, there are simple things you should do on a regular basis to position yourself to be successful in your job search whenever that time comes. Given our industry is experiencing dramatic growth in SEO jobs, I want to outline a few strategies and tools that are specific to search marketing which you can use to proactively manage your job search and be in a position to find that ideal SEO job.
1. Market Yourself and Establish Your Personal Brand Identity
Establishing and managing your brand identity is beneficial to you as a job seeker in search marketing for two primary reasons:
- It creates new channels for employers to find you and therefore opens new job opportunities;
- A visible brand identify reinforces your professional search marketing experience and skills.
In simple terms this is about how you market yourself to the community and public. Do you blog and what you are blogging about? How heavy is your participation in SEO forums and communities? What does your LinkedIn profile say about you? Are you speaking at SMX / PubCon / SES? Do you participate in local networking organizations like SEMNE or the SEMPO New York Working Group?
If you are actively managing your personal brand identity, new job opportunities are going to find you faster than you could have otherwise found them. This is important because the best job opportunities are typically not found via a Monster or a Careerbuilder job posting, but usually through personal networks or referrals. Managing your brand identity drives both.
Additionally, reviewing a candidate’s personal brand is rapidly becoming a standard part of the process for employers and recruiters when they are evaluating candidates for search marketing positions. This is not to say that you are going to get a job because you are blogging on a regular basis, or that I am advocating you invest all of your time in becoming the next Danny Sullivan or Rand Fishkin. However, you should recognize that recruiters who specialize in search marketing do look at your online presence and activities, so it is important you spend time cultivating your personal brand identity.
2. Search Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn has become the online networking tool of choice for recruiters. It is rare that I speak to a corporate recruiter, staffing agency employee, or member of a human resources department who doesn’t leverage LinkedIn as a major part of their strategy to recruit new employees.
The reputation of LinkedIn within the recruiting world is very high because it has created an online community that does a very good job replicating the professional network relationships that traditionally drive most placements. Companies now have a user-friendly and well-designed tool to connect with the best talent in the market. Therefore, you want to ensure that you have “search optimized” your LinkedIn profile.
There are several good articles on the web about how to maximize your LinkedIn profile (just google “linkedin optimize” or “linkedin maximize”), so I will not reiterate the points here. However, I do want to comment that as a search marketer you have an inherent edge on the rest of the LinkedIn community. In essence, if you utilize basic search optimization strategies with your LinkedIn profile, you will be in a better position with your job search.
Here are a couple of examples of how your search marketing experience will help you maximize LinkedIn:
- LinkedIn’s search tool is primarily content-driven, so if your summary, job titles, employment history and other profile text are keyword-optimized, you immediately have an advantage over other candidates;
- Every connection, recommendation, and group you belong to is, in essence, another inbound link to your resume. If you conceptualize these LinkedIn components as links and then develop a “link-building strategy” for them, you will rapidly increase the size of your network and opportunities available to you;
- LinkedIn provides functionality to have a profile with a customized-public URL. Once you have enabled this, you absolutely should search optimize this URL. It is one of the easiest ways to build a cornerstone for a personal online branding strategy.
Two of the main reasons to be on LinkedIn is to be found and get connected. Keeping your profile complete and optimized will drive more job opportunities your way.
3. Leverage Indeed’s Tools to Track the SEO Job Market
I am a big fan of Indeed. If you are not familiar with the site, or have not extensively used it, in the simplest form it is a massive job aggregator. Indeed scrapes jobs from across the Internet and feeds them into a consolidated job database. They provide various tools for looking at job trends, salary trends, and tracking job activity.
For example, if you want to see how “SEO” jobs are growing compared to “Marketing” jobs, you can quickly generate a graph like the below:
Or if you want to see the average salaries for SEO professionals in New York City, you can pull the below data:
Indeed also has a Custom Job Feed / Alert Engine which is very helpful for tracking the job market. Again, let’s say you were interested in SEO Jobs in New York City. You simply create a search for “seo” in “new york city”, and once executed you can either have job updates emailed to you daily or (what I prefer) set the alert up as a feed in the RSS reader of choice. Here’s the actual SEO in New York City feed.
Even if you are not actively looking for a job, the job alert tool is useful to track activity for companies in your target market(s). Another great use of this tool is to track job postings from your company’s competitors by entering the company name into the search and setting it up as a separate alert.
Indeed is not the only site with this functionality. Their biggest competitor is simplyhired , which has very similar tools. Whether you use Indeed or simplyhired, the bottom line is they both provide quick access to customized data on the U.S. job market, and the more information you have available to you for your job search, the better off you will be.
These are three tips that can help you as you think through your job search and are appropriate for both active and passive job seekers. Hopefully, you learned at least one new idea that you hadn’t seen before.
I’d love to hear your feedback, and of course, feel free to connect with me via LinkedIn. You can also reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ken Clark is the Executive Vice President of Onward Search, the Leading Provider of Search Marketing Jobs.