Optimize Yourself for Search Marketing Employment and Recruiting

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In the growing industry of search marketing, aggressive recruiters and employment opportunities are everywhere. With search being such a young industry though, fewer elements can outrank experience and reputation. To be clear — you can’t attend an Ivy League university and major in search marketing. Yet.

To make things better; supply and demand is incredibly unbalanced in the world of search marketing, with SEO & SEM firms, ad agencies, private companies, Fortune 500’s and other institutions having difficulty finding experienced and proven search marketing professionals.

So how does a search marketing professional make themselves more attractive? Let’s take a look at some of the best ways!

Jump on the Social Networks

Between Facebook and MySpace, you can connect with thousands involved in the search industry. Granted, they may not all be in a position to offer you a job, but connecting with like minded individuals is one key to your long term growth in search.

Facebook alone has dozens of high quality groups focused on various elements and topics from within search. Don’t be afraid to think outside of search a bit either. Programming circles, groups of bloggers — and like minded designers can all offer great connections, advice, information and discussion for you.

MySpace, while a bit beaten down, still has some residual value. Facebook is clearly more important though, so spend your time accordingly.

The final component to the social networking realm you should cover is LinkedIn. Get in the habit of requesting contacts from everyone on LinkedIn and you’d be amazed at the number of new positions you can find and subsequently apply for.

Also, make sure you’ve got your LinkedIn profile listed publicly. Doing so will get your profile up there in the SERPs pretty quickly, and is an excellent way to show your history and skills off.

Reputation Management is Constant

One of the new phrases being tossed around is “reputation management”. It’s more important for those involved in search marketing, because there’s less to judge a character on. Since the industry is powered by Google, Yahoo and MSN — you need to make sure people looking for you not only find you, but like what they find.

Unless you’re in a position to pass off offer after offer, go out and start a blog. Commit to it (something I’m guilty of not doing) and offer your readers content that is worth their time. Don’t be afraid to stray from being search specific. Your blog is something that should reflect you as a person.

Make it a habit to optimize your sites, pages and references for your name. Once your resume hits the desks of recruiters, people will start looking for you. Make sure you give them clear and concise information on you as a person and as a professional.

Get Social with Others in Search

With new sites like Sphinn showing up and becoming an overnight success, you need to be all over them. From Digg and propeller to Reddit and Delicious — there are dozens of systems you should be using.

While it tempting, don’t abuse the systems. Quality social bookmarking tools in search (read: Sphinn) is run by some of the biggest and most respected players in this industry. Offend them, and you’re a goat for life.

Get Out from Behind Your Monitor

While discussion boards, forums and social networking are all the rage — sometimes you need to climb out from your desk and get some fresh air. While the search conferences have become more about corporate tools and products than they have about the sharing of information — you can still gain access to hundreds of quality people throughout the course of a few days.

When you attend search conferences, do not let yourself become shy. One of the best times I could have ever had was at the Boston PubCon in 2003. At that conference, so much information and impromptu meetings were taking place that it was overwhelming. At one point, near 2AM, I had to resort to using an audio recorder (WITH permission from the guys I was with) to take down some of the ideas that were being kicked around.

I’m proud to say that many of those guys are now running some of the more successful Internet businesses out there.

Get Ready to Deal with Recruiters

Today, it doesn’t matter if you’re on the East Coast, West Coast, or somewhere in between. Recruiters and specialized employment agencies have made it their job to locate new search marketing prospects and get them in the door for interviews.

Let’s make one point clear — successful search marketing is worth a lot of money to the right organizations. If you can step up to the plate and market yourself effectively, finding a job will not be a problem. The only problems you might come across would be choosing the best fit for you.

At the end of the day, marketing yourself is a lot of work. While many aren’t willing to put that work in, many others are taking advantage of the young industry and making themselves well known. If you’re serious about your career in search marketing, you need to market yourself.

Hopefully this post is either something you can use as a cheat sheet or form of motivation to get you going in the right direction.

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  • Loren Baker, Editor

    Great tips Eric. I’d say that building up your LinkedIn profile, connecting via LinkedIn, and motivating friends and clients to recommend you on LinkedIn are incredibly important to building your credentials, especially in this field.

    Also connect with recruiters, especially search recruiters, via LinkedIn.

    Organizing mini-Pub Con’s locally is also a great way to spread your search wealth amongst potential employers … because chances are a search recruiter may contact one of your friends or local colleagues, and if someone is not planning on relocating, local connections in search are of large importance.

    Blogging, speaking, finding your niche, networking and building a reputation within the industry are surefire ways to excel your position, salary and benefits in the search world. And it doesn’t take long… I mean, had anyone heard of Rebecca Kelley 18 months ago?

    And now she’s become a poster girl for SEO and keyword research.

  • Jake Fields

    Definately the way to go, everyone needs a little online reputation management. Personally I just find it fun to try and take over the whole first page of google for my name. (I’m currently battling some football player also named “Jake Fields”. They are always start popping up this time of the year with their new weekly stats.)

  • Joe Tinsley

    Great Article
    I think LinkedIn is a great place to connect with other professional people.
    I would also like to add that when creating relationships on LinkedIn be selective about the people who you’re linking with.
    The person you linked up with on MySpace may not be a good candidate to link up with on LinkedIn

  • Mark Laymon

    @ Jake
    Try having the student president of a university with the same name. I sometimes Hate .edu’s

    But I still win…

  • Mukesh

    Indeed, great tips! There are people who still don’t realize how huge the industry is. They think there is no future in it and the pay is not half as high as in software. But that is wrong and we all know that.

  • vikas

    Very Informative and very useful tips Eric. Thanx to you. I am into software testing and previously i worked as SEO expert in a leading SEO company in India, one thing i want to admit that i enjoyed my time to its fullest when i was working as SEO expert. And still i am trying to keep myself updated in SEO industry.

  • Thomas

    vikas – why did you jump to software testing if you were enjoying seo so much?

  • Patti Fousek

    These are all very helpful tips. I too have used LinkedIn as a networking tool and have started my own Blog. Both have been successful tools so far.