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How To Break In....starting From Zero
Posted 23 September 2008 - 02:52 AM
Quick background: I'm 3 years out of college, degree in Finance, worked sales jobs throughout and since college. The company I work for is hopelessly backwards when it comes to the internet, yet when I offer to help the boiled down response is "you're not marketing! go make more cold calls!". I have recently found that they are engaged in unethical business practices. Everyday going to work is increasingly dreadful, and I fear that my job could be gone very soon (slight sense of urgency).
I have completed the basic intro course from SEMPO, and I just passed the Google Adwords Exam. Iíve put up a LinkedIn profile, and also called up Onward Search to put my resume on file with them.
I would like to acquire a job working at an agency or an in-house role that had some training/structure where I could learn from more experience SEOs. The main problem Iíve encountered is all of the job postings require experience and many expressly state people without experience will not be considered.
I feel caught in a classic catch 22, canít get work experience without the job, canít get job without experience.
Is offering to do consulting pro-bono the best way to gain hands-on experience starting from scratch? How would I go about looking for a pro-bono assignment? Or should I focus on creating my own blog or web page?
Should I bite the bullet and drop the $3,000 to take the advanced SEMPO courses?
Any specific recommendations (again keyword: SPECIFIC!) or steps to break into the industry in terms of getting a agency/in-house job or even get hands-on experience to be a better candidate.
PS. Brandon is not my real name - I donít want my current employers to find this.
Posted 23 September 2008 - 04:14 AM
In your free time start a site of your own, optimise it and you can use it as a show case for potential future clients / job applications.
Contact some of your local charities and see whether they have/need a website optimised and do the same.
Posted 23 September 2008 - 09:41 AM
Most websites on the internet are small businesses, often run by just a few people and often the workload can get too much. These businesses are your target audience I would imagine. trainee wage and profit share maybe? :-)
Posted 23 September 2008 - 10:17 AM
sounds to me like you are on the right track so far, reading, doing training seminars, reaching out to people in the industry. a few tips for seeking a job in SEO, or seeking a job in general:
-write your linkedin profile like a resume, include keywords for the industry you want to get into and your city, state (if it's not in your experience, write somewhere that you are interested in seo, search marketing, etc.) - employers search on linkedin to find job candidates in their area (i didn't think this happened to people, but is how i got my current job, so i am a believer)
-more linkedin advice - search for related groups in your area and join them, make contact with people at companies you are interested in. keep building your profile. if you can, get people at your current (and/or former) job to write a recommendation for you.
-seek out organizations in your area that have meetings/speakers/etc. related to the area you are interested in. For example, here we have Austin Interactive Marketing Association.
-find out if there are any SEO companies in your local area, or companies that offer SEO as a service, contact them directly and ask. do not limit yourself to companies that have a job posting up that you qualify for. just ask. (this is what i did a few yrs ago and it worked).
-do not limit yourself to seo; with a finance background and analytics training you may also fit well into PPC campaign management, or similar. they are related fields and you may start with PPC and move later into SEO, or vice versa - in the end metrics have to be measured somehow (and a lot of time marketing people are not numbers people so use your background to position yourself, could give you an advantage).
-a lot of seo jobs involve writing, so some jobs may require that you provide writing samples. if you don't have this already, i might start trying to get some together. creating your own site as suggested by others above would be a good way.
-keep doing what you are doing and learn more and more. keep reading on this forum, it is an excellent resource that changes every day.
I hope at least some of this helps you! Let us know how things go. Good luck!
Posted 23 September 2008 - 08:27 PM
Take it even further. A lot of ad sellers (adwords included) have substantial grants available to non profits. Try to pick of a charity that's a good candidate for funding. Offer to apply for those grants on their behalf on condition that they let you manage that budget & set aside another budget (I would suggest anywhere from $2k-$20k) for associated expenses - web development, graphic design, tools, etc. Add on testing, SEO & anything else you can bring to the table.
That'll give you experience working on a substantial IM project, managing a large ppc budget, doing SEO, etc. If you have a 6-12 months to spend a few hours a week, it could be very worth doing.
Posted 23 September 2008 - 11:33 PM
I have already identified some local groups and am going to attend the next meetings. I definitely like the idea of going to a charity, or reaching out to small businesses to help them.
I also like the idea of starting my own website and optimizing...need to nail down what kind of a site I want to put up, etc.
Sometimes you know what you have to do, but it just helps to have someone else tell you you are doing the right thing, and that's what you guys have done for me. I'm ultra-pumped! Thanks!!
Posted 24 October 2008 - 04:21 AM
Posted 24 October 2008 - 09:30 AM
Try this on family and friends only - I've experimented during cold calling and actually tried to all but gave away sites, the rule seems to be the cheaper it is, the less desireable it is. Don't spend too much time on obstinate family or friends that don't think a website will work, regardless of cost - they will get sorted out soon enough. If you explain that you are exchanging your talents for some verifiable experience and a track record - that should suffice.
Start small if you have to, but start now. I'm with you, the job market looks terrible and many of my clients tell me things are grim - you need to back YOURSELF up and CYA. Good luck to you.
Posted 27 October 2008 - 12:00 PM
I'd recommend creating/optimizing a website in your current field. Since finance is your specialty, create a blog and start generating financial tips. Also, I'd gear it towards making it through this current economic downturn because it's something that people are talking about. There are several free/low cost blog platforms out there.
Just my two cents.
Posted 27 October 2008 - 03:41 PM
Will you get rich working only in your local community? Probably not. At least not if you're in a smaller community. But you will get work if you know your stuff and can express the high points to business owners. Not only will it bring you continuing business but it'll bring you word of mouth business from others outside of your local community.
What reminded me of this was I just got a call from my computer guy to see if I wanted to take on a 6 figure web development job for a local hospital he has contact with because he helps them run their internal network. I haven't designed a site for anyone else for hire in about 8 or 9 years now. I haven't SEO'd a site for anyone else in about 6 years now. No time since I'm doing my own thing.
But every week or two I get a call from someone who is either local or knows someone local who referred them wanting me to do one or the other. I suspect partly because of my working on people's sites in the past and partly because up until a few years ago I used to volunteer to give talks about these subjects at meetings held by local business groups. I turn down a lot of business simply because I don't have time for it and don't feel like hiring someone to do it as a subcontractor. And that's after not advertising for ages, and telling everyone No for ages.
Don't ignore you local community, even if you think there's nobody there doing business online. There are. And all else being roughly equal people would much rather work with someone from down the street than someone thousands miles away.
Posted 04 November 2008 - 04:40 PM
I first targeted my former employer of 3 years. It's a small town company that I've known for most of my life. My dad worked there when I was a kid. My mom and aunt both work there to this day. Basically, I've known this company for most of my life. The upper management has a reputation of being a bit...stingy, but I figured I had nothing to lose. I did some research and wrote up a very professional proposal, then clicked the send button. I explained that I am new to all of this, but because I know the company, I believed I had something to offer. I would provide SEO services for free, in exchange for adding them to my portfolio.
Today I got a very welcoming response, and they are anxious to work with me. Their website is done in-house with Dreamweaver, which is pretty much what I expected.
I guess the moral of the story here is, you don't know until you ask.
Posted 05 November 2008 - 12:54 AM
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