Career Wednesday @ Bigfoot Digital

Last week I shared an article that highlighted search engine optimisation as one of the most sought after skills in the tech industry. Admittedly, it’s a very attractive career choice which is both shrouded in mystery and in high demand at the moment. Oh, and did I mention that SEO managers can earn up to £47,000 a year. So what exactly does it take to land a job as an SEO specialist?

It’s important to understand what exactly is involved with the job; it’s not all heavy coding, nor is it all keyword analysis, so your experience should strike a balance between being tech savvy and having a firm grasp on communication. SEO specialists bridge the gap between the programmers and the average Joe web users.

Best degree for the job?

There isn’t really a ‘best’ option here, since the skills required are so varied. Marketing, Business, Communications, English, Maths and Computer Science would all give you a good starting off point for your career. Regardless of your degree choice taking the time to learn HTML and making sure you have a good grasp of social media will put you at a huge advantage.

Experience

To get a feel for the type of work you’d be doing, and to start building up your experience, you should try landing an internship. The key to getting the most out of an internship is to not worry so much about being offered a job at the end of it. Most of the time a job offer isn’t on the cards; so focus on impressing the boss, learning as much as you can and developing contacts.

If you intern with a small company you’ll probably get a more hands on experience as you’ll be needed in all areas of the business. If you intern with a larger company you’ll most likely be placed within a specific department, and get a more in-depth understanding of that particular area.

Getting Noticed

If you don’t manage to bag your dream job fresh out of university, don’t panic! Work on building up your experience and making your CV shine.

  • Try building a website to host your CV, contact details and an SEO industry blog. An SEO blog will demonstrate that you’re actively engaging in the industry. Once your website is set up you can give it a
  • sprinkling of magic SEO pixie dust and watch it shoot up in the rankings. (That’s how SEO works, right?)
  • Network; use social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn to communicate with people in the industry and build up a network of contacts.
  • Work freelance; everyone knows someone, who knows someone, who is looking for help with their website. It’s like, the rule of the universe or something. Build up an impressive portfolio of work by helping Uncle Andy get his fish food emporium website up and running.
  • Get a job in a related field; you know how the saying goes ‘it’s easier to find work when you’re in work’. An employed person is more employable. It’s cruel and unfair, but it’s true.
  • Never stop learning. SEO isn’t something you can learn once and be an expert for life, it’s always changing and adapting, so you should too. Keep up to date with news and take every opportunity to develop your skills further.

So this wraps up advice for the graduates, next week on “Bigfoot Career Wednesdays” I’ll focus on changing careers.

Happy Leap Year Everyone!