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7 Ways to Find a Job in SEO After College

7 Ways to Find a Job in SEO After College
Did you get any SEO tips for students throughout your college marketing courses? If you’re like most students, that was not the case. Your professors tackled digital marketing in general, and you learned a lot. However, there weren’t any SEO scholars there to prepare you for a career in the digital marketing industry. Search engine optimization is such a complex process that it’s hard to tackle in a college course. There aren’t definite rules, and the practices are ever-changing. That’s why professors don’t like to cover it, and it’s why universities don’t educate SEO scholars. Still, it’s possible to get into an SEO career right after college. You’ll have to learn a lot and practice different techniques. You’ll experiment with trial and error, too! However, you’ll be entering an interesting field that shapes the digital marketing industry for the most part.  The only question is: how do you get an SEO specialist job right after graduation?

7 Ways to Get a Job in SEO after College Graduation


1# Make Sure This Is What You Want

Many recent graduates aspire to SEO positions because they can easily get into freelancing and there are many open positions on the Digital marketing job market. But they don’t love SEO as a profession. After a while, they realize it’s too “technical” and they don’t find it exciting.  Before you start applying for positions, you’ll need to get deeper into the learning experience. Learn as much as possible and work on your own projects. These initial steps should be enough for you to figure out: Is this the career part you want to pursue? Constant challenges are part of SEO. Nothing is final. You’ll always have new things to learn and new techniques to try. For many recent graduates, that sounds like an exciting opportunity. Others find it overwhelming. Another great thing about SEO is that ideas matter. If you have amazing ideas and you perform well, the years of experience won’t matter. You’ll make progress!  The biggest problem with this career is the work-life balance. It’s a hard thing to achieve since SEO is not something you do as a 9-to-5 job. Some hiring managers will consider you because you’re young and they assume you have a lot to give. They will expect you to be constantly online and always accept extra tasks when necessary. SEO is done on weekends, on holidays, and during summer vacations. If you’re not that great at time management, the job will suck the life out of you. However, having so many opportunities to work is also a good thing. You’ll just need to set your limits. 

2# Learn at Your Own Pace

After you graduate from college and start thinking about a career in digital marketing, your first thought will be: “I need to get an SEO certification.” Don’t go there! It’s not necessary to hold a certificate. Yes; a certificate is good because you get it after a structured program that teaches you something. You’ll learn from legit experts, who know what they are talking about. It also proves that you mastered SEO skills up to a certain level.  However, certification programs have their downsides as well. They don’t emphasize practice; they emphasize education. If you already tool marketing courses at university, your degree should be enough to prove your education. Employers are after the experience, so to get a job in the digital marketing industry you should focus on that. So how do you learn? You’ll find amazing online resources that give you the knowledge you need. Try The Beginner’s Guide to SEO by Moz and Seth Godin’s blog. From there on, it will be easy to identify the experts in the digital marketing industry and learn from them. But remember: it’s not just about learning. It’s mostly about the practice, and that brings us to the next point.  

3# Focus on Essential SEO Skills

At the beginner level, a hiring manager will ask if you can do these things:
  • Manage and analyze websites through Search Console
  • Use Google Tag Manager
  • Use Google Analytics
  • Understand Google’s search operators
  • Perform on-page and off-page SEO
  • Write optimized content
  • Build links that would improve the search engine rankings
  • Use a crawler tool
  • Find and fix indexed error pages
  • Monitor the results of an SEO campaign and adjust the strategy accordingly
It’s a lot. No one said this would be easy. When you start learning, focus on these essential skills that you’ll definitely need for employment in the sector. 

4# Get Some Experience through Your Own Project

You’ll need something feature in your resume and LinkedIn profile. You can’t apply to an ad for an SEO job without any previous experience.  You’ll have to start your own website. It can be about anything you like; just choose a niche you feel passionate about. Then, focus on search engine optimization. Your goal is to get your site featured in Google’s first suggestions on a relevant quest.  You’re already guessing: there’s a lot of learning to cover before you get to that step. It’s not easy to beat your entire competition and end up on the first page of results. Remember those services you turned to when you were thinking “I need someone to write me an essay”? You can work with those writers again. You’ll give them the ideas and keywords, and they will develop good content for you.  It’s not just about keywords and content, though. It’s about finding the right topics, targeting the right keywords, and maintaining the right balance in your posting schedule. SEO is a lot of work, so stay committed to it. Once you make your website successful, you’ll have something to show off. Any recruiter will be willing to consider you as part of their marketing team.

5# Choose Your Specialty 

An SEO specialist is a broad term. If you learned anything about search engine optimization, you know it’s a complex concept that involves several steps: data analysis, content marketing, blogging, social media marketing, and more.  What are you skilled at? These are a few of the positions you can aim for:
  • Social media specialist
  • Paid search specialist
  • SEO manager
  • Content strategist
  • Executive director of digital marketing
  • Account manager
  • Content marketing manager
  • Digital marketing analyst
  • Web developer with a focus on SEO
  • SEO specialist
  • Marketing coordinator
  • Digital marketing specialist
  • Digital marketing manager
Since SEO is an aspect of digital marketing, you have a large sector to target. It’s important to focus on a single position and gain the needed skills for it. When you’re a specialist, you’ll easily gain a recruiter’s attention. You’ll stand out between applicants with general experience. 

6# Start Applying

When you have the needed knowledge and some experience to showcase in your application, you can get on the job market. Most beginners decide to start with freelancing platforms, such as Upwork, Airtasker and PeoplePerHour. They are a decent source of opportunities, especially for entry-level positions in marketing teams. If you’re good enough, you can keep collaborating with returning clients outside the platform, and aim for a higher position in their team.   However, LinkedIn should remain your major focus. It’s where recruiters search for candidates. You can get noticed in discussion groups, and you can post your own content. Present yourself as an expert in the industry!

7# You’re Just a Beginner, So Don’t Get Greedy

According to PayScale, the median pay for SEO analysts is $49,263 per year. Senior analysts earn much more (around $70K). When you’re just a beginner, you can’t aim for such high amounts. You have college loans to pay off, rent to pay, and a life to live. You might think that $37K per year is too low, but keep in mind that it’s just a start. It’s your chance to prove what you know and gain experience through your first job.  When you combine an entry-level job with freelancing activities, you’ll earn more money and tons of experience that will get you to a better position.  Many recent graduates offer their SEO services for free at the beginning. They find a small startup that hasn’t developed an SEO strategy yet. They contact the owner, offering a project that’s free for a month. When the owner sees the results, they will want to collaborate. Even if they don’t sign a contract, they will give you a great recommendation for a job well done.  You can’t keep working for free forever, but it’s something to consider if you’re not getting job interviews right from the start.     

SEO Is a Great Career Choice!

SEO is nowhere near its end. If you become a specialist, you’ll have a productive career.  But don’t assume that you’ll have it easy. First, you must work on your own online project and prove that you learned from it. You’ll try different techniques, create case studies, and feature the results on LinkedIn and other platforms. You’ll dig into big data to analyze different SEO techniques. With this approach, you prove that you’re a dedicated SEO specialist who knows how to make a website popular. It won’t take long before recruiters start noticing you.  BIO: Joshua Robinson is a content writer and digital marketing specialist. His work as a freelancer enabled him to travel and learn on a consistent basis. Joshua dedicates most of his blog posts to inspire other people to learn, too.            
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