How I Got Into SEO Without Any Experience
This article / blog post highlights the possibilities of beating the odd. This has been explained through my experience of getting a job without any prior experience in online marketing space.
Since then I have got the direction and a purpose. Now it has been a decade that I am working as a Digital Marketing & SEO Consultant.
Table of Contents
- I did not know a thing about online world
- Why was I Hired?
- The benefits of working at an seo agency
- The cons of working at an seo agency
- One last tip for people who want to look for an seo job
Although this was not the first job in my life. But it was a turning point in my life.
Then, I did not know I was getting into something that I will love doing. I did not have the idea that I would build a life and career out of it and would stick to it till the end.
I have covered the story in detail. Not exactly this one but it is my life story so it will connect.
Things were not working out. I said I quit, got my tickets and decided to move back to my native place.
Then few of my friends asked me for ‘One Last Try’. I said ok fine. Let me give it a try. I pressed the reset button. I deleted everything. I even tried to erase it from my memory.
I sat down with a blank page (of course Microsoft Word). Then on the blank page I created a brand new resume. Today I laugh looking at that resume. But once you are a beginner.
Then began the new job search. Since this was the last try, I tried my best. I went to whatever company called me. Relevant, irrelevant whatever.
I just went there, talked to the hiring manager, and gained experience. One thing I did not forget was getting feedback. Correcting yourself based on that feedback.
In the process, I appeared for numerous interviews. I do not clearly remember the count but it was way more than 50.
Then, I got a call from a company. As always I did not ask for what company. I went there in my scheduled hour.
After a short wait HR manager who had called me appeared and we greeted each other then she started telling me about the company.
She said,’We are an Online Marketing’ company. Then she asked me ‘Do you know what Online Marketing is?’
I said no.
I did not know a thing about online world
I did not know that marketing can be done online. And there is a separate, parallel and virtual world running online with the help of the internet.
The HR manager then continued that you do not have experience, which is fine. We will judge you based on your interpersonal skills. To be frank even that was not great at that point. This was back in 2008.
She explained to me what Online marketing is, which again bounced off as I did not get a single thing she said. I just nodded.
But it sounded promising and whatever I was hearing felt like an alien thing. I thought this shit was interesting. Even to this day when I try to explain to people who are really curious to know what I do for a living. They listen to me with their jaw dropped.
Their final answer is do you really make money out of it. But google is blank. How do you get people? What do you really do sitting in front of the computer? Do not bluff me. Etc..etc…
Why was I Hired?
Somehow I managed to answer their queries. After a couple of hours she said that I can leave for the day. There are more rounds of interviews I will have to face with their respective managers.
I said no worries, please let me know and I left. They called me for a couple of more rounds and finally said they are hiring me. It was hard to believe that.
Because I had so many rejections. Until the SEO agency hired me, I was not even sure what industry I would be interested in. Like I said earlier this job was the turning point in my life.
Once I got the joining letter, I asked the HR manager. Although I did not have relevant experience, why did you hire me? You already have a lot of strong candidates lined up.
She said, sometimes relevant experience does not matter. We hired you because you are
- Super confident
- You are flexible, which will enable us to train you faster
- You have a good communication
- You have the patience. Despite making you wait so long for the interview calls, you did not get pissed off. You were smiling and never showed your frustration.
Rest we do not care. Because whatever team you will get into the managers will train you as per their process, product and need.
So a tip here to newbies looking for a job – hiring managers assess you based on so many parameters. I have seen candidates obsess so much over the product knowledge, while it is just one part of the equation.
The benefits of working at an SEO agency
To this day, I come across people who want to get into an agency for a job. Personally, if you ask me now I hate working for an agency. To be frank I hate working for somebody.
After all these years with more than a decade’s experience now it is time to leverage all the knowledge and experience I have gathered. Definitely I am not going to open an agency. There are many things that I can do within online marketing.
But from my experience I can say that if you want to make a career in digital marketing and seo then you should definitely start with an agency.
It has its own upside and downside. But the pros outweigh the cons. However, let’s have a look at some of them.
#1. You learn the art of ranking sites
One of the biggest upside is that agencies operate with certain processes and systems. This constitutes the onboarding process and training process. After onboarding you they will assess your optimization skill and will bring you at par. All of these training are free.
In addition, they have the list of what works and what does not work. Most of the time you are required to work in a team which will make your learning curve steep.
Another upside is you get to work on multiple accounts spanning to many different industries. This exposure is beyond comparison. The experience you gain is immense.
#2. Taking action will become your habit
Working in an agency involves client servicing. This involves taking care of client queries. Researching and suggesting clients best possible options too. You are required to write recommendations as well.
All these tasks have to be performed in scheduled time. In addition to these tasks there will always be something that is urgent. Client calls are another important role you will have to perform. At any given point of time you will be required to work on multiple clients. Someday you will be putting out fires from morning till evening.
This will help brush up the skills you have. The job will require you to learn many more additional skills. Doing the same things over and over will enhance your speed of doing things. It will give you a granular level of understanding of everything you do. The overall effect would be that you can turn yourself into super action oriented personnel which is a must if you want to achieve bigger goals in life.
#3. Using host of tools
When you are not making much money on the side, it is tough to pay for multiple marketing tools. Good tools come at a price.
While working in an SEO agency, you will have access to a host of tools. You name it and I am sure you will be hands working on these tools. Since there are multiple clients and they have different mandates, you will require new tools to perform some specialized tasks. Hence, agencies do not mind buying them. This experience is beyond comparison.
#4. Meet people with real experience
While you are working with an agency you will meet a lot of people with real experiences. First, you will have a team of experts who are your colleagues within the agency. Then there are clients with whom you can have meaning discussions. The problem and solving them real time.
Then there are multiple training sessions. Brainstorming sessions. A lot of problem solving. If you are a kind of person who wants to take more responsibilities there will not be short of them. You can take and do. Personally, I have grown many folds by taking additional responsibilities.
The cons of working at an SEO agency
#1. You will not love client work
After all these years of serving clients, today I have left the agency life and have moved on with my life projects. There will be a time when you will not love to do it. While it is a good place to kick start your career, down the line you will figure out your purpose and meaning of work and life.
Main reasons for not liking the client works can be attributed to 1. Repeated work becomes monotonous 2. Unrealistic expectations being put by client 3.Less freedom of doing things at your own pace.
#2. Less ROI on the work you do
Once you level up and come at par, you will start calculating the cost of services you provide. You will get the feeling that you are underpaid as compared to the time and effort you are putting in the work.
Then you will start looking for ways to make money online for yourself. If you assess your skill you will realize you have all the skill to make a decent living.
One idea that triumphs all is – If you rank some other client’s business higher and be responsible for all the success and failure, why not do that work for your websites.
Let me tell you frankly this is pretty much doable. You just have to get started.
Few tips for people starting out in an SEO job
When you are starting out in an SEO job, just remember following things.
- Irrespective of what role you have been assigned, always be willing to learn.
- Whether you are a lead or an executive act as an apprentice
- Never say no to any of the work assigned
- Never hesitate to ask for help
- Be always open for feedback
- Work on those feedback
These are just a few points to get you in the right direction. You will need extra skills to be better at the current job and climb the ladder.
For your convenience I have compiled a list of skills required for an SEO job. This list contains the skills for both intermediate and advanced level.
Do not give money the weight over the learning and experience when you are starting out. Once you have learned the ropes you will make more than what you have been offered.
Best of luck for your SEO job and feel free to drop a comment if you want any guidance or want to just chit chat.