SEM Role Acquired – Attention span required

This isn’t really an SEO type post. It relates to the whole job seeking thing and my recent experience of it, feel free to read it if you like, you might fall asleep or you might even learn something. I’m not qualified to say which, you can be the judge of that!

You may recall that I made an SEO job required post about 3 weeks back. Well, I am happy to announce that I have found a great new role with an excellently progressive search company in London . I won’t say with who exactly as it’s good to keep some things under ones hat.What I will say is that they employ top quality people (why else employ me 😉 ) and are very proactive in the search space with an ever increasing base of quality clients looking to either solidify or improve their on-line presence. I think I’m going to have a lot of fun there in what seems to be a forward looking finger on the pulse type company.

Are you looking for that new role in SEM?

Looking for a job for me, was an interesting process I knew what I didn’t want to do, which was a great start in finding the type of role I was looking for. I was particularly surprised at the activity within the marketplace at this time of year. On day one of putting my CV out to recruitment consultants I received 10 phone calls, over the proceeding week I had a number of roles put my way, some suitable and some not so suitable.

I ended up going for 5 interviews, one of which was a two part process one of my interviews consisted of a test phase which much to my dismay I failed! Some tests require a score of 100%! One company required me to handcode a page in xhtml using CSS2, all from a PSD file, not just that, I also had to jump through a number of PHP code hoops whereby the aim of the function was provided and I had to fill in the blanks. It’s funny when you realise that you don’t necessarily know as much as you thought you did, especially when you spend in excess of 10 hours finding it out. Still, an interesting diversion nonetheless.

I was eventually offered 3 jobs, the one I opted for had the best package overall offering a good mix for progression, diversity and job interest, yet it certainly wasn’t an easy choice. Frank, if you ever read this, you are a great guy with a great team. I doubt it’ll take you too long to find just the right person. It would have been a pleasure I’m sure. That offer still stands too.

So what did I do right and what did I do wrong?

I guess that ultimately you’ll have to ask the people who interviewed me for the precise reasons, but there’s no harm in exploring a few of the obvious ones that may have helped as well as a few of those that may have hindered!

  • Write a good CV

    There’s little point in expecting to land interviews if you have too generic a CV. Think about the roles to which you are applying and tailor your CV to best fit the type of thing you are looking for. Focus tightly on your experience and talk about what it is you have done in your career and how you did it. List your achievements, give examples of how you made them, show people how you planned your approach and strategies. List your skills for the job, stick to the ones that are most relevant. Resist the urge to mention your flair for origami or dirty joke retention. Don’t overdo it, be honest, sound human, sound approachable, try to engage the person who will be tasked with reading your stuff.

  • Help the recruiter

    Engage with the recruiter, treat them like you would a friend. Don’t be all wooden and stuffy, you want them to help you. It may as well be a fun process too. Tell them about what you are looking for. If you don’t have the necessary experience then convey a little passion and enthusiasm for what it is you want to do and why. Carry them with you, get them to believe in you. If you believe in your ability then your confidence will shine through, if you um and err from the outset, then you’ll give the wrong impression and they’ll miss the you opportunity.

  • Be well presented

    If you are fortunate enough to get invited for interview then make an effort stick on a nice whistle and flute! Just because you may have sat around in your bra and knickers or underpants in the past mixing it up with a bit of PHP and HTML, doesn’t mean that your prospective new employer will be ok with a laid back ’employ my skills not my dress sense approach’. You may well be one of the most smartest critically thinking abstract diverse SEOs on the planet but that won’t count for rock salt if you give the impression that you some maverick arse who can’t even think in terms of clients and respectability! Business people especially, want to deal with people who inspire a confidence in their needs. If you can’t take the time to care about how you look, then why would any right thinking employer or client think that you’d even begin to care about them and their needs?

  • Be yourself and demonstrate your knowledge

    Nerves are a PITA. We all have them, they are that unfortunate aspect of ourselves that sometimes help us perform or otherwise bomb. The thing to remember is that in practically every case, the person sitting in front of you wants you to be that person they are looking for. They don’t want to have to keep interviewing person after person after person, no. They are hoping that you are the candidate and if you are sitting there in that seat, then there’s a very good chance that you are.If you have made it this far to the interview stage then you should give yourself a big pat on the back as you are already half way there to securing your new position. Resist the temptation to bullshit or lay it on thick as unless you are some kind of sociopathic narcissist, the reality is it will look false and sound unconvincing. None of us really like interviews, but they should be seen for the opportunity that they are. They are that opportunity to show who you are and what you have to say. If you are good at what you do and have done well at it in the past then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to convey that experience. Just be yourself, see the person sitting across from you as your allie. You are there to help them find what they are looking for; unless it’s an aspect of the role, they won’t wish to make you feel anymore uncomfortable than you may already be. If you helped client x get to position 1 then show them how you did it. You don’t have to breech client confidentialities just present it generic styley, the principles are broadly the same, especially when it comes to the disciplines of SEO.

Today and tomorrow and the day after that

At the end of it all, I guess I was lucky to have received the offers I did, in such a short space of time. Being in the right place at the right time can go a long way in determining where it is that we’ll find ourselves on the next months or years of our existential path.

The great thing about the search scape is that it is an ever changing, ever shifting place. It never sits still, companies and individuals push and promote new ideas, practically daily. Only last week we saw the unveiling of ‘Google Knowls‘ yet another big play at securing the ever participative web, which kind of ties in nicely with what it is that makes this whole ‘thing’ work. If you can engage your readers/users/customers/visitors/friends then you’ll gain their interest and make a success of things. Be it a user registration, a comment, a link, a purchase, a date, a job interview…

Fulfill the needs of the people you encounter, demonstrate how you’ll improve their experience, get them to participate in project you.

Merry Xmas and happy holidays all!

Rob Watts
Kickstart your business today - Get an SEO Consultation or just talk to Rob about your online aspirations. With over 20 years experience in building traffic he's pretty much encountered most markets and scenarios
Posted on: 21st December 2007, by : Rob Watts

11 thoughts on “SEM Role Acquired – Attention span required

  1. Excellent Rob!

    I am not sure how I found your blog but I recently added it to my reader and I have been visiting as you post. Good luck with your new position.

    I have recently had a similar experience with a different outcome. I felt the best way to expand my employment opportunities was to prove I could rank not only my employers sites but my own web site as well. I thought it might look good on the resume.

    Well, the work on my own site has now lead to daily contact with companies across the US needing SEO services. So, I am not necessarily looking for another SEO Job anymore. The one I have is almost perfect and I have a growing number of interested clients lining up.

  2. Hey Rob,

    Good news on the new job, those tests sound a bit much though. I can just about hand-code a page still but it’s not much of a test of your SEM skills! I know a lot of IMs who have almost zero technical experience.

    I don’t think I’ll stay in Russia forever (a feeling that increases dramatically over winter when it hits -20C!) so this was a very interesting article for me.

  3. Thanks Nick,

    That -20 thing sounds…cold!

    I think the lesson Ive taken from all this thus far, is that it’s good to get out of ones comfort zone.

    Let me know when you escape from forever 😀

  4. Ha, yes I don’t think anyone would describe Russia as a comfort zone…

    Still we’re looking at picking up a house this year with a sauna, bar and swimming pool which should make up for some of the discomfort 🙂

    I’ll definitely give you a call though when we’re next in the UK. Would be good to grab a beer. I was hoping to meet up with more of the UK SEO crowd at Christmas in Brighton, but the party was canceled.

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