Thoughts on Applying to SEO-er Positions, Not Getting Responses

u/ProWave

Applying to SEO positions, not getting responses

Hey guys,

So I'm having trouble landing a job.

Some background:

I have been actively working on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for the past 3 years.

I have studied SEO extensively (not formally, since it's not in most colleges)

During the past 3 years, I have practiced SEO almost every day except Sundays by working on my own website, which is completely reliant on Google for revenue.

I have developed a solid content strategy that reaps results. In fact, when I posted it for review on Reddit, that's how I landed my first gig. Someone hired me solely after reading that and a 5-minute interview.

All this background is to say that I do have credible value I could bring to an organisation that needs help ranking.

Now, I have applied to about 35 places and haven't heard back from anyone yet.

In my resume:

I have mentioned 3 companies I have worked for in the past (including my own – which I am currently working on) and highlighted relevant accomplishments during my time with them.

I have listed my education (Business major from Northeastern university)

And finally, I have listed all my relevant skills in digital marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) at the end of the resume.

I also spend time writing a cover letter to every job I apply to.

My question is, is there anything else I could be doing to get a job in SEO?

Appreciate any help. Thanks
30 💬🗨

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Tuilere
First, imma warn you that a bunch of comments will be about "not getting a job just do your own thing!" That said, there are many reasons to want an actual job, versus reliance on affiliate work, or trying to become a successful freelancer. I've done both, and both have value.

Which also leads me to the other thing I thought of when I read your post: You sound like you're blind applying to various online job listings. That is going to be a slog and rarely leads to much. Is there a local marketing/SEO/digital organization to join and network with? Are there people from your alumni association at companies you think/know have SEO analyst gigs you'd like to work for? You need to disintermediate those f*cking job app systems that auto-reject resumes. Create personal connections through whatever resources you can. Prof orgs and alumni orgs are the lowest hanging fruit.

If you wanted more freelance, my advice would be similar. While a non-zero chunk of my personal business was based on "epople I previously worked with," other huge chunks of leads, Request for proposal (RFP) and billable was based on networking and my alumni associations. I got business out of beers at the alumni social at a minor league baseball game, for instance – because they were people not constantly inundated with pitches and when I told them who I was/what I do, they were instantly interested and it led to stuff.

dems
This reply is so good, it should be on the sidebar of this sub! +1
ProWave ✍️
You're right I have been "blind-applying". Let me try this. Thank you for the insight :)

Tuilere
So many of those resume processing systems are basically Satan. You get rejected without a single human reviewing the resume.

Some where humans DO review it, it may be an HR professional who has no idea how to spell SEO let alone hire for it.

BoogerMan

You sound like you're blind applying to various online job listings.

Not trying to argue or nit pick, just dropping in to say that this is how people apply to jobs now. Not everyone I'm sure. But I've been running an agency for almost a decade and have been hiring search people for a while and the last few years everyone just uses the "quick apply" feature on job sites to rapid fire.

For OP and everyone else who might fit this bill, hiring people definitely spot this when it's a clearly wrong fit. Eg you're a graphic designer applying for an SEO account manager role (common occurrence, somehow). But you're making your own life harder. Most companies don't have resources to sift through a hundred applications a day. So by rapid fire, you're making the applicant pool so flooded that good candidates will be missed. You might be one of them.

Tuilere
A lot of the systems will reject resumes without even having a human review. So that is a huge barrier, and particularly in OP's case not one they should take personally. It is robots.

fender
Sounds like you have solid experience, I don't think that's the issue. Personally I don't do any hiring so I can't really comment on what those companies are looking for.

My question is, is there anything else I could be doing to get a job in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

I'm not sure what the best career path is, by there are lots of different roads to take. Some ideas:
👉 Building out your own websites. More domains, different markets, testing new strategies. It's all a great way to learn and potentially a large source of your revenue in the future.
👉 Building your personal brand. There's lots of SEO people writing blogs, doing the twitter thing, networking. Can indirectly get you a job, but it also just looks good to employers.
👉 Taking on client work. Chuck online a WP theme and boom you have your own agency. You can reach out to local businesses and help them make more money.
👉 Reach out to more companies, it's a numbers game. It's disheartening to try 35 and not have success, but you only need 1 company to say yes.

papade
Agencies are going nuts wanting to hire people lately.

Check LinkedIn… set your profile as "Open to work", make sure your profile looks good and goes over responsibilities you've held at previous jobs. Set up alerts for SEO positions and check daily for fresh job postings (you can set search results for nothing older than 24 hours in LinkedIn).

Getting a job today is about numbers (applying for a lot of jobs) and going after fresh job postings. After a few days have passed, most job listings are inundated with applicants, and likely you'll never get a response.

Also, the process for getting a job takes longer than ever. These companies want to vet applicants like crazy, you'll likely have to go through tons of phone calls and interviews just to get a no from the company you thought would definitely hire you. Don't get emotionally invested, instead make yourself look as good as possible and apply as much as possible.
doltron
It's a job seekers' market so this is odd. Most experienced SEO users are getting hounded for interviews right now.

I would recommend a few things: getting in touch with recruiters, getting Google Analytics certifications (and consider getting Google Ads basic certs), and don't lead with your own company. Having a personal project is fine but a lot of agencies don't put a lot of stock in individual projects because they aren't subjected to typical client interactions or peer review of your strategy. My agency tends to avoid freelancers (if that's the majority of their work experience) because they often have their own set of misguided processes and don't play well with others.

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askoshbetter
It's interesting you mention cover letters. I've had some success with super short cover letters. The deal is, screeners both human and robotic, don't understand Search Engine Optimization (SEO), so the key is to inform them you're good at the job.

Follow this cover letter formula:
Cordial Greeting; I'm applying to X Job; and am qualified for X job based on my attached resume; Call or email me to to schedule a time to review my qualifications for this job

For the resume,

Be sure to include any keywords in the job description in your resume. Some job screenings are initially automated so if you don't hit certain keywords your auto rejected.

Best of luck to you!
thesupermikey
Here is something i don't think is obvious when applying for jobs.

It is unlikely anyone will ever look at your resume. Companies have largely outsourced hiring to 3rd party screening programs that are VERY DUMB.

Search for "applicant tracking system" strategies and you will find tons of articles like this one. You will see what I am talking about.

Also listen to r/Tuilere. They know what they are talking about.

Tuilere
Sometimes even if a human is involved it is the wrong human.

I had HR screening people and sending me just dumpsterf*ck candidates at one point. I ended up taking back some initial resume screening from them just because what they were sending me was such a waste of time. I am not sure what our HR rep thought my team was doing, but, lord, they were wrong.

thesupermikey
It took me 3 tries to get them to even get the last job listing right. The first one had the wrong title and had "do you use communication in your current job".

Yes. "Use communication".

grindingallday
You need to highlight what SEO success you've had, not just your "experience"!

Instead of just listing the skills you have, show the outcome of your work.

"Achieved frontpage rankings on numerous high value keywords which brought in "$xx" in revenue through 50,000 unique organic clicks." and show them why they should hire you.
zigojacko
Where are the job listings that you've been applying to?

In my experience, many of the places we've advertised for SEO positions, we get inundated with irrelevant applications. LinkedIn was one of the worst and in just a week, we received over 200 applications for a skilled position where over 80% had no or not enough previous experience in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), despite the position requiring this. I think it's just made too easy on there for members to just fly through a ton of listings and click apply to everything. No intro, no personalisation, no cover letter etc – it makes it very difficult for recruiters to filter out those that are relevant.

It's a similar case on many other platforms instead. So standing out from the crowd and getting noticed can be difficult.

Personally, I feel there is a better chance of getting seen properly by searching for listings that are advertised on the company's own website and via their direct application procedure.

If you are open to remote positions, then I would recommend checking Remoters for SEO job listings, we've used this for hiring and have recruited for many of our recent positions via here and the applications are usually more relevant than you would find anywhere else. Other than this, we usually head hunt on LinkedIn.

Hope this helps. 👍
cire
Jumping off of what a few people here said about HR and recruiters – I have come across very few who understand what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is and who makes a strong candidate. Just looking at my LinkedIn on the daily and I get constant requests to chat about entry-level SEO jobs and even PAID search jobs (I have well over a decade of SEO leadership experience and have never been an SEM expert).

There is a massive disconnect in the recruiting world between them and SEO users. It's not always the case (Brainlabs and a few other digital agencies are finally getting it right in my experience), but overall most recruiters just don't understand how to find us outside of, ironically, keywords on our resume.

Side note – u/Professional-Wave532 feel free to Direct Message (DM) me and I'd be happy to take a look at your resume. I have been doing this (SEO) a long time and I actually lead a small east-coast team for a growing global agency.
Benjie
I know of a few companies hiring but as you've used the word resume I assume you're not UK based (though I might be wrong?)

The single biggest tip I'd give you is to scout companies you'd actually want to work for. Then connect with hiring managers on LinkedIn and reach out personally.

This shows that you're actually putting effort in to your search by being selective about who you want to work for. Hiring managers are more likely to respond to this type of personal approach than a general application where your name is barely recognisable in a sea of applications.

Hope this helps!

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