Posted by Steve_Toth
Most of us cringe at the thought of having to summarize ourselves on a rÃ©sumÃ©. Two pages!! Is that all we get?! Fortunately, the nature of the inbound marketing industry lends itself towards creative ways of getting noticed. The techniques covered here can be used by anyone looking for work, or by anyone who is planning to at some point. Whether youâ€™re in-between jobs, out of school, or looking to enter inbound marketing from a different field, the land of pandas, penguins, zebras, hummingbirds and robots (letâ€™s not forget Roger) has room for you!
Inbound marketing is a rewarding career and you get to invent creative ways to help people find what they want. Thereâ€™s also a great community; and youâ€™re able to derive tremendous satisfaction from your work. Another bonus about this industry is the low barrier to entry (weâ€™re all mostly self-taught).
Good news right? Sure, but this low barrier also means there is stiff competition for each vacancy and/or new job thatâ€™s created. In this post, Iâ€™m going to share with you some advanced strategies for landing your inbound marketing dream job. I hope it inspires you to think of creative ways you can impress an inbound marketing agency and separate yourself from the pack.
(Picture: audiinsperation/Flickr CC BY)
Start by Making a List of Top Agencies
To do this, perform a search for â€œSEO + cityâ€� â€œinbound marketing + cityâ€� â€œInternet marketing + cityâ€� etc. This should give you an idea of who the top agencies are in your area. Perform a series of searches and find the companies that rank.
Before you decide on where to apply, itâ€™s best to do a bit of research to check for spammy signals. You may also wish to apply this research to the agencyâ€™s clients. That way youâ€™ll get to know a bit more about the actual SEO they do.
A quick way to separate the best from the worst is to run websites through the free version of Majestic SEO and look at their trust flow vs. citation flow:
If you get a job with the company doing SEO on the left, youâ€™re likely to find predominantly white-hat SEO. If you get a job with a company who does low quality SEO on the right, letâ€™s say, in an account management position, then youâ€™re likely to find yourself obfuscating the truth to clients. See that thick purple spray at about 20 degrees? Not good!
The bolder the distribution along the diagonal axis may also give you an idea of how well they pay or what kind of clients the agency has. Sites like Glassdoor can also help with that, too. Donâ€™t just stop there, research their backlink profiles using Open Site Explorer and check out their anchor text distribution. If you see too many exact match anchors, it may not be the right match for you.
You can also check out their social page metrics as seen in the example below:
Last thing youâ€™ll want to do is analyze linking domains, to see if theyâ€™re getting their links from too few sources.
All this info can help you make smart decisions, but donâ€™t forget about some other important things that matter. Iâ€™m talking about factors to consider such as:
- Will you like your boss?
- Will you like your co-workers?
- Do they have the types of clients you want to work with (I know what youâ€™re thinkingâ€¦ thereâ€™s no choice in that, but if there were ever a choice, it would be before you choose to work for the company).
- Is there room for growth?
- Will you be happy there?
There has never been a better reason to research (some may say â€œcreepâ€�) an employer and/or potential colleagues. A new job can be a life-changing event. So try going deep into their Twitter history and use advanced search operators on LinkedIn to evaluate the companyâ€™s executives and staff to see if youâ€™d be a good fit.
Now do Some Extensive Research
This is a tip that Iâ€™m sure has been hammered into the brains of many attentive job seekers. Thereâ€™s nothing worse than interviewing someone who knows little-to-nothing about who your clients are, what services you offer, who the senior team members are, etc.
Donâ€™t stop at their website, follow them on social, engage with them, watch their YouTube videos, and read the reviews of their company. All of this can give you insight and something to reference in interviews. Make it your goal to understand the company culture.
Try and find out details like what third-party tools they use, e.g. Moz Analytics, Screaming Frog, Salesforce, etc. Knowing things like this will impress them, just make sure you know what everything does and try out a free version if you can.
Iâ€™ll leave it at this: know them as if you already work for them!
Then Let the Jobs Find You
(Picture: James Cridland/Flickr CC BY)
Itâ€™s a big internet out there, so set-up Google Alerts for job titles that you want. Letâ€™s say youâ€™re looking for a job in SEO, simply subscribe to the alert â€œjob title + city nameâ€� e.g. â€œSEO Manager Toronto,â€� â€œPPC Manager Toronto.â€� This way you'll get new jobs delivered directly to your inbox!
You could also check your target's Careers page frantically every day, or you could use a tool like ChangeDetection.com to constantly monitor new jobs as they are posted to your target agencyâ€™s site. Let's say you have your sights set on working at a local internet marketing agency, simply set up change detection on their Careers page and be alerted the instant a new job is posted!
After youâ€™ve set-up change detection on your targetâ€™s career page, be sure to also use niche job boards like:
Be Sure to Harness the Power of LinkedIn
Building your network on LinkedIn can lead to great opportunities. If youâ€™re on LinkedIn, you know that their algorithm will match job postings to your experience and deliver relevant job openings to your inbox. LinkedIn Groups can also be another source for finding job leads. To navigate, log in to LinkedIn and select â€œgroupsâ€� from the dropdown:
Here are just two examples of groups youâ€™ll find:
- Marketing and Sales: Networking, Forum and Jobs
- Jobs in Internet Marketing, E-business, Web Analytics
Donâ€™t forget about Alumni groups you may be able to network with as well.
Lastly, check out this great SlideShare by Becky Livingston from Penheel Marketing on how to use Linkedin for your job search. There are a lot of advanced search operators tips and LinkedIn group info gold within!
But Make Sure You Apply for Specific Jobs!
One mistake that a lot of people make is applying â€œto the companyâ€� and not a specific job. It will be tempting to â€œjust applyâ€� especially when youâ€™re just starting out, but you stand a much better chance of getting hired if youâ€™re able to tailor your resume toward a specific skill-set, be that copywriting, graphic design, SEM, social media, etc.
Employers want to hire people with aptitude in certain areas, even when experience lacks. So make sure you emphasize all of your strengths and prove that you have relevant knowledge (even if that means brushing up the night before the interview)!
As hard as it sounds, you may have to wait for the perfect job. Having to apply to the same company multiple times is less unusual than you think. So be patient, and besides, wouldnâ€™t you ultimately want to land in a position where youâ€™d be able to harness your strengths and passions?
Alright, you've got some smart ways to find jobs, check!
You know to make sure you apply for a specific job, check! Now what?
Creative Ways to Get on the Radar
1) Interact with the Community
(Picture: Thos003/Flickr CC BY)
There are so many great places to make your mark in this industry: blogs, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn groups, Google+ communities, Quora, Mozâ€™s Q&A Forum and many more. All of these are great places for you to jump in and share your experience and expertise; but donâ€™t just agree with the group and sing praises, offer unique examples or a viewpoint thatâ€™s entirely your own. Aim to differentiate yourself!
Make it your goal to help people. This is where marketing is going; itâ€™s the crux of one of 2013â€™s most popular marketing books: Youtility (great read). If helping people is a marketing strategy, then why not help people to market yourself?!
Say tomorrow, like pretty much every day, something totally new happens in the world of internet marketing. Ok, letâ€™s say a new algorithm update is announced. Wouldn't it be great if you started a discussion around this topic? Employers are always looking to hire creative people, and creative people tend to start conversations in addition to participating in them.
You can also opt for this approach: letâ€™s say your prospective employerâ€™s site has a broken link, or a page doesn't work well in a certain browser. This isn't a tweet you want to go public with, but maybe a tactful DM as a heads up would be appreciated. Follow it up with an insightful blog comment a week later. Apply a personalized drip marketing approach to get on your targetâ€™s radar. It should be noted, donâ€™t just focus on one person at a company; make casual contact with multiple people at your target employer. At my company TechWyse, thereâ€™s often a collective discussion when it comes to interviews and hiring. So getting on multiple radars is a great strategy to help you build a group of advocates.
You would be surprised what community participation can yield. It puts you in front of a captive audience and can also land you a job, create speaking opportunities, consulting gigs, and more! This industry thrives on shared knowledge and when people learn from you it builds credibility in addition to showing that youâ€™re an awesome person!
2) Video Outreach
Outreach is simply contacting someone you donâ€™t know for the first time in hopes of making a connection. Rob Ousbey from Distilled has put together a creative way to find virtually anyoneâ€™s email address. The tool called â€œThe Email Permutatorâ€� creates a multitude of email address combinations which Gmail and Outlook users can verify using Rapportive and xobni respectfully.
Here is a video I made that shows you how to do this:
To get started, open The Email Permutator and make a copy to your Google Drive, or you can download it as a CSV (this will make it editable). Now sign up for Vsnap and enter the email address youâ€™ve just verified using the Permutator.
For the purposes of this blog, I encourage job seekers to use Vsnap to target the HR department, a director, senior manager or even the CEO. Find their email using the video outreach strategy I mentioned above and draft a plan to sell yourself in a one-minute video. Attach your resume, your blog and social profiles and youâ€™re off!
Google also created a way to email your Google+ contacts. So be sure to combine that with video outreach, too.
3) Use Paid Advertising Unconventionally
Back in 2010, copywriter Alec Brownstein was looking for a job at a different ad agency. His method of finding a new job was one of the most ingenious strategies I have ever heard. He placed AdWords bids on the names of five creative directors so that when they Googled themselves they would see a link to his portfolio. Incredibly smart and it worked!
I donâ€™t suggest you go out and do the same thing. You run the risk of being labelled a copycat. Iâ€™ve seen people try it and be called out on it. Just realize that Google AdWords can be used in creative and unconventional ways. For example, at a recent conference my company sponsored, we bid on the names of different speakers and created ads that enticed people to come and visit our booth.
You can also use Facebook and LinkedIn ads to get in front of potential employers. As a wise Moz editor once told me: â€œcreepy is the moment you're trying to be charming and fail.â€� So make sure youâ€™ve got something really awesome to offer, show off your advanced knowledge of social advertising and make it your aim to differentiate and impress.
Be sure to avoid loud and desperate â€œHIRE ME!!!â€� Facebook ads, excessive @mentioning campaigns, and mass spamming for any and every job. This can easily put people off. Think quality over quantity; creative inbound marketing over push marketing.
4) Link to Your Targetâ€™s Blog Posts
You have a blog now, do you know what happens when you link to someone elseâ€™s blog? You get a pingback! This is a notification in WordPress that someone has linked to you.
Donâ€™t just link, talk about them, talk about why you liked their post, make an insightful comment. Perhaps put a video on that page where you demonstrate everything that you've been researching and at the end of that video, you can talk about how youâ€™re looking for a place to make an impact.
Bonus tip: Write a guest blog post for your target agency. Wouldn't it be great to say, "I've written for your blog" in the interview?
5) Tinker with UTM Parameters and Get Noticed in Google Analytics
A clever way to show your enthusiasm would be to use UTM parameters to get yourself into the Google Analytics account of your target company. First, confirm that the site is using Google Analytics (usually by looking for the presence of "UA-" in the code of the site. Simply right click and view source then search for â€œUA-â€�).
Next, create a tagged link to the homepage for the job listing on their site you're interested in. You could use Google's URL builder for this.
Here's an example link done by none other than â€œMr. Hamish McTestingâ€�:
Your source would be "hire-me-for-[position]." Your medium could be your name (hyphenated). Then set the campaign to your resume.
You might be able to get noticed with just one person accessing this link, but ideally, you should spread it around through social media and any other avenues to get clicks to increase the chances of getting noticed! Thanks to my colleague @Moketronics for this idea.
6) Know Whoâ€™s Who in the Industry
(Picture: Dana Lookadoo/Flickr CC BY)
If youâ€™re reading the Moz blog, youâ€™re off to a good start. Dive into the industry and get to know its leaders like Rand Fishkin, Eric Enge, Danny Sullivan, Barry Schwartz, Matt Cutts, etc. Donâ€™t name drop, but do reference specific content and current news. Better yet, engage these people in conversation; you'd be surprised by how accessible they are. In late 2013, my colleague @christykunjumon interviewed Rand Fishkin for our blog. Doing something like this is sure to get you noticed by an inbound marketing agency.
7) Get Your Certifications
Itâ€™s true; you donâ€™t typically need any formal education to work in the internet marketing industry. I can in fact say, with confidence, that I have barely applied my university education to my job now. I think we learned Boolean operators once in the library. Anyhow, back to this very important point.
There are self-study certifications you can take online that will earn you major credibility in our industry. For starters, there's Google Exams, Distilled U and HubSpot Academy. Here are some specific exams, just to name a few:
- Google Fundamentals
- Google Display
- Google Search
- Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ)
- HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification
If you get these, even just Google Fundamentals (mention it in your cover letter), it shows your enthusiasm and willingness to learn. Itâ€™s a major leg-up!
8) Publish a Book
Do you blog? You do! Then why not publish a book on Amazon? Oh you donâ€™t blog, eh? Well hereâ€™s another great reason to! If you can curate roughly 30 focused, evergreen articles (topics that donâ€™t easily go out of date), you've got enough content to independently publish a book on Amazon. Think about it. Your employer has just received 50 resumes and she printed out 10 of them. Donâ€™t you think sheâ€™s going to set aside the person who has published a book?
Thereâ€™s still work involved here, you've got to think of a killer title and create an awesome cover design. Once it meets your standards, wrap it up with a unique introduction that ties the book together and voila, another golden star for you!
Understand the Companyâ€™s Culture
Work to understand the companyâ€™s culture by following their social media, watching their videos or even try talking to someone who already works there. If you fail to grasp this, then these tactics may send the wrong signals and reduce your chances of getting the job.
Erica at Moz shared with me some interesting stories about Mozzers who were interviewed because they were active community members, they wrote blogs that appeared on Moz, they sent Star Wars cupcakes and resumes written on post-its delivered on pizza boxes. One person even created Facebook ads with Roger antennae photoshopped to their picture. These people understood the Moz culture and created a unique way to build affinity with the company.
Didn't get the job?
Are you kidding me? They went with that guy?? itâ€™s ok! There are a lot of companies who are willing to hold out for the perfect candidate. Many companies keep a â€œrosterâ€� of potential â€œcall-upsâ€� so donâ€™t be phased if you donâ€™t get the job right off the bat.
The world of inbound marketing is growing! There is room for you! See growth in search volume:
Even if you donâ€™t get a job the first time around, be persistent! I hope that I've inspired you or a least provided you with some actionable strategies. If you have any other ideas that may have helped you get an awesome job, please share your comments and let's make this post an even better resource! If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. Or if you know someone who's looking for a job, please share this blog with them. Cheers!
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