Today is the first day since the summer of 1990 that I’ve woken up without a job.
It’s true: Due to a reorganization at Marchex, my position was eliminated. Yesterday was my last day. It was a great 18 months, and I was fortunate to work with some of the smartest people I’ve ever met. To compare where my career was 18 months ago to where it is now … it boggles the mind. Night and day. I’ve been blessed.
Perhaps someday down the road I’ll look back in more depth, but this post is about looking forward (and helping another search marketer with a career question).
That’s the million dollar question. Should I start my own SEO consulting business? Should I go to work for another search marketing company? Should I apply to be the overnight janitor at Pixar? Should I take some time off? I’ve had very close, trusted friends suggesting all of those things to me this week. (Except the Pixar one; that was all my idea.)
Here’s What I Know
I’m going to take a couple weeks before making any decisions. I have some personal travel coming up soon and will be away from a computer for about a week. (Quelle horreur!) Might as well use that down time wisely.
I’m open to job offers from high-quality search marketing agencies or search-related companies. I love SEO, social marketing, local search, blog consulting, writing, training, and things like that. I’ve successfully managed client accounts and employees. I’m not a PPC guy, so count me out if that’s what you need. If you have a job that involves sales, I’m not your guy. (I’m a terrible sales person.) Also, and this is really important, if your job requires me to move the family, I’m not your guy. (Relocation is not an option, sorry.) If you’re a great company with an opening that might fit, send me an email.
I’m open to opportunities to do some freelance SEO consulting/training. Need some help via email or the phone? Need a site review, or some questions answered? Want me to come visit and train you and/or your team? Get in touch.
I’m open to accepting advertising on this blog. A guy’s gotta pay the bills while figuring out what’s next, and it would be pretty easy to change out those 125×125 speaking gig graphics on the right to advertisements. Your ad link will be no-followed. It will also be seen about 20,000 times per month – that’s my average pageviews since the start of 2008. Email me for rates. (One more change: When I get back online after this little break, I’m going to take down the registration wall on this blog and have open comments.)
If you have something to say or share that doesn’t involve job or consulting opportunities, but just want to offer some advice or words of wisdom, go ahead and hit one of those links above and get in touch. I’d love to hear from you! Meanwhile, if I’m going to ask for SEO Career Advice, I should be kind enough to share some, too, don’t you think?
From the SBS Mailbag
Ironically, the SBS Mailbag this week included a note from Josh, who’s having some career issues of his own:
I am fairly new to the industry. I have attended an SES and an e-Metrics. I keep up with about 60 SEM/online marketing blogs and I just recently began my own blog. Recently I interviewed for a search account manager at [company name redacted] and am interviewing this week with [company name redacted]. [The first company] felt that I was too inexperienced for the position, but gave me a whole new perspective on interview processes. Any advice you have for me would be much appreciated.
Josh, here are some thoughts based on my experience:
1.) Keep blogging. Regularly. Blogs are the new resumés. It’s an ongoing record of who you are and what you know. Blogging also makes you smarter, because it forces you to clarify and explain strategies and tactics that you use. Make sure you’re reading Darren Rowse, Brian Clark, and Dosh Dosh to learn to be a better blogger, and a better blog marketer. Last year’s SEMMY Blogging nominees list is also great reading.
2.) Speaking of reading, do it. A lot. I think you have to spend at least an hour a day following the industry’s trusted writers. And don’t just read; test the strategies and tactics you read about. Draw your own conclusions.
3.) Network with your peers via their blogs. Dropping me an email was a great start. If you’re not doing this already, start joining the conversations on other search marketing blogs. Get your name out there. Include your URL. As people read intelligent comments from you, you’ll get a trickle of click-thrus to your blog. Make it easy for them to find your best content and subscribe to your feed.
4.) Create “flagship” content on your blog. You’ll want to develop great content that will define you and your blog. Chris Garrett wrote about this a while back, and it still stands. In the summer of 2006, I wrote the Local Search Marketing Guide, emailed some new contacts about it, and Rand wrote about it on SEOmoz. (Others followed suit.) This blog has been on the map ever since.
5.) Continue to attend search marketing conferences when possible. Do it for the networking and learning. Whether it’s SBMU, SMX, SES, Pubcon or something else, conferences are another great way to network with your peers. Introduce yourself to people. Don’t be shy.
6.) Get on Twitter, Sphinn, StumbleUpon, Facebook, etc. More great ways to meet and chat with your peers.
7.) Get active on a marketing/search forum. More networking & learning. It’ll take time to develop, but the best job strategy I can think of is to have a network of peers/friends who want to help you along in your career by pointing you toward open positions, by giving you recommendations on Linked In or elsewhere, and so forth. Todd Malicoat kicked me into gear two years ago on the importance of networking, and trust me — this week was much easier thanks to great industry friends.
8.) Keep interviewing. You hinted at this in your question, and it’s true: the more you interview, the better you get at interviewing.
9.) Volunteer to help a local non-profit or small business. It looks like you have a job already, so I’ll put it at the end of the list. But if I were new to the industry and needed some work to put on my resumé, I’d take this route. There’s no better teacher than experience, and you have to get experience somehow.
Josh, I hope this helps. Readers, what advice would you share with Josh?
(Josh asked me not to share his last name. And because he’s looking for work, I won’t reveal his identity by linking to his blog.)