I just landed a great SEO job - Director of SEO for business.com. To say the least, I'm very excited, but even more excited to miss the cold winter of St. Louis! I've been with Enterprise Rent-A-Car for almost 9 years, and honestly, was a bit rusty at the job search - considering I had been tapped for past few positions I've had my resume was out of date. So, here are just a few lessons learned:
- Contacts are key. We all know this, but wow, I could not believe how true it is. Honestly, I didn't shop me resume much (I'm lazy). I applied at four places found on monster and landed a couple of interviews. Most were for jobs just not paying enough. How contacts are key: I basically landed this job in a bar! I met Mike Davis from business.com at SES San Jose and he's from St. Louis (but lives in LA). When he was in town we met for drinks and he said they were hiring, we chatted, then he said I think I just interviewed you. And the rest is history! They flew me out, I fell in love with the area, interviewed and I had an offer right away. Wouldn't have happened if I hadn't met Mike. And, I wouldn't have met Mike if it wasn't for the infamous networker, Joe Morin.
- Recruiters are awesome! Recruiters are interesting - there's good ones and bad ones, but I loved them all because they made the job search easy!! My favorite recruiter was Harry Joiner, an executive management recruiter. He's good about being up front with the company and saying look, "it's going to cost you $X just to talk to her." That sets the stage and the expectations of what you're going to make, and saves time and money for both the employer and the person being interviewed. Harry also sent tons of information about the company to help me prep, I was quite busy at the time so this was a lifesaver. Another recruiter gave me information on the personalities I'd be dealing with and what the companies is truly looking for, which elements about my background they particularly liked so that I could be sure to highlight them during the interview.
- Be clear about money. It's a touchy subject and the experts say to talk about it later, but if you want top dollar, you don't want to waste your time with someone that can't afford you (and honestly, most companies can't afford top dollar - or at least prefer not to pay it) so it saves everyone in the end. So, tap into your creative thinking to find the right way to bring this up (this is where recruiters are very useful). One interview I had was out of state, I took a valuable day off work, the offer came in far less than I was worth. When it came down to money, they said they couldn't budge -- a sore subject as your vacation days start to dwindle. I had to decline and it was lesson learned: be clear about money before you take a day off work to fly out for an interview. And, that lesson came in handy two weeks later... I was going to bust my butt in LA, it required a red-eye flight home so that I could make an 8am conference call that I needed to be on with my current employer - I may be looking... but I'm still dedicated ;). I ended up emailing the recruiter and we were able to identify up front that I was out of their budget.
- If it's an in-house job, flaunt your political savvy. If you're thinking about going in-house, you need to have political savvy to handle what I call "the human side of SEO, getting what you need to be done, done." If you have it, flaunt it. It's your best asset. Your great talent will get you nowhere if you can't get people on the same page for implementation. This is one of the things companies liked - I've learned how to navigate the politics. When starting my job search I feared companies would prefer agency experience, surprisingly that wasn't the case with the companies I interviewed. They loved the idea that I was an experienced in-house SEO and knew how to get things done.
Those were the biggest lessons learned. Have any to add to the list??