Our theme for February is all about preparing yourself for jobs that may not even exist yet. With some career choices, going to University to study your chosen subject may not even be an option for another few years.
In order to find out the best way to prepare for the future job market, icould met up with David Towers who works in the relatively new field of search engine marketing at MEC.
What do you think are the key requirements to be successful in search engine marketing?
Ideally you’ll be the sort of person who is inquisitive and continually wants to learn. Search engines regularly change the way in which search results are displayed and as time moves on users are interact differently with search engines. Search engine marketing is definitely not an industry that stands still, it is always moving and if you stop learning you’ll get left behind!
What do you need to study to work in search engine marketing?
People working within search engine marketing come from a mix of different backgrounds so there is not one clear way to become a Paid Search specialist or a Search Engine Optimisation specialist. Some people in the industry have University degrees in marketing, others do not. Some have worked in traditional marketing and then moved into internet marketing, others have not. The main points that people typically have in common is a general interest in technology, the internet and more specifically an interest in how search engines work!
How did you become an SEO Director?
1. I had an interest in building websites from an early age
I had an interest in technology from an early age and put my first website online in 2000. I always liked the idea of people being able to find my website when searching for it on a search engine but never really thought I’d end up working in search engine optimisation.
2. I studied International Business at University and particularly enjoyed the online marketing lectures
I took History, Geography, Maths and Business Studies at college and studied International Business at University. At University I quickly understood that the chances of finding a job at once I finished my degree would be significantly increased if I was able to do an internship. When you’re doing a placement you won’t necessarily earn much money (if any), but it will really help youget a job once you finish your degree.
3. I did an internship in online marketing and particularly enjoyed search engine marketing
I chose to do a placement in online marketing through STEP during my summer holidays. This placement really helped me understand what it was like to work within an office environmentand allowed me to get some hands-on experience in search engine marketing. I enjoyed the placement so much that I really wanted to learn more about search engine marketing. In my spare time at Uni I built a number of websites and started to optimise these to get them ranking in the search engines. There is a lot of websites explaining how to optimise so it was just a matter of trying it outand seeing what worked.
4. I got a job in search engine marketing and worked my way up!
Once I graduated from University I got a job in online marketing at Schneider Electric. After a while, I thought I’d find it more interesting to work on a number of different projects at the same time so I moved to a media agency where I could do that. I joined MEC as the SEO Manager and through winning new business was able to grow the SEO department from just myself to over 15 of us now!
What personal influences helped you to get to where you are now?
There is a verse in the bible which says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart“. This has been something which pushes me to do the best I can in whatever I do!