How to Land an SEO Job with No Experience (and Excel!)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Ever wish your SEO skills could boost your own visibility in the job market?

Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. But with SEO being $70 billion dollar industry, it’s clear there’s a lot of competition – and opportunity – in the field.

You might struggle to break into such a hot industry at the entry level.

Don’t panic! Here’s how to land an SEO job with no experience (and excel at it).

Reach for The…What?

Are you in the go-team huddle? Or are you the roving masterless samurai of the SEO world?

SEO knowledge enables a number of career paths. Some job hunters will want to sign up with the giants of SEO. Others will prefer smaller SEO companies with a limited pool of clients.

Others still will go freelance, shopping out their skills while acting as their own boss.

You’ll need to know yourself to know which path suits you. But each will require a different approach to finding entry-level SEO jobs, so it’s helpful to know exactly what you’re aiming for. 

Know Thyself

Before you start crafting your resume and even your portfolio, it can help to take stock of your experience.

Take the time to put together a list of your competencies. Break them down by topics, such as social media, blogging, or link-building. You can then push a bit further to figure out the niches you have the best handle on.

These niches will become the closest thing you have to a USP. You’ll likely still lack advanced knowledge when you’re starting out.

But if you can claim even intermediary knowledge on a few key fields, you separate yourself from the sea of SEO-qualified candidates out there.

In any industry, candidate experience forms a pyramid. The more experience required, the fewer the candidates available.

Anything you can do to position yourself at the next step up the pyramid will narrow the field in your favor.

The Story of You

With your competencies and skills established, you’re ready to start putting them together into something you can send out.

Your resume will be the backbone of your application tools. It might seem a little thin at first, but you can jazz it up by going into greater detail about your skills.

When starting out, an online portfolio can cover for a thin resume. With a portfolio, you can show off what you know about SEO – proving to would-be employers that you have the skills you say you have.

If you’re going freelance, the focus on your portfolio increases. Your resume is more likely to be a patchwork of different clients unknown to your current employer, so your portfolio will be the thing to establish your credentials.

In all cases, you need to consider every facet of what your portfolio and resume say about you. Like good SEO, a resume and portfolio should get you noticed.

Interview with a Candidate

Landing your dream job will always demand skills beyond your core competency. Your interview skills are the perfect example of that.

Heck, for some people, interview technique is more important – we all know that person who seems to land a job with none of the skills!

We’re not advocating being that person, but it goes to show the raw power of good interview technique.

There’s a wealth of knowledge online that can help you prepare for an interview. Taking the time to practice with another person can also up your interview game.

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

It may sound ridiculous, but sometimes the barrier to getting a job is a lack of willingness to apply for it.

Would-be job hunters talk themselves out of job applications all the time. They worry about a lack of experience or let fear get in the way.

The truth is, there’s no fail-state involved in a job application. Unless you’re struggling to keep a roof over your head, that is – then it might not be the best time to switch career.

Otherwise, a simple rejection means nothing. It’s not an indictment on your skills, it only means you weren’t the right match for that company in that particular scenario. But there will be a company out there for you, if only you keep applying.

Forget the fear of rejection and accept that landing that first job is a numbers game. The more applications you send, the better your chances of landing a job. 

Don’t Drain Your Brain

Let’s stray into the touchy-feely for a moment.

Job searching is a trigger for stress. Either you’re jobless or you’re coming home from your day job to spend hours trawling for new work.

The anxiety and fear of the unknown can add up. Before you know it, you’ve blunted your edge – and damaged your chances of landing the job when you find it.

Take care of yourself when you’re on the hunt. Get plenty of sleep and eat well. Take ample breaks from your search.

If you feel drained, consider some nutrient supplements to keep your brain firing on all cylinders. Read more now if you’re struggling to maintain your job search focus.

Fresh from the Grapevine

Starting your search engine optimization career can take a while. In that time, SEO will continue to evolve.

A single Google update to its algorithms can throw the SEO game into disarray. Miss an update like that, and you’re stuck trying to sell outdated knowledge. Your potential employer will sniff that out and reject you.

You need to have a passion for SEO to pursue it as a career. You’ll need to learn and accept that yesterday’s knowledge won’t always be enough.

The ability to grow your knowledge is one of the key soft skills an SEO expert needs, so it’s best to get in the habit early.

Excelling In Your SEO Job

Once you’ve landed your SEO job, you need to make it count. If you’re still new to the game, the onus is on you to learn all you can to improve your skills and your utility to your new employer.

Continued development will be the path to new and better opportunities.

Ready to dig into some advanced knowledge to wow your employer? Take a look at our advanced SEO off page techniques.