Getting A Job In PPC: Some Great Resources For Expanding Your Knowledge

The past two weeks we have discussed the process of landing a job in PPC. The recommendations, advice, and insight came from my experience over the course of 8 years building PPC teams.


If you would like to get caught up with this series, you can start with part 1, where we discuss how to get noticed by hiring managers. If you are short on time, I can give you the 1 sentence version: Have relevant experience and make sure it is easily found on the resume.


The second part talks about how to nail the interview process. Getting noticed is a good start, but the interview process is all about selling yourself as the solution to the employers problems.


These were the two vital components to getting hired at not just my agency, but for getting hired by any employer looking to hire brilliant search marketers.


Even with the growth of certified professionals, companies don’t see enough quality candidates coming through their pipeline to fill the roles they have available. This is because few candidates can demonstrate their ability to handle search programs or nail the interview process.


This post provides resources to anyone who is looking to land a job in search marketing, but may not feel confident that they have the expertise to get noticed in the first place. What follows is a selection of resources that you should consider as you refine your search for gainful employment.


Understanding When And Where To Use These Resources


Many of the resources that are listed in this post are filling in the details behind the “get noticed” post of this series. We mentioned that sharing experience in an easily scannable manner was vital to getting your resume noticed.


But what if you don’t have any experience to share?


We all start out with no experience. Every single person. Even the person hiring you.


10 years ago I had no experience managing PPC campaigns. I had read a few blog posts on the topic and watched my father advertise his business online, but my hands on experience was minimal.


For some crazy reason, I went into a meeting with a business owner and asked to take over their AdWords account. I was helping them make website updates at the time, so it sort of came out of left field when I asked about their Google advertising budget. I said I would manage their AdWords account for no charge, just to get the experience. I was focused on putting my learning into action, even if it meant working for free.


Surprisingly, they said yes.


My story is not unique: this is how many experts get their start in PPC.


For others, the experience may have come from on the job learning. They were fortunate enough to be hired with little experience and then given career growth opportunities.


From my experience, it is much easier to work for free to gain experience than it is to get an employer to train you.


How Do You Get Experience When You Don’t Have Any?


1) Volunteer Your Time


There are many non-profit organizations who would be happy to have your help with managing AdWords. Or maybe they don’t even know where to get started with AdWords in the first place. Introduce them to the Google Grants program, help them grow their reach, and be a hero in the process.


2) Get An Apprenticeship


Find an established member of the industry and volunteer to work for them for free to gain experience. They gain by having an eager pupil to help with repetitive tasks, and you gain by working with an expert. 10 years ago I was an apprentice. Now I take on apprentices to help others gain their own experience.


3) Help A Small Business Owner


There are millions of small businesses in the United States alone, and they all need your help. Don’t worry about compensation right away. You’re not doing this for the money right now. You are doing it for the ability to make much more money in the future.


There are many ways to gain experience, but these are the methods that I know will work if you give them the appropriate time and focus.


Augment Hands On Experience By Reading Blogs


While there are several good books available on AdWords, I supplement most of my learning with blogs. Which blogs are worth reading?


First of all, PPC Hero is a fantastic blog that I have been reading for years. By finding this blog, you have already taken a great first step to your knowledge.


Here are some others to check out as well:


  • Search Engine Land – They have great PPC content on a daily basis
  • Beyond the Paid – Industry news and advanced techniques from an industry expert
  • WordStream – Larry Kim and his team produce excellent content on both the WordStream blog and several industry publications


Beyond that, this resource from Unbounce is also worth noting, especially for the hilarious title.


Prove Your Knowledge Through Testing


Once you have gained relevant experience and augmented your knowledge through reading, I recommend getting a certification to prove you have reached a certain level of expertise.


The industry standard test that you should consider is the Google AdWords Individual Certification, which you can receive after taking free tests from Google.


If you have been working in PPC for a long time, you may be able to pass this test immediately without much studying at all.


For everyone else, I recommend that you do some studying beforehand. Here are some resources for studying, broken down by cost range:


Free Testing Resources


Google Partners – Google Partners has several exam study guides you can use to study for their exam. If you are cost conscious about passing the exam, this is where you should start.


PPC Course Free Trial – I created a 7-day course to help frame how Google AdWords works and the process behind getting certified.


$100 – $500 Range


Udemy – Access several AdWords courses at Udemy for a reasonable price. Pay as you go to learn all of AdWords or just specific lessons.


PPC Course – This is a course I created to teach AdWords that has helped hundreds get certified in Google AdWords. Why create a course when Google gives it away free? Because I believe that there are many business aspects of PPC that Google doesn’t always share in their courses. They focus on how to spend money, whereas PPC managers need to focus on spending profitably!


$500+ Range


In-Person Seminars – There are in-person Google AdWords seminars that take place throughout the United States and beyond. Most major metropolitan areas will have live teaching sessions at least 1-2 times a year. While I have not attended any of these sessions myself, I highly recommend the folks at DemandQuest as a well run training organization.


Certified Knowledge – PPC Expert Brad Geddes has been teaching AdWords for a long time, and we could all learn a lot from his vast experience and wisdom.


Market Motive –  Another resource for learning PPC can be found at Market Motive, a popular online training institute. You may recognize the instructors from Certified Knowledge as well.


Passing The AdWords Exam


The AdWords exams are fairly easy to pass if you have studied the materials. Without studying? You will have a hard time getting a passing grade.


The AdWords fundamentals exam gives you 120 minutes to pass the test of 100 questions. If you get 80% on the test, you have passed the first step.


The Search Advertising exam has similar rules, with 120 minutes to pass the exam of 98 questions. Pass with 80% on this exam and AdWords Fundamentals and you are Google Certified!


Now add that to your resume and you will stand out immediately.


Getting Noticed By Employers And Nailing The Interview Process


We started this post by talking about the end result we are looking for: to impress a potential employer enough to become their newest PPC hire.


By walking through these steps and putting this advice to good use, you will stand out in a crowd. Experience is an important piece of the equation, but not the only thing. Being easily findable and excelling in your interview is key to getting the job.


Questions about getting to the next level? Let me know in the comments.