The ability to run effective PPC campaigns is among the hottest skills that got people hired last year and every day more companies discover the importance of being found in the search results.

Agencies around the world are constantly on the lookout for qualified individuals to manage the stream of new clients and an increasing number of companies are even able to justify an in-house PPC position.

The need for people with PPC skills will only increase so it’s important for recruiters to know what to look for in a candidate. In my opinion, though, many PPC job postings are lacking in one way or another.

How To Write A PPC Specialist Job Description

In this article, I will explain what skills are important for someone who should fill a position in PPC. I will describe some of the most important skills to look for and point out items to consider before you write your next PPC job posting.

While this post won’t be a finished template for PPC job postings, it will hopefully help you make a more informed and realistic job posting.

1) Roles And Responsibilities

Most often, the problem is postings with very vague descriptions. PPC is a lot of things so you have to describe exactly what type of paid search for which you are hiring.

AdWords, Bing, Facebook or…? Pay Per Click is not just AdWords. There are many PPC platforms and you have to specify what area the job is focused. Do you need someone who specializes in AdWords or Facebook or someone with experience in several platforms? Maybe there’s an important PPC platform specific to your industry or country.

In-house or agency? Some people prefer the variation from working with different clients and getting to know many different industries. For these people, a job at an agency is perfect. Others prefer to focus 100% on a single project and are better suited for a position in-house.

The requirements for someone working at an agency or in-house are also different. For a position at an agency, you’ll need someone who not only does good work but also gives the client a good experience (and these two things are not always the same!). An agency is dependent on customer retention and only works if the clients feel they are treated well. Sometimes, the actual results are not the most important element.

For an in-house position, you might put more emphasis on getting someone with the right technical skills instead of someone delivering the best possible customer service.

Solo or team? In the same vain, you should specify which role the person is going to have. For an in-house position, there’s a big difference between being the only SEM related person in the company and being part of a big SEM department with several other PPC specialists.

2) Skills

Here are the skills I consider most important when working in PPC. The skills needed for your exact opening will of course vary.

Excellence in written and verbal communication: Good writing skills allow you to communicate your message with clarity. This is particularly important when working at an agency where much of the contact with clients is through e-mail. You must be able to express yourself well, whether it’s writing a monthly report, persuading possible clients with a presentation or just being able to calmly explain to a client certain tactics don’t work.

A strong desire to learn and stay updated: PPC is in a constant state of flux and you’ll have to keep up with news on a daily basis (official statements from Google, Bing, Facebook etc. about new best practices and new products and features). It’s also a good idea to follow industry leaders on blogs and social media. The willingness to stay updated is without a doubt one of the most important qualities in a PPC specialist.

Good English skills: For people outside America and UK (like myself) it’s really a must to possess good reading skills. If you don’t have a good grasp of the English language, it might be difficult to use software/tools. And most importantly, news and articles about search and PPC are most often written in English.

Strong analytical skills (including experience with Analytics tools): You’ll need someone who likes to sift through data in order to analyze and identify trends. Google Analytics is the industry standard when it comes to web analytics tools and ideally you’ll want someone with knowledge of things like how to set up ecommerce tracking, event tracking, and how to configure the account.

Intermediate to advanced Excel skills: The ability to slice and dice your raw data from AdWords, Analytics, or other sources are of great importance. If you never use Excel, you will be hindered in a lot of ways. Excel is not only used for analyzing data but also for creating new campaigns in bulk (especially when working with larger accounts). What’s important is not the ability to recall the exact syntax of every Excel formula, but knowing how it’s possible to manipulate large amounts of data even if you have to look up which formulas to use.

Basic understanding of HTML, XML, and JavaScript: You don’t have to be a full-fledged programmer to do PPC, but basic knowledge of HTML and JavaScript are very helpful. You need to have a basic understanding of the building blocks of the web. Even though you rarely need to write anything from scratch, you should be able to view the source code of a website and know where to put the required tracking scripts and so on.

Experience with content management systems: It’s certainly a plus if the individual has experience with different content management systems. This will make sure the person can jump in and assist in setting up tracking and making minor changes on different websites no matter which CMS is used. For an in-house position, you might want someone with at least some experience with the CMS your company uses.

Familiar with SEO and CRO best practices: You’ll have a hard time finding someone who’s good at PPC but knows nothing about search engine optimization (SEO) and conversion rate optimization (CRO) as these topics are very much related. Knowledge of SEO and CRO will help when creating landing pages that convert and also rank well. Better landing pages result in better ROI for the ads.

3) Be Realistic About Your Needs

Terms like ‘expert’ and ‘experienced’ are often used in job descriptions. I think many companies believe they have to get the best people out there and write the posting with this in mind. However, in the end they either can’t or won’t match the salary a true expert would ask for. Consider whether you really need one of the top specialists in the industry or if you can make do with someone with a little less experience. Remember that PPC is a skill in high demand and the best individuals are probably approached by recruiters on a monthly basis.

I also see many job postings searching for someone who’s an expert in everything from AdWords and Facebook to CRO, SEO, and content marketing. Just yesterday I saw a posting looking for someone who “masters all areas of Google AdWords and SEO“. I don’t believe you’ll ever find a person like that. I agree with this quote by Andrew Wulf from The Codist:

There is no such person. You can master one and be mediocre in the others; you can master one and then move on to another and forget a lot of the prior; you can simply fool enough people into thinking you can do it and hope you can figure it out just in time.

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ve found this article useful, and I’d really like to hear your experience with writing PPC job postings – either for your own agency or for clients. Please share your thoughts and comments with us below!