This post is the first part of a series of posts on how to get hired for a job in PPC and draws on my experience as an agency owner and educator. 

Image of an interview

Getting a job managing PPC accounts, especially your first job, can be a mystifying experience. Whether you want to work for an agency, go in-house, or even start your own freelance business, there are a lot of questions that come from the hiring process.

Do you have the right level of experience? Do certifications matter? Are there any jobs out there? What should your salary be?

Today I want to share advice for landing your dream job in PPC. This advice is drawn from 10 years as an agency owner and PPC team leader, as well as 5 years as a digital marketing educator. This is the advice I have given to help helped hundreds of people land jobs in digital marketing.

Here are 3 steps to getting hired in PPC!

Step 1: Be Findable

It is amazing how many people apply for jobs in search marketing, yet their resume doesn’t include a single keyword to clue hiring managers into their experience. When a hiring manager receives 100+ resumes for an open position, over half of the resumes may be removed from consideration after a simple scan for keywords relevant to the job posting.

Does your work experience list Google AdWords anywhere? What about the word PPC? What about search? AdWords Certified? If the hiring manager can’t find these words on your resume, you have about a 10% chance of making it through to the next step of the hiring process.

Don’t get filtered out of the process prematurely!

Here’s a simple trick that you can do right away: Go to your public LinkedIn profile and hit “ctrl + f.” Enter the phrase “adwords” or “ppc” to see how often these words appear in your profile. If they don’t show up at all, you have some work to do.

A search for “adwords” in my LinkedIn profile

Also, make sure that you have the proper skills listed on your profile and they are emphasized correctly.

Make sure to list skills

If you want a job in PPC, at a minimum you should add the following skills:

  • SEM
  • PPC
  • Google AdWords
  • Online Advertising

Lastly, ask people to endorse you for these skills. When I was first getting started with PPC, I had to BEG people for endorsements. Once a certain saturation point was reached, endorsements came easily and naturally.

What if you have little experience in PPC?

If you are concerned that you do not have enough experience to list on your resume, then you should spend your time generating experience. This may mean working for free or below market rates to get necessary experience. That is what I had to do when I was getting started in the industry.

My first PPC Consulting gig I did for free. I was a web designer and offered to help a client manage their AdWords presence. Using the success taking their $500 budget to $10,000 a month in spend, I was able to find other clients. Paying clients this time. Before long a business was born.

There are millions of small businesses who could use your help. There are also millions of charities. All of them would appreciate your hard work and attention to detail. Do good for them and do good for your career.

Step 2: Be Empathetic

I am going to let you in on a little secret. Hiring managers are busy. Busier than you would ever believe. That is the precise reason why they are hiring.

But let’s think about it for a minute from their perspective. They are working at a company and things are going well. So well that the company is making money, enough money to hire more people to help get the job done. This is awesome!

What you may not realize is that this person was probably overworked for several months before they even approached their company about creating a new position.

They were probably denied help the first time.

They may have waited 6 months to get a job requisition approved. And it may have taken another 2 months for HR to post to the website.

During this time, their workload has increased even more. So much that every working hour is dedicated to the work that needs to get done.

Relief comes in the form of 100 resumes plopped down on their desk that must be sifted through to find the perfect candidate to hire. With luck, they may be able to hire someone 12 months after they first realized they were overworked.

The first step? Eliminate over half of the resumes from consideration by doing a simple keyword search. If the resume doesn’t say AdWords, PPC or certified on it, it doesn’t make it to the next round. Anything they can do in order to whittle down the resume pile to the best candidates.

Now imagine you are in that position… would you be interviewing all of the resumes you receive, or would you focus on picking the one person who can help you?

Hiring managers are not in an easy position, and you should empathize with their struggle. Understand their limited time and focus on how you can make their lives easier.

How will your resume help them?

How will it make their job easier?

How will you make them money? Jobs are not a charity. The position you are applying for was created with the sole purpose of making more profit for the company (either by growing and protecting revenues or by maximizing profit by running an efficient operation).

If you want to get hired, you need to be irresistible.

Step 3: Be Irresistible

Let’s go back to the resume for a minute. When you wrote your resume, who were you writing it for?

Most likely yourself.

You wanted to brag about all of the good things that you have done and make sure that you packed your resume with as much goodness as Microsoft Word allows on a page.

This would be a great approach if you were hiring yourself. But you are not hiring yourself.

It’s time to take a lesson from Marketing 101: features vs. benefits. Good marketing relays the benefits a user will receive instead of listing the available features.

Instead of emphasizing all of your skills (features), try to build a narrative of how these skills will benefit another organization.

How will you make their lives easier by being hired? What can you provide to them that makes you irresistible as a candidate?

Think long about the benefits you can bring to an organization by being hired, and emphasize them throughout the application process.

Getting noticed is the first step to landing your dream job

This is the first post in our series about landing a job in PPC. By following these simple rules, you can significantly increase your chance of an in-person interview.

Next week we will discuss how to nail the interview process, both at agencies and for in-house positions.