4 Career Tips for Entry Level SEO: Think Like a Director

An open letter to SEO analysts, associates, interns, or junior SEO specialists who want to advance in their careers right now.

These 4 easy tips will give you a mindset and attitude that will change how your supervisors thinks about you…regardless of your skill level and experience. If you are an entry-level SEO, you aren’t expected to have experience yet.

Here’s what your supervisor wants to see – Potential! But what does that look like? As an SEO Director, here are the things I look for…

1. Come in like you own the place.

Take the mindset that you run the accounts. This may sound like a run of the mill visualization technique. But they work, and especially if you take the right approach. An active approach.

Because when you start to think like an SEO manager or SEO director, your results will follow. And this type of stuff gets noticed by your supervisor – mainly because it removes some of their burden. It naturally puts you in their mind into the next higher role.

2. Take an SEO Management Overview

If your organization is using Basecamp or another task management software, you can often see all the projects, what phase or step they are at, who it is assigned to, and what the due date is.

Every morning, assess where we are with each client. Is anything missing from task lists? Is anything running behind? What is coming up next? If you own or run something, you’ll take this point of view. If you run the show, it will bother you if you haven’t checked in on each SEO account’s progress.

Here’s what to do if you see a project falling behind. You might be thinking, “I don’t want to overstep my bounds” and act as if I’m the boss. But the best bosses try to help their staff, not boss them around. Don’t go over to the person who is behind and tell them, “Hey you’re late on this task.” Rather go to your supervisor and say, “Hey, I noticed this task is behind. Is there anything I can do to help?” Even better, be specific and offer to help whoever is late on the task, “Is there anything I can do to help Joe with task XYZ?”

3. Q.A. Your Own Work…Please!

Checking your own work is a must, just to maintain your current position.

Some work looks like it was finished in a rush to get out the door. This is not the impression you want to make on your boss. This may not always be the case. Sometimes you may not understand the assignment, or get confused in getting code to work, or simply have a different point of view on something.

But sometimes there are typos, data from the previous month, or partially unfinished assignments in a deliverable. These are the kind errors that say, “I don’t care”. This may not be true, you may totally care, but simply overlooked something. Unfortunately, it looks like you didn’t read your own work. Your supervisor is ready to make some conclusions and send it out to the client – not proofread or redo the work for you, then send it out.

Again, approach each assignment like you are in charge. Once done, take a step back and look it over. Make sure it is ready for the client to read it. Does it all make sense? Even better, does it make a point? What will the client think about it?

4. Do Your Own SEO Training

Learning SEO on your own turns you into a more valuable asset. SEO directors love it when you take initiative. Not everyone does, and it flags you as someone to promote. With self training you can practically qualify yourself for the next pay level or position. This will drastically shorten the time you spend at your current level.

If you want to be an SEO expert, nothing is stopping you. Start reading through the learning center on Moz, and keep up with SEO news updates from Search Engine Land and/or Search Engine Watch. Take it a step further and buy a domain name, hosting and set up a personal website to practice what you learn. This gives you some real experience to go along with the education.

In combination these tips will keep you pointed in the right direction to a growing SEO career.

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