How to Get a Job in SEM

December 19, 2018

There comes in a time in all of our lives where we find the need to switch careers, whether that be to another career within the same industry or to one in a total different industry. It can seem daunting for those who are switching to entirely different industries with ranges of questions that come up – what skills from my current job can I transfer to this new one? What new skills would I need to learn and how long would that take? What would I need to be on my resume to for a prospective employer to consider my job application?

For those of you looking to switch careers to one in search engine marketing, we’ll give you tips to help you land that SEM job you’re looking for. If you do not have any experience in SEM, I’ve listed some recommendations to give you a jump start. If you do have some experience in SEM, I have tips for you too, to help you stand out from the crowd.


Familiarize Yourself with  Job Requirements for SEM Roles

Research the specifications and requirements for various SEM jobs, whether that be a paid search coordinator or an SEM associate role. What overlapping job requirements do these roles have? What can you use from your work experience for these roles? What new skills will you need to learn and develop?

If you are looking for an SEM internship or another entry-level SEM role, having data analysis skills and/or digital media experience will strengthen your resume and show that you have easily transferable talents that can be applied to analyzing and optimizing paid search campaigns.

Depending on your experience level we also have some additional recommendations here.

Take Online Courses Needed to Learn SEM Skills

There are many free courses on Google Academy, as well as affordable options on Udemy and General Assembly that will help you learn the basics of SEM and more complex SEM concepts. These courses usually take several weeks to complete but can be completed at your own pace. As I mentioned, courses on Google Academy are free so there is no reason not to take them and courses on other tutorial sites can range from as low as $9.99 for a single course.

Spend some time researching online academies, their course offerings and their student reviews and ratings. Often times those with a large quantity of student ratings along with high reviews are tailored for a general audience and can be easier to understand and to learn at your own pace.


Get Google Academy for Ads Certification for Google Ads

A majority of paid search campaigns are run on Google Ads so employers want to see proof of your Google Ads knowledge and proficiency. Once you’ve taken online SEM courses you can test your knowledge through the Google Academy for Ads Google Ads exam. This exam is free to take, consists of 100 questions and has a time limit of two hours to take. Don’t worry if you don’t pass the exam the first time – you can take it as many times as you need to pass though you must wait at least 24 hours to re-take the exam.

Ultimately if you are serious about starting a career in SEM you should have Google Ads certification (as well as other Certifications like Video, Mobile, Analytics etc.) because you will most likely be applying alongside other people who will already have these certifications. If they don’t, you’ll be the one who stands out.


Learn How to Build an Impressive Resume for SEM Job Roles

Now that you have Google Ads certification to place on your resume, employers want to see that you have the skills and/or experience to help run a paid search account.

Your resume details will depend on how much digital marketing background you have and how much of your previous job experience is transferable to the job requirements of a paid search marketer. Whether or not you have previous digital marketing experience, the key point of writing an impressive resume for any SEM job is to clearly demonstrate that you have the ability, dedication and attitude that hiring managers are looking for in an ideal SEM candidate.

Follow my tips to help you write a resume that will impress potential employers for the SEM role you want.


Expand Your Network of Digital Marketers

Aside from having the certification to put on your resume, employers want to know whether you truly understand the concepts and strategies of paid search marketing and whether you can put your knowledge to practice.

You might be wondering, How can I gain more SEM knowledge if I’m still trying to get the SEM job I want? One of the best ways to expand your knowledge of paid search, beyond online training courses and actually having an SEM job, is to speak to those who already have the experience! There are many free networking events you can attend where you can connect with digital marketers across industries, gain insight on what it’s like to work in paid search and learn more about insights and challenges they face in their roles. You can find details of these events on sites such as Eventbrite, Linkedin and Facebook.

If you don’t have the flexibility and time to attend networking events, there is plenty of industry content for you to familiarize yourself with:

Q&A forums are great options to find common questions on settings up and running paid search campaigns.

Google Ads has a Support Center where you can find a community forum that allows you to post questions for other users to answer.

Follow Industry leaders and their blogs for insights into their work and how they use SEM to make their clients or businesses successful. Blogs like ours are a good place to start.

Industry journals have a lot of great content. If you aren’t already subscribed to newsletters from sites like Search Engine Journal or Search Engine Land do it now.


Go Out and Get Started on Your SEM Career!

Dont wait! Get started today. Now that you have tips and pointers on going into the paid search industry, we highly encourage you to explore our various SEM blogs and to get started with some free online courses from Google Academy. Once you’ve gone through the training courses, be sure to get Google Ads certification and expand your knowledge of SEM through networking events that you’ll find on social networking sites and online community forums. Follow our tips on writing a great resume and best of luck on the start of your new career!