A Must-Read Story for Future SEO Professionals!

The image retrieved from northnetmedia.com

One day, a lady whispered to us with her vast knowledge:

“When someone gives you an opportunity to say or ask something, take this advantage and step forward!”.

And she continues with her attention catcher tone of voice:

“This is a great way to make a connection with people and broaden your network!”.

This moment changed my perspective on this Seminar Series class that I will attend every week this semester. The lady who created this “Aha! Moment” on me was our new professor Michelle Kanfer at George Brown College.

Our seminar series’s first guest speakers were three brilliant alumni who graduated a couple of years ago from the same program as me, which is the Strategic Relationship Marketing Program. I treated this seminar as a chance to clarify my blur about my future since I had many questions in my mind about what will happen after I graduate. Due to our similar career interest, I will share Natasha’s story and the reflections of her story on me.

What is she doing now?

Natasha Burtenshaw-deVries has been working for six months at an agency as an SEO strategist, which is the position that I want to continue in my career. One of the good sides of her job is that it is a permanently remote job. She deals with all aspects of SEO, such as analytics, reporting, on-page optimization, content writing, link building…etc. Thanks to my SEO interest, I have already known all these terms as I’ve completed an SEO training program during my holiday break. Reasonably, her agency works mostly with e-commerce companies as well as software companies. The common point of their clients is that they are pretty ‘digital-first’ companies.

What was she doing before her current job?

I know that before getting this kind of position (SEO specialist), I must start from anywhere related to my career goal. Natasha considers her previous agency as a more traditional marketing agency. If you are curious about what she was doing before starting her professional digital marketing journey, I will address you with this quote:

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”.

Yes, she was already playing around with the digital marketing tools for some personal reasons before turning her professional career into the digital marketing area. This interest pushed her to work full-time in the marketing field. When I check my excitement about my program, I consider myself lucky. Even though I sometimes feel tired because of many assignments, my excitement for marketing still increases when I apply what I learned in real life. I hope this passion never ends…

The image retrieved from steelcase.com

How is Covid going on?

I can hear you asking if I will talk about the effects of the Covid-19 on her business life. Probably, Covid is going to be the top topic of our generation in the future. Like everyone else, Natasha’s life has also been affected by Covid-19.

She emphasized that the communication style has shifted from verbal to written communication since everybody is working virtually. I’ve heard before that the widely used texting application is Slack among marketers, and Natasha has verified this information. However, I haven’t used Slack too much yet. Maybe I need to use it more nowadays :)

What is the challenge of SEO?

According to her experience, the owners of small businesses generally want to have quick results. They don’t want to wait until SEO works. Small business clients are more interested in the paid search — not SEO! They want to spend money to just keep their business alive, and they don’t prefer to invest in their business’s future. It seems that this point of view of the small companies has the potential to be a challenge for me as I want to pursue my career path to SEO.

My Question about Co-op :)

Finally, my lovely part came up: “What are your questions?” :)

My question was regarding her Co-op experience since I am concerned about finding a good place to complete my Co-op term. Her first reaction was this:

“Don’t just go for the fancy one! Don’t just focus on the big agencies!”

She sounded like a person who really understands me and wants to help me.

Nathasha had her own web site and blog while she was looking for a Co-op position. Having her own website provided her with a significant advantage in the interviews. The interviewers were mostly interested in her blogging skills. They asked a lot of questions about it during the interview. She mentioned she worked for a home health care agency in Toronto during her co-op term. The fun fact is that she was the only one that applied for this position :) During this time, she was able to take a lot of responsibility, for example; managing their social media, blogging…etc. Because it was a small company, she was still doing some part-time jobs for them even 2.5 years later.

The image retrieved from theladders.com

Recommendations for entry-level marketers…

She highly recommended creating our own blog/website as our portfolio to show off our knowledge about digital tools or our creative and writing skills. Since so many people are applying to a role, it could be a nice way to stand out from the crowd. I actually had a doubt about what I should share in my personal blog or website. Natasha enlightened me by saying that we can share anything which tells who we are and what kind of work we can do. It could be an assignment or a journal as a portfolio of an entry-level blogger. After getting used to blogging, it is better to publish some actual content to show people that you really are capable of what they are looking for in the role.

What if I’m not creative!!!

There are also other suggestions for people who want to go more analytic side of marketing rather than the creative side.

“Have Google Analytics certificates and be familiar with the Google Data Studio.!”

She highlighted that getting comfortable with the writing and communication side of reporting is also very important to share useful insights. The expected skill from a marketing analyst is telling or showing a complicated idea or situation in a clear way that anybody can understand. I couldn’t have more agreed with her statement because “the high communication skill” is the most popular job postings requirement.

This seminar was a great bite at the cherry for me because I found many great insights about the industry from an alumna before I apply for my Co-op role.

I hope you found this as useful as I did, and you had some fun reading my first blog post.

Remember this great sentence below! And share your ideas about Natasha’s experience in the comments…

“This is a great way to make a connection with people and broaden your network!” :)

I am also curious about your recommendations for new marketers just like me…



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