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How About A Career In SEM/PPC?

When following a career in digital marketing, a massive part of your decision-making is about what field of digital marketing you want to work in. Under the umbrella term of digital marketing, you could choose to work in Search Engine Optimization, Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, Pay-Per-Click, Data Analysis, or many others. In this blog, I will discuss a career in Pay-Per-Click while reflecting on my learnings from an Account Director at an ad agency.

This week at a class in George Brown College, we heard from Amanda Lee, the Account Director at The Aber Group. She took us through her career path in marketing as she climbed the ladder through different roles at her current company.  Amanda also provided insightful answers to some questions from my classmates and me. Also, she offered valuable tips for us while applying for jobs for our work experience term and in the future.

Amanda Lee – Career Background

Amanda Lee

Amanda is an Account Director at The Aber Group, a digital agency that uses its expertise in paid media marketing to achieve the digital marketing goals of its clients. Amanda holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a specialization in Marketing from York University. She is passionate about not-for-profit organizations and their causes. She has been closely involved in volunteer work with various NFPs (including multiple internships at the Heart and Stroke Foundation).

Amanda started as an SEM Intern at The Aber Group, focusing on SEM campaign management and developing keywords and search ads. She then became an Account Coordinator, where she was also responsible for social ads. Then, moving up to the Account Strategist position, Amanda was responsible for building campaign strategy and optimizing and managing campaign execution. As an Account Manager, she then led the client and campaign management while bringing innovative ideas and tests forward and presenting results to the clients. And, in her current role as an Account Director, her responsibility is mainly to lead the client management, strategy and people management while supporting and guiding the team.

Role of SEM/PPC intern

It was interesting to learn how the role of an intern at an ad agency has evolved in seven years since Amanda used to work as an intern. Because of how quickly the digital landscape is changing, the interns are expected to look into search campaigns and also paid social campaigns across various platforms. In addition, they are expected to prepare strategic optimizations and work with Coordinators and Strategists to provide input on new tests for platforms and creatives.

Amanda’s insights and experience confirmed my belief that if you are committed and willing to learn, there are many potentials to grow in this career. And nothing can compare to the experience working with different industries, tools, clients, platforms, and soft skills you learn in an agency environment. This certainly ignited my interest in working in PPC/SEM.

Essential skills

During this session, I asked her about the skills required to be successful in a digital agency. And she clearly described various skills that are essential at different levels of the career. As you grow towards the client-facing role, you need to develop some additional skills. For example, as an intern, qualities like being inquisitive, open-minded, having the right attitude and appetite for learning are required. And as you move up in the career, you need to learn skills like project management, multitasking, organizing, and time management along the way.

Tips on job application and networking

Amanda provided us with some straightforward advice on job applications and networking as we apply to jobs now and in the future. Here are the nuggets of information that I noted:

  • Research the company, find out who the hiring manager is, and address your application.
  • Tailor your message for each application and not send out generic applications to all the companies you apply to.
  • Proofread the job application or proofread by someone else to avoid trivial mistakes and grammatical errors.
  • Respond to the employer within 24 hours. If not, you might give an impression of not being interested in the job.
  • It also helps to reach out to the Hiring Manager on LinkedIn before applying and asking for advice.
  • While applying for positions in SEM, it also helps to mention that you have or willing to complete Google Ads certification in your application.

Summing it up

Overall, this session with Amanda Lee helped me learn about how the industry has evolved over time and understand what skills and experience are required in SEM. And after this session with her, I would definitely consider a career in PPC. She also provided excellent advice on keeping up with the fast-evolving industry and some great tips on job applications and networking.

I would love to know your thoughts on a career in PPC/SEM. Share them in the comments section below.

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