The SEM job market is experiencing a demand-supply gap due to a dearth of trained and experienced SEM professionals. One reason for demand overriding supply is that SEM is a relatively new career option and awareness of it as a lucrative career is still elusive to most young professionals. However, the Internet marketing revolution is unstoppable, and it will soon overcome this supply shortfall.
SEM — A Hot Career Option!
The SEM industry is expected to become an $18 billion industry by 2011. Search engine marketing has already cornered a sizeable chunk of most organizations' marketing budgets. Businesses are paying big bucks to support their online marketing programs in order to be seen at the top in the search results of some of the popular search engines. Every business with an online presence is in the race and wants a bit of the action that search giants like Yahoo, Google, and AOL have to offer.
Job opportunities for skilled search engine marketers far exceed the number of marketers available to fill them. Search engine marketers thus get to choose the clients and employers they would like to work for. SEM gives them the convenience of working from home or working for an employer without getting concerned about the office location, because most of the work done is online. You don't need to be physically present at the client's site in order to work for him, which gives you the freedom to work for businesses around the globe.
Search engine marketers derive a lot of job satisfaction from their work because the differences they bring to a client's business are easily calculated and almost immediately visible. A minor tweak can increase the online conversion rate for a client from 1% to 5%. It is therefore very easy to impress a client once the results start showing. The ability to drive a client's business determines your future success in the SEM industry.
A job in the search industry pays unbelievably well. The good part of SEM as a career option is that you don't have to invest time and money in college fees and courses. The skills you need are all out there on the Internet, and you just have to learn them. You don't need a professional degree to gain acceptance in this industry. Most SEM professionals are self-taught and learn the skills of the trade on the job. You can grow in the profession as you experiment more, research trends, and attend discussions, forums, and conferences.
Once you gain acceptance in the industry, it is easy to be your own boss and work for yourself. The initial costs are minimal as all you need to have to do your work are a computer and Internet connectivity. On top of this, you answer to no one and you get flexible working hours.
Is SEM the Right Profession for You?
You need to address three questions in order to get through the "qualifying round" of becoming an SEM professional: Are you passionate about the Internet? Are you adept at learning new skills? Are you good at networking with people? If you nodded thrice, then read on...
The SEM industry is rapidly learning new techniques and adopting new practices. New standards are getting set, and new terminologies take shape regularly. It is very important for an SEM professional to stay current with the latest "dos and don'ts" to find success in this industry. Staying current with the best industry practices enables you to offer the best service to your clients. Continuous learning and upgrading of knowledge is beneficial in a dynamic industry like search engine marketing.
A search engine marketer needs to be an avid reader. Gathering more information by doing research on just about any topic would add to your knowledge base and definitely give you an edge in the profession. Good knowledge of the ISP industry, good web designing skills, and strong interpersonal and marketing skills can also give you a big leg up in your SEM career.