“If you want a partner…Take my hand…Here I stand…I’m your man.”…Leonard Cohen

I’m not in the job market now. I’m happily employed in my current position.

But what if I were?

First, I would craft a kick-ass resume and post it on my personal website.

Then, I would Twitter that I was looking for a new position. My tweet would get pushed to Facebook, FriendFeed & many other places so a large number of people in my network would know that I am seeking employment.

Meanwhile, I would follow the same strategy outlined in this article that I wrote after successfully concluding my last job search.

I suspect I would again get a tremendous response to my job candidacy from all over the country. I’d answer each employer inquiry with humility, respect, and interest.

And, because most of the people who would be answering my inquiry won’t be in the Portland Metropolitan Area, I will be asked the inevitable question about relocation.

And I’ll borrow Matt McGee’s answer to that question…for he answered it far more eloquently than I could…

Also, and this is really important, if your job requires me to move the family, I’m not your guy.

I know about 80-90% of the conversations will cease at that point. This would be unfortunate…much more for the prospective employer than for me (because a job search is a numbers game and I know that I would find exactly what I’m looking for if I just talk to enough people).

There is a tremendous undersupply of top SEM talent and the search marketers are holding the top cards.

Prospective employers need to know that most of us who own homes will not voluntarily enter a horrible housing market to try to sell a house in order to take your job.

Also, most search marketing veterans also know that even the best and brightest in our business can end up separating from employers on short notice (voluntarily or not) and we absolutely don’t want to be stuck away from our “home base” when that happens.

Most folks who have successfully worked at home won’t want to give it up under just about any circumstances…the benefits are too great.

Yet, prospective employer, we still might consider working with you. If you have the foresight to consider telecommuters, you can still land a search marketing rockstar and you won’t be limited to the inadequate local talent pool.

Top search marketers are extraordinarily hardworking, disciplined people. They aren’t the people who will end up abusing the trust inherent in a telecommuting arrangement. On the contrary, almost all of us have done profitable “independent” projects away from their “day job” and we’re quite used to working successfully on our own with little or no supervision.

It’s great that a large number of companies now not only understand the need for search marketing but feel it important enough to take the function in-house. After all, there are a slew of unfilled SEO Jobs in the marketplace. However, most of these companies looking for SEO talent are trying to shoehorn these digital gunslingers into antiquated 20th century work arrangements. There is little incentive for top search marketers to accept such a deal unless they actually prefer an office environment. If prospective employers could understand that many SEO’s feel stifled by the physical and mental confinement of cubicles, they would know that they would be getting better employee performance and a higher degree of loyalty by letting the search marketer dictate the working conditions.

For employers looking to hire search marketers: A top search marketing employee can add a huge amount of revenue to your bottom line…isn’t that worth some leeway when setting the terms of engagement?

9 thoughts on “Have Gun, Will Telecommute

  1. Yup it’s true my friend… I always look at job offers and think that I would consider one… If I didn’t have to destabilize my life. That’s just not in the cards for me. There simply no price on my little cave of comfort and likely where I perform best anyway.

    I haven’t worked for anyone in 10 years… but a good offer and telecommuting would get my attention. Alas, the life of an SEO Hermit (hmmm… new site?) it shall remain ;0(

    Enjoyed the post dude… tnx

    Daves last blog post..Myth Busting 101: Bold statements

  2. The problem isn’t even specific to SEO, but to most white-collar or professional jobs.

    The move to telecommuting is slow for a lot of companies, especially those locked in the 20th century.

    Companies just have the mind-set that their culture will suffer, or productivity will fall, if they don’t have people show up every day and sit at a desk.

    The shock comes in when companies whose livelihood depends on being digital and on the internet refuse to have flexibility when it comes to these things.

    There was a post on SEOmoz once where Rand said it wouldn’t be a good fit for his company. I remember thinking, if Rand has this kind of reluctance what can be said of a more traditional company?

    Vinnys last blog post..Historic Annapolis

  3. Hire a basic level SEM in house and then hire a top SEM gun and put the local guy in charge of the project. Slowly hold the local guy accountable for cutting costs and improving performance, which is what you wanted to do the the big gun anyway (but couldn’t).

    Keep the big gun as long as he delivers. Ask him for confidential advice on the local guy’s development. Ask the local guy for confidential advice on the big Gun’s ROI re: return on the consulting fees. Churn the local in house guy as necessary to achieve your economic goals. Find a new Big Gun if your local guy can prove someone else can do a better job.. andhold him accountable for finding the new Bg Gun and delivering.

    Everyone wins if you end up with a local guy who moves out to become one of your trusted external Big Gun consultants… a new guy gets a shot, your ROI keeps going up, and the sustainable food chain lives on for another day.

  4. Telecommuting is not for everyone, sometimes it be very difficult to work from home. It takes a lot of self-discipline and you are a lot more likely to get distracted. I know personally and it’s taken me a long time to adjust working from home. I’m still trying to perfect the art.

    John Edwardss last blog post..Baltimore Real Estate

  5. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of what John Andrews has mentioned over the next two years, as companies place an emphasis of integrating in-house seo into their marketing/technical teams. Since there isn’t enough local talent around, and experiences search marketers aren’t willing to move, they will have to resort to the agency/consultant training the in-house team. I think there’s a still long way to go before most businesses give top notch seo’s the work terms they demand.

    Dev Basus last blog post..How To Deliver The Perfect Client Pitch

  6. In the link to your other posting you mentioned that you wrote a cover letter. My husband is actually in the hunt for a career transition, he has been doing in house SEO for 6 years and would like to telecommute. So we would love to see what your cover letter looked like to get an idea of what to write to propose this work setup.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *