Professional Graduates

I was inspired by a friend, Jeremy Schoemaker to write this post. He recently had a rant and rave that resonated with me. More so I was approached be a competitor’s employee recently that was very unethical, willing to divulge their secrets and even offered to help bring over their clients to us. On a level of 1-10 their sales ability may be 30%, their technical knowledge was the same but their cocky Mr. Know-it-all level was pressing a 9. Plus they wanted to make $100,000 and only in the field for 2 years. Under 30, fresh from college and ready to eat the world. Gotta love the cesspool of web design and SEO.

We do receive applications from people in the “agency” industry, who claim to know web marketing and SEO. Also recent college graduates who’s parents have lead them to believe that the world will take care of you and make sure that you always have a wallet full of 50’s.They seem to feel that their previous, inflated agency job making a “phat 60” was the norm. Their $70,000 bachelors degree was their ticket to paradise – the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory “golden ticket.”

When applying some will even be super cocky and tell you everything that you are doing wrong with your business. They tell you they can recreate “the Google” and have won major awards, are a magnet at the bar and prefer to travel for work to exotic places on my expense. They even recite major industry sources like AdWeek, Search Engine News and “The Google” to tell me what I am doing wrong for our clients. And of course they have little to ZERO real world experience.

I used to just smile, shake my head and throw their email or resume away. However in recent months with the continued frequency I actually feel bad for them. So I decided to write them an open letter.

Dear Recent College Graduate or Web Design Super-SEO Guru,

Congratulations on receiving your college degree. I am sure your parents have worked long hours and sacrificed a ton to allow you to waste their money.

I am sure that you are very talented for such a young age. Your grandparents must be very proud and think you are then next best thing to painkillers and McDonald’s morning coffee. However you are about to get a rude awakening.

You need to realize that any idiot can:

  • be taught to sell anything
  • use Dreamweaver or FrontPage
  • use Photoshop or Illustrator
  • learn to admin a server
  • write title tags and meta tags
  • start a Google AdWords campaign
  • affiliate marketing

However there are fewer and fewer people on earth that have the above skills and these too:

  • have a positive work ethic
  • can finish what they start
  • understand promises, commitments and deadlines
  • can be trusted
  • can follow directions

Technical ability can only get you so far. Most technical people will only ever do what they need to to get by- and these people have very little marketability.

If you just graduated college, you have a work ethic and can finish what you start. But now the real work starts. Don’t be afraid to learn more and get some real world experience before you flash your degree around.

Also, FYI- many people in our industry have minimum to little schooling aside from the school of hard knocks.

Best of Luck!


One response to “Dear College Graduate & “SEO Expert”

Posted by E Johnson

As a recent college graduate, i can turn to many Philosophers a have pretended to learn but the best i know to relate to my college experience is from Mid-Western philosopher Jeremy Piven.
“…. You can major in Game Boy if you know how to bull-$#!&*”

Which leads me into the crossroads I am at now, I’m of course one of those college grad “rock stars”.

The over-played, under-defined phrase of a recruiter/sales managers/pimps- for- an- unneeded-product would say. But that always puts me in the bind of if all of this could be earned without a person talking about it to you for an hour and a half. All to someone committing themselves to a better life, why waste the money?

It’s the beautiful lie that I always say got wrapped up in. believing that piece of paper would make all my problems disappear. Although halfway through I knew, unless you are planning on med school/law school or have a GPA greater then 3.8, it would. Unfortunately, the lie was all I had left.
So myself, and many others like caught in the lie have the grueling burden of asking those inevitable questions.

-Where can we get this “experience” these advertisers keep asking? I know there are numerous clubs and groups, but who actually would respond to a post with an entry level salary for someone that worked in a field 5 years?

– When do ethics come into play when your criteria is everything less than what we know? I’m not promoting dishonesty to get a job, but when you’ve only heard of Dreamweaver is in a Horror movie based on a novel, and the jobs your expertise needs to be 5 plus years. Some grads will fake it well enough to base intro to acting 1001.

Honestly, I know I’m making these asinine statements only as an act of an over-educated, under-experienced, former “agent of the future”. Now frustrated, angry, and upset that they are stuck washing dishes while people with GED’s and associates are bringing our salary tenfold. I just didn’t want to seem to have that whole four years feel like a waste of time.
We need to have an understanding of what works out here, before the ones left in the cold with a shred of honesty will turn into those mindless pitch men, and nimrods acting like subject matter experts that over flood your mailbox. Because the ones that do work for it, The ones that do want to learn and use the experience are still out there. With their hearts on fire, ears on receive, and their college days behind them.

Posted on August 3, 2009 at 10:13 am

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