the frequency a kenny chung blog

It’s been a few months since my last blog post, and for once I have a good reason. At the end of October, I left my position at GroupM/Mindshare, and jumped ship to DigitasLBi, where I am now the Manager of SEO for the New York office.

I did not make this choice lightly. After all, I was at GroupM for almost 3 and a half years, which is an eon for agency life. I won’t get into the details of why I left, as this isn’t meant to be a year-end rant. I also won’t speak about why I like DigitasLBi, because I’ve been there for fewer than three months.

DigitasLBi logo at the New York office

Instead of the destination, let’s talk about the journey. In this past year, I’ve known a lot of SEO folks who have switched jobs, or are looking to. So I’m guessing there will be at least some value in my speaking candidly about my job search experience.

Right off the bat, it seemed like there weren’t that many job openings. Whereas I used to receive several messages every week from recruiters on LinkedIn, it didn’t seem that way anymore. Granted, it had been several years since I last applied for jobs, so it was hard to gauge if the digital job bubble had burst, or if the lull was due to Q4 budget freezes (I highly suspect the latter). If I’m to be completely honest about why I chose Q4 to apply for jobs, I had made myself an ultimatum earlier in the year: either I was going to save up money at my old job and go to Turkey/Thailand, or I was going to find a new job. Obviously, the second option won out.

Over the course of two months:

  • I applied to 42 jobs (35 in-house)
  • I received 12 confirmed rejection emails
  • I had 7 Interviews (including phone and in-person)

 

Some general observations:

  • Almost all of these job applications were in response to LinkedIn postings (I’m incredibly thankful that I’m past the point of relying on CraigsList).
  • I was actually surprised that so many companies took the effort to send rejection emails, which I appreciated (the companies I was applying for were also pretty well-renowned, so that may have been a contributing factor).
  • In-house positions seem to take a long time to fill. I saw several jobs reposted several times. I suppose they also tend to receive a lot more applications, as some hiring managers took almost 2 months to respond… and those were the ones interested in interviewing me).

 

A few caveats: many of the positions I was applying for were digital brand management roles, and not strictly SEO jobs, so take the above figures with a grain of salt. I had a colleague who was also looking at the same time (mostly for in-house SEO positions), and he also lamented the low response rate and limited postings.

At the end of the day, I interviewed at DigitasLBi and found that their agency structure fostered internal growth and provided opportunities to expand my skillset. At some point, I would like to branch back out into creative (where I started), and moving back to a full-service agency was a good step toward that goal.

I don’t have many neat takeaways for my experience, as I’m not sure if it was unique or typical. But I do think that Q4 is the toughest time to search for a job, so those of you looking now should be thankful that tomorrow begins Q1!

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