By Emily Alford

The new year often comes with a resolution to find a new job. And conversely, many companies put off their hunt for new talent until after the holidays, which makes January the perfect month to review resumes and make sure they’re up to date on the skills employers are looking for.

And for those looking for jobs in PPC, paid search, and SEM, employers could be looking for surprising skill sets this year. According to a new study from SEMrush that analyzed over 4,500 PPC job listings on Monster and indeed, countries around the world, from the US and the UK to India, have got quite a few region-specific needs for new hires. However, some skills remain universal.

What are the most in-demand skills for PPC, paid search, and SEM for 2019?

Here are employer-identified top skills from around the world, along with experts’ advice for how to make sure your 2019 resume has the skills employers are seeking.

1. In the US, employers are looking for Excel skills

The US was the only country in the study that ranked Excel proficiency as its number one most desirable skill, with 36% of employers prioritizing a knowledge of Excel for new hires. This means that if you’re hoping for a new job as a PPC/SEM specialist or strategist in 2019, you really need to make sure you’re focusing on your knowledge about VLOOKUPs, advanced charting, and pivot tables, according to Joel Bondorowsky, PPC optimizer, online marketing expert, and founder at PPC Designs.

“Vlookups are a function of Excel that is on top as it is the most important,” Bondorowsky says. “Without knowing how to perform a lookup, an employee will not be able to combine performance data from two different reports, such as an Adwords spend report with a product sales report. Employers in all of these countries are mostly looking for workers to help sell products in that specific market.”

2. Content marketing is queen in the UK and India

Perhaps a bit surprisingly, 35% of postings from the UK listed content marketing as an in-demand skill for PPC specialists and strategists. And in India, the number is even higher, with 42% looking for content marketing skills. And while those numbers seem a bit unexpected, Nitin Manchanda, SEM expert and global head of SEO at Go Euro, wonders if startup culture might be a contributor:

“I would not consider ‘content marketing’ as the most trendy skill for this profile, which is the case for Indian and the UK market,” Manchanda says. “Maybe these are job posting from startups which are looking for an all-rounder who could contribute to Content Marketing as well.”

3. Ad creative is still what really counts

In 2018, “automation” was a buzzword that had the industry talking about what the future might hold in terms of jobs lost out to AI. But according to Bondorowsky, the conversation around automation leaves out a key element: only humans can fully understand what it takes to target exactly the right message to the right customer. However, understanding how to combine automated tools with human insights is an important skill to have as the industry changes:

“Automation will also never interest people into having a desire to purchase a product, and then take action to do it,” Bondorowsky says. “Only internet marketers who understand the tools to target people with different intent that can write ads to appeal to them can do this. Looking at 2019 and beyond, I can only stress this point. People buy from people, not machines. Automation and AI do not replace the online marketer, and it supplements them. The best PPC campaign managers in 2019 will understand how to use the advanced technology we are given to communicate our sales message like never before.”

4. Engagement metrics matter more than ever

And while keywords have been a longstanding priority, according to Dido Grigorov, SEM expert and SEO specialist at Serpact Ltd. & NetPresenta Ltd., audiences, not keywords, should be a PPC specialist’s main focus in the coming year:

“A good PPC specialist should be more focused on audiences in the future, not on keywords like before,” Grigorov says. “Audience engagement metrics will continue to be more and more important, which is expected and absolutely normal. We make campaigns for people, it’s understandable to evaluate them according to the engagement metrics in priority.”

How to make sure you have what employers are looking for in 2019

If you’re among those seeking out new opportunities in 2019, analyze your professional profile and make sure you’re including the skills employers most value. Download the full white paper by SEMrush, “Top Required PPC Skills and Platforms,” for a complete list of the top skills you’ll need to stay competitive in the coming year.

The post The most in-demand skills for PPC, Paid Search, and SEM Specialists in 2019 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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