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Discussing SEO Career Development with Dan McCartney

Started from the bottom and now he’s here, Dan McCartney has flourished since he joined the SEO team at WMG. Taking a moment from his busy schedule, he discussed his experience of the development roadmap at WMG and how the team have helped him tailor his role to suit his own personal development and goals.

How long have you been with WMG and what did you initially join the team as?

I joined over two years ago, around the end of May 2019 as a technical SEO executive, and I have worked up to a technical account manager since then.

Tell us more about your experience with WMG’s development roadmap and how it works…

There’s a progression path through the technical team that is achievable for anybody. Very tailored objectives are set for every individual. So maybe there’s an area that you could improve on or certain tools or processes you’re not overly familiar with. Our operations manager will organise training for you to fill this gap.

The monthly 121 has been instrumental to any kind of progression for everybody in the team. This involves working closely with our operations managers and covering in-depth where you want to go and what your career goals are. The information within that 121 is pertinent to your career progression and development will also be shared with your technical account director.

Your technical account director will review any bits of work that you feel you need reviewing. They’ll attend calls and provide that extra layer of support that your digital operations manager can’t give you because they don’t have the technical knowledge or experience.

How has WMG differed from other places you’ve worked?

I’ve worked in places before where progression can be random and haphazard. Expectations can sometimes end up being unreasonable as well. Like having to adhere to the culture of starting work ridiculously early and staying late just to show senior management that you deserve it. You must be seen to be doing, you’re not just carrying out your normal workday and letting the results speak for themselves.

Factors that went into progression weren’t always fair or relevant to your actual professional development or to the output of your work. But here, it’s measured in the right way and those personal plans really help to support that and it’s a lot fairer. I think a lot of agencies like to say they’ve got a great focus on development and progression but in my experience, that progression falls by the wayside.

What’s been great about working here is that I’ve not once thought something has been forgotten about or they’ve not delivered on what they said they were going to deliver on in the interview. WMG has stuck to their word.

So overall, I am very happy with the way that things have progressed and with the consistent focus they have on rewarding individuals and focusing on progression. The foot has never been taken off the accelerator really, it’s just part of the foundation of the agency.

Is there a one size fits all approach to development or is it tailored to each individual and their interests?

So, from my own personal experience, I did want to climb the linear ladder of the technical team. But the duties within those roles can vary depending on what you really want to end up doing.

For example, I’m quite interested in people management as well as having the account management side of things and being able to do technical SEO too. Lauren organised for me to be enrolled on an ILM line management course which is a twelve-month apprenticeship course that gives you the skills that you need to lead effectively, from identifying your own leadership styles and how to adapt circumstantially, to conflict resolution.

This is giving me the skills that will make my eventual movement into people management and being responsible for my own team one day a little less daunting. Because I expressed an interest in the people management side of things, the agency was able to put actions in place and make slight changes to my role to support that.

How do operation manager roles work to keep focus on team progression?

WMG has invested a lot of time and money into ensuring there is the proper infrastructure for the team to be looked after and provide the opportunities they need.

One of the benefits of working with larger agencies is that you do have those opportunities. Something I was told before I accepted the offer here was that, yes, it’s a big agency, but because of the way the structure has been implemented, it feels like a small agency. You get that kind of intimacy that you get within a small agency because of the individual attention and recognition that goes on throughout the teams.

Is there any advice you’d give to someone who is considering applying for a role at WMG?

I think people can be sceptical about joining larger agencies, but my experience here has paid off, and you do get the time and attention that you would get from a smaller agency.

As well as all that, you benefit from the other elements of being a part of a large agency like typically more interesting clients, who trust that we know what we’re doing.

If you’re really ambitious and care about progression, and if you come in and you work hard and you stick to your development plans and take on feedback and continue to develop yourself, then good things can happen to you. And that’s not just like a marketing line, it’s something that actually gets delivered on.

So yeah, I would recommend WMG to anyone looking to join an agency that gives you good work-life balance, professional development, job satisfaction and (of course) great people!


As the market grows and changes, we grow too. Would you like to work for a company that wants to help you hone your strength and reach your personal career goals? If you’re interested in working with us or have any other questions on recruitment, don’t hesitate to get in touch.