Acquire these 3 digital skills and recruiters will come calling

Wed, Oct 16, 2013


Last weekend, I was asked to speak at the annual PRSSA Leadership Rally. This is a group of student leaders that PRSA assembles every year to help with strategy, direction and management of their PRSSA chapters.

I’ve been a part of this event a number of times–it’s a great event for these kids. In fact, I wish my alma mater had had a PRSSA chapter when I was in school. I would have been the first person to sign up for this event.

In this case, I wanted to recycle a presentation I’ve given before about the PR Pro of Tomorrow. I thought it was relevant for these kids, who will be entering the workforce in a year or two.


The PRSSA Mankato chapter.

But, as I thought about the larger context of the presentation, and gave it that day, a few key skills stood out. Skills that many friends, recruiters and agency owners ask me about routinely. Skills they desperately need. Skills they are almost always on the lookout for.

Although I’d argue all 10 of the skills in this presentation are “musts” for tomorrow’s PR pro, three stand out as skills students can learn and leverage to find a job (quickly) in our industry. I believe those skills to be:

* Video editing

* Analytics

* Programming

Video editing skills comes up in almost every jobs/career panel or discussion I’m a part of. Everyone is looking for those skills. The alternative: Outsourcing (and people get tired of paying to outsource all video production).

Analytics is a skill that’s only going to grow in popularity. Just had a friend from a pretty big agency ask me if I knew someone on the senior end looking for a position in this area. I can only think of a handful of people. This is a skill that’s in HUGE demand right now.

And programming skills are becoming a must in our industry as well. If you know the basics of coding, you have a big leg up on your colleagues in the new world of interactive and digital PR. You won’t have to “hand off” blog administration. You’ll know what the developers are talking about when you’re developing that mobile app. And, you’ll understand the ins and outs of web design when you’re revamping your client’s site. Big advantage.

Those are the big three, in my book. Take a look at this presentation and let me know if you agree.

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These are great Arik and dead on with trends. One fallback that I don't think can be emphasized enough is writing. It is so damn hard to find solid writers. And not just writers. Folks who understand current trends towards brand storytelling. Those that can think beyond the press release and truly know how to put pen...ahem, finger to keypad with pristine writing. Not just impeccable grammar and editing but a great mind that can bring a story to life...from a tweet to a post to a white paper and beyond.

Rebecca Martin
Rebecca Martin

Arik - I still think young PR people are missing the necessary business acumen. A big miss in their PR education. 


I agree about analytics being one of the top three.  The other two that you mention among your top three are also good, but I still think that you need the people skills.  Some really have trouble in the people skills area, despite being in PR.  


What's the best way to acquire analytics skills? 

arikhanson moderator

 @ScottMeis I know, but writing is a given (even though, clearly, it is not). I was trying to touch on some of the emerging skills I see employers looking for. But yeah, I know, finding good writers: Very tough.

arikhanson moderator

 @jspepper  @MichaelBittner I think a lot of the people who are doing it now are self-taught. So many online resources (Google Analytics has a whole suite of videos, for example)