Landing your dream job or even an entry level position in public relations requires more than being a crafty wordsmith, talented strategist and a social media wiz.
While most of us already have blogs and understand how to use WordPress, most job postings I see now list a slew of additional visual storytelling skills that those of us new to the profession have to at least have some experience with before being called in for an interview.
Additional skills to consider developing:
- Adobe publishing including InDesign, Photoshop and other software to create digital documents and iPad apps
- Adobe Systems Acrobat
- Video shooting and editing skills
- Website creation software – Joomla! , WordPress and Drupal are examples of ones I often see on job posting. If you have created a blog or a website using WordPress, extend your knowledge and skills by learning and implementing the latest upgrades
- Software to create mobile apps to leverage for campaigns
- Analytics – although being a data analyst is not expected, understanding the basics and being comfortable with numbers and with an analyst is expected
- Microsoft Office software including SharePoint Server and Excel. Formulas are a must know!
- Some knowledge HTML coding
- Cascading Style Sheets
- Podcasting software
“Public Relations is becoming more intergraded with marketing and advertising,” said Deirdre Breakenridge, an experienced public relations professional and author of several books on the intersection of technology and public relations. “It’s important to embrace new technology to do justice to the brand. All areas such be working together.”
And although these skills may not be taught in university classes, it’s important to invest some time in learning them before you graduate, she said.
Check out classes online or professional development classes at a local community college as they’re both budget-friendly options. Some of those classes even offer certificates that can be earned with just three or four shorter classes.
While technology is becoming almost a basic requirement for entry level jobs, good, strong writing skills still rule.
“You need a balance of the two,” Breakenridge said. “Always strive for the balance.”
A healthy balance of skills can set you apart from the crowd of applicants.
How many of you are making the effort to go beyond your college classes or to upgrade your personal talents in these areas?
Kris Antonelli, is a freelance writer and communications professional based in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. metro area. As a former newspaper journalist, her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Baltimore Magazine, Baltimore Sun and other publications. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter or via email at Kris.firstname.lastname@example.org.