After a summer full of sun, fun and maybe summer work for some students, it’s now time to head back to the classroom and hit the books. There’s little I personally like more than the back-to-school time of year, despite the fact that I’m no longer a student. I love the warm sweaters, new books, changing leaves and especially: learning new things.
I would like to share some of my knowledge and wisdom for business and marketing students beginning their degree or returning for another year.
You will learn lots of information and skills in university, but, if you don’t master these 5 basic skills, you will likely have a hard time succeeding in today’s fast-paced marketing world.
Writing is the most essential and most useful skill you will ever develop as a marketing professional. Get your writing skills in order.
The ability to communicate using the written word has many, many purposes. Purposes that go far beyond your boss being able to understand your emails. Good writing, as it turns out, is a plain, good, life skill.
According to research, those who write well have a better chance of getting promoted in their chosen profession. Why? Because writing well means having the ability to communicate well.
Communicating well is essential to becoming successful at marketing.
In marketing, writing well will be beneficial to you as you will probably be asked to write blog posts, prepare presentations, and build proposals or reports. Without a well-developed foundation in writing, completing those common tasks required in the field of marketing could be difficult.
2. Basic Web Design
Being able to manage a website is another essential skill for future marketers. Although people in the marketing team are seldom asked to build websites from scratch, it’s useful if you know the following basic web design skills:
- Format and update content.
- Correct small errors.
- Manage plugins in your CMS (Content Management System).
A little ability with HTML and CSS can give you that little extra boost you need to get hired, too, so take that web design course if it fits in your schedule.
3. Social Media Management
Because it’s still considered recent, social media is not yet taught in most business schools though some programs are emerging. Whether you’re looking for a social media degree, certificate, or even an online refresher from a site like Udemy, there are plenty of opportunities to level up your skills. The ability to manage a social media stream and use it as a communications/PR/marketing/customer service tool is increasingly important.
And if nothing else, your personal Twitter account counts as “social media management”. Showing you can maintain a consistent personal brand voice and produce content that engages followers is what matters for employers.
Tomorrow’s marketer is as much at ease with data manipulation as he or she is with creating visuals for a campaign. Marketing initiatives are now so tied to analytics data that it’s hard to do one without the other.
I know, I know, not everyone’s a numbers person (I’m the first one to admit that), but being able to manage both the creative and the qualitative sides of a marketing campaign is going to be essential as everything moves towards the digital space–even TV ads.
It can be a little depressing to be a student today looking at job numbers: fewer and fewer students end up with full-time, permanent jobs when they graduate.
But those who do usually have something special: they spent some time learning how to network effectively and used these skills to make their way into a job. Networking is one of the most fundamental soft skills you need to learn for success in the business world, and the earlier you do so the better.
Networking can be done in person, of course, but there’s also plenty of ways to do it online too.
Ready for the new school year?
With a focus on the 5 essential soft skills (as well as your grades, of course), you have a better chance of succeeding in the marketing world!