Skills & Expertise

3 Skills You Can Learn on the Job

Passion, work ethic and solid writing skills are non-negotiables, but which abilities can you hone on the clock?

Have you ever looked at a job description and wondered just how many of the qualifications you really need to have?

You may be able to check off most of the skills a company wants, or maybe you feel like you don’t have many at all. In either case, you just might be in luck. It turns out there are several critical skills employers expect candidates to hone after they’ve landed the job.

What are the skills marketing, advertising and media teams are ready and willing to teach new hires?

Read on below for skill sets you don’t need to sweat before day one.

1. Client Service

Professionalism and great communication are non-negotiable from day one. But the ability to understand the unique needs of a client and provide excellent client service is a different story.

“While we expect recent graduates to come to us hungry, with a great work ethic and a solid writing foundation, client service is something we look forward to teaching young pros,” said Zack Nobinger, vice president at integrated marketing communications firm Taylor.

“We don’t expect new pros to automatically understand how to deal with clients as they tackle complex business problems,” Nobinger said. “We do, however, expect them to be consistently curious so we can put them into situations to succeed as they advance in their careers.”

2. Workflow Management

According to Mary Frances Somerall, an account supervisor at advertising, design, and strategic branding agency Cayenne Creative, all marketing and advertising agencies should be prepared to teach specific workflow processes on the job.

“The types of projects any agency handles and the way work flows through the shop changes from company to company, and preparing for that learning curve is key to the success of new employees,” Somerall said.

This also applies to working with others. Most companies want team players, but few expect less seasoned employees to know how to work with various departments such as media buying or design right off the bat.

This was the case for Johnny Liu, a social media community manager for the Warner Bros Home Entertainment, Inc. gaming publisher, Turbine: “The skill that they were really ready to work with me on was actual design layout such as how to place certain art assets together to make it more cohesive and how to work with the design team to create these assets for later use.”

3. Strategic Planning

“I wouldn’t expect entry-level colleagues to have well-honed strategic planning skills,” Somerall said. “But you can certainly tell when someone has the potential to develop those abilities, and when they are interested in learning. When a candidate is asking good questions and showing critical thinking skills, that is a good indication of their potential to develop in that area.”

The same can be said for anyone working in content and social media: You may have ideas for content, but have never had the opportunity to create and execute an effective content or engagement plan.

“You have to create content for all segments of your market,” Liu said. “When to fire it off to engage those segments by using data analytics was something that I learned on the job.”

So, what skills do you need to get the job? Work ethic, willingness to learn, critical thinking, problem solving, and solid writing skills top the list, but one thing in particular trumps them all: passion.

“It is tremendously important that people coming into this industry have passion for the work,” Somerall said. “At some point, there will be long days and difficult problems to tackle, so if you’re not invested you’re not likely to find fulfillment.”

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