If you are a marketer, you probably know that the industry does not stop for anyone—especially not for the college student with approaching project and exam deadlines. While working on classwork, do not forget to develop your professional skills to help yourself stand out during job interviews. After all, these are skills every marketer should have because they will help you greatly during your career.
1. Learn how to use Photoshop.
Even if you are not a creative, you will find that this is a useful skill to have. Oftentimes, you may have to create a graphic or quickly edit a photo, and with Photoshop, you can do this without having to wait for someone else to do it for you. Even if you are not in charge of the final graphic or visual, this will allow you to create something your team can visualize so everyone can be on the same page. In an increasingly digital world where individuals have shorter attention spans, it is more important than ever to earn consumer attention quickly. Visuals make this job easier. Instead of trying to explain a concept via words, you can convey the same message in just a moment through an image.
Such a task may seem daunting if you are not already a Photoshop pro, but take it one step at a time. Look up a video or a tutorial (Adobe even has built-in tutorials within the program itself and on its website) and spend ten minutes a day playing around with the interface until you know where all the tools are and what they do.
Experiment with shapes, colors, and different combinations of brushes until you get a feel for how to use the program. Most importantly, practice and have fun with it! Spend a little bit of time with the program each day, or each week. Before long, you will become a master. In the end, Photoshop is simply a tool to help you express your inner creativity.
2. Take a Google Analytics crash course.
As much as you hear it from us, it is no longer your mother’s marketing! Gone are the days where television, radio, and print dominated the space. Now, it is all about digital media and where the trends are—and that is not in traditional media anymore. If you want to succeed in this fast-paced, growing world, you have to know how to look at the data. Even if collecting this data has a bad rap lately, as a marketer, you still have to understand how to notice the trends and what your consumer is interested in. You can decide how to responsibly use this data without disrupting your consumer’s daily life or being intrusive.
One of the best ways to achieve this is by using a tool that compiles your data for you in one place, and a good starting point is Google Analytics, as it is a common language for marketers. You can also take a crash course from Google itself, which teaches you the basics of the program in an easy-to-follow, hands-on, video format. You will get a chance to try different parts of the software with examples, teaching you the inner workings of Google Ads for someone who may not be familiar with it.
3. Talk to people. Communicate and network!
This is an extremely important skill as a marketer. While it may not be as much of a “hard skill,” you must be able to talk to people such as clients or co-workers while in the workforce. Communication is key to making sure that you are able to get your message across as well as market yourself as a professional. Without this, you may come across as someone who may not be a good fit for a job or a client. Even if that means just working up the courage to talk to a speaker who attended an event you were at or spending some time in an informational interview with someone who made an impact on you, it will be good experience. You can practice before going into more high-stress networking settings by doing mock-interviews with your friends and get feedback about how to improve, but make sure they’re honest with you!
4. Develop your writing.
Yes, this may be a biased opinion considering this is a blog, but nevertheless, this is a crucial skill for a marketer to have as well. Not only is it a form of communication, but it is also still one of the main ways you can convey your brand (either personally or professionally) to others. You may have a message or a story you want to share with others, but without the ability to convey this well, your audience may not understand what you are really trying to get at or the real purpose of your message. Worst case, they may even misunderstand or misinterpret your message as something malicious. As a marketer, it could be extremely detrimental to your brand to have negative commentary about your products or services because of a miscommunication. It is a lot more difficult to repair a damaged relationship with a customer than to build that rapport for the first time.
5. Figure out how to use social media.
If you do not know how to already, make sure you know how to use social media! Some popular ones to consider are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, as this is where many people spend their time outside of work or classes. You can also find out what your target audience really cares about from trends with similar individuals and the groups they may be a part of. Now, customers are more niched than ever and are also pickier about what they are willing to spend their time on. Get practice doing this by spending some time on your own social media channels talking about what you love and paying attention to which posts audiences may care about. What pages do a particular group of people spend time on or interact with? Having the analytical skills to notice what works and what does not will be invaluable to you later on.
6. Build your own website (or at least learn how to).
As a marketer (and even for other fields that may be profile-heavy), it is useful to have your own website as a way to market yourself. A website is not only a place you can showcase your skills, but also a place where you can show your creativity. It is a blank canvas for you to do whatever you want, including a place for you to display your portfolio. If you have any interesting projects to share, you can include those as well. A website is a way for you to display what you care about and why—a lens employers can explore to get to know more about you in a way that is actually meaningful to you.
If you are not tech-savvy, this may be a daunting task, but I encourage you as a marketer to get familiar with technology, because it is the digital age, after all. To stay on top, you have to understand modern software and how to utilize these tools to your advantage. Good starting points are WordPress or Wix, as these two websites give you useful tips for building your own page, even without any prior knowledge of coding! No HTML or CSS needed (though that is a conversation for another day).
Here at AMA, we want to help you become as successful as possible, whether you are a marketer or not. While these six tips are useful for a marketer, they can also help anyone looking to market themselves in the modern age, where it is not enough to use traditional media. As marketing changes, so should your skills and strategies!