The good news for PR professionals is that industry studies predict a six per cent growth in jobs over the next seven years. The bad news is that the profession is transforming profoundly and the skills you have today will not be enough to compete tomorrow.
Being an excellent writer is still, and always will be, paramount, but I know a few ex-journalists who can’t land a communications job despite their obvious talents and track records for success. Having a solid knowledge of the media industry and good contacts are both probably more important now than ever before, but with industry consolidation and newsrooms downsizing, change is the only constant.
Today’s successful PR pros, like those of yesterday, are excellent problem solvers with creative minds. Good ones also bring a natural curiosity to their work. They strive to learn how things work and put in the time and effort to dig deeper. They pull actionable insights from data, they experiment and are always innovating.
As a minimum, today’s PR pros possess an arts degree as well as a college diploma or certificate in public relations, but this is no longer enough. They need to have SEO expertise and digital advertising know-how. They need to be able to create content across multi-formats and to write code. And they need be bona fide social media and inbound marketing experts.
This is where new industry certifications come into play, and Google Adwords and Analytics are great starting points. Adwords certification demonstrates basic and advanced proficiency in online advertising. With Analytics certification demonstrates the ability to understand data and provide insight.
In addition to the foundational Google certifications, professional communicators would benefit from gaining other industry certifications. Facebook Blueprint certification demonstrates advanced knowledge of advertising buying and planning and Twitter Flight School demonstrates mastery over Twitter advertising campaigns.
HubSpot and Hootsuite both offer certification too. Hubspot provides recognition of inbound marketing skills and knowledge and Hootsuite demonstrates expertise with essential elements of social media.
Most of the course materials for these certifications are available for free and the test fees are nominal. Having them on your CV is set you apart as a candidate and give you a competitive edge.