In an ideal world, PR pros and journalists should have a variety of skills before they receive their diplomas and enter the workforce. There’s no need to be an expert in everything, but familiarity with certain tasks and programs can boost a career.
For example, here are seven underrated skills that all upcoming PR pros and journalists should grasp:
1. Basic HTML knowledge
And I mean basic. There’s no need for PR pros to know how to code websites, even though it could be helpful. There is a need to know how to post a blog post using WordPress, Blogger, or Posterous. Understanding simple HTML commands for headlines, body copy, bold, italic, bullet points is HTML 101.
Here’s a free resource for building that knowledge: w3schools.com
2. Video editing
Again, video editing can be a daunting task to learn. I’m not saying everyone should be fluent in Final Cut Pro or Avid, but every marketer and PR professional should have some familiarity with iMovie, Animoto or Jaycut. These are simple video-editing programs that allow you to upload and edit videos, often in a matter of minutes.
Creating simple spreadsheets and tasks in Excel can be a daunting task for newbies. While it may be a tough program to master, you should still learn it. Trust me; you will use it a lot more than you think.
4. Writing skills
This may be the most underrated skill on the planet. Knowing how to write well is a staple of just about any career. Good grammar and spelling is at the very root. Channel the advice of your middle school English teacher whenever you construct a sentence, paragraph, white paper, presentation, or blog post.
5. Basic math
Let’s face it, many of us have a reputation for being subpar at math. Whether analyzing statistics, comparing percentages, or helping prepare a budget, simple math skills come in handy more than you think.
6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Understanding how SEO affects your site’s search rankings is important. At the very least, you should know to craft an SEO friendly headline and keywords for site content. Any added knowledge is gravy. For additional SEO resources, check out the SEOMoz blog
. It’s a phenomenal resource.
7. Social media familiarity
It’s mind blowing how many marketers and PR pros do “social-media tasks” professionally when they have no or little experience using those tools. You don’t have to be incredibly active on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and so on, but you should at least be on the sites and know how to use them.
Jessica Malnik is a PR/marketing coordinator, social media specialist, videographer and an avid blogger. A version of this story first appeared on her blog.