7 Underrated Skills Every New PR Pro Should Have

It’s that time of year again when tons of college students are going back to class. Many of which are entering their senior year. In an ideal world, PR pros, and even journalists, should know how to do a variety of things before they walk across the stage and get their diplomas. There’s no need to be an expert in everything. But, it definitely helps to have some familiarity with a variety of tasks and programs. As someone who’s been in the workforce for a few years now, here’s seven (underrated) skills that I think all upcoming PRos and journos should know how to do.

1. Basic HTML knowledge

When I say basic HTML knowledge, I mean basic. There’s no need for PR pros to know how to code websites, although it could be very helpful. There is a need to know to how to post a blog post using WordPress, Blogger or Posterous. Knowing simple HTML commands for headlines, body copy, bold, italic, bullet points is HTML 101.

Free Resource: 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, like myself. But, there is no reason that every marketer and PRo should not have some familiarity with iMovie, Animoto or Jaycut. These are very simple video-editing programs which allow you to upload and edit videos, often times in a matter of minutes.

3. Excel

Creating simple spreadsheets and tasks in Excel can be a daunting task for Excel newbies. While it may be a tough program to learn, it’s not an excuse to not learn it. Trust me, you will use it a lot more than you think.

4. Proper Grammar

This may be the most underrated skill on the planet. Knowing how to write well is a staple skill in just about any career. Good grammar and spelling is at the very root of that. Channel the advice of your middle school English teacher whenever you construct a sentence, paragraph, white paper, presentation or blog post. Good grammer matters.

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. 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. 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 super active on Facebook, Twitter, G+, etc, but you should at least be on the sites and know how to use them.

What other skills should marketers and PR pros have? Please leave them in the comment section below.

king_cotton like.author.displayName 1 Like

Basic research skills are an absolute necessity. If you're pulling together a release, answering questions for a reporter or gathering information for your boss or other higher up, you've got to know how to dig around and find accurate, thorough information in a timely manner. And you've got to know enough to recognize a red herring when you stumble across one. This comes from a combination of experience and common sense.

JasMollica like.author.displayName 1 Like

Absolutely awesome blog, Jessica! I could not agree more on the video editing. It helped me in my agency job and now is absolutely vital in my consulting. @John_Trader1 makes a great point as well. New pros should also keep honing those skills with frequent webinars and books.

jessicamalnik moderator

 @JasMollica  Thanks, Jason. I couldn't agree more. Pros of all ages need to be lifelong students. Learning new things shouldn't stop when you get your diploma.  

John_Trader1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Just wanted to add basic audio editing skills too Jessica. Videos are definitely king, but podcasts, voiceovers, etc. are an integral part of any content management strategy so basic understanding of programs like Audacity are also important. Great post!

jessicamalnik moderator

 @John_Trader1 I couldn't agree more. Good audio is so important in videos, and of course in podcasts. With free tools like Audacity, there's no reason why newbie PRos shouldn't learn a little bit of audio-editing.