Update: As marketers there is plenty of uncertainty and continuous learning in our profession. Enhancing and evolving your skills should be priority on your list of things to do to remain relevant in the job market. So we updated this posts with additional information on what skills are valuable to marketers and how you can achieve them.
If marketers have learned anything from the last few years, it should be that very little in our profession is certain. It’s important to constantly be looking forward at trends and events that could impact your career and livelihood, and make proactive decisions to adapt.
One of the best ways to maximize opportunities for career growth and professional success is to identify “skill gaps” and adjust your own expertise accordingly. A skill gap is created when there is greater demand for a certain expertise among employers than the current workforce is readily able to provide. That typically leads to higher salaries and more career options for the individuals that have those skills and know how to leverage that expertise.
So what does the current skills gap look like for marketing jobs? Check out this recent analysis from Venngage:
Marketing Skills 2016 | Infographics
The research might not be perfectly accurate. Venngage relied on skills listed in the LinkedIn accounts of marketers to reach its conclusions, which is clever but not extremely reliable. However, with an impressive sample size of 436 thousand accounts and hand-evaluated job posts on The Muse, it should be accurate enough to notice some key trends.
Filling the Largest Gaps
A quick look at these charts shows a glaring deficiency of “Data Analytics/Code Skills” among marketing talent. That closely reflects our own observation as a marketing analytics executive search firm.
Analytics skills among marketers are highly prized. Whether it’s web analytics, market analysis, data analytics or some other similar discipline; if you can apply it to a marketing role, employers want it. Even familiarity with basic tools like Excel and Google Analytics will get you a long way.
Coding ability of any kind is also extremely valuable. Fluency with nearly any modern coding language can go a long way for marketers in any field. Yet only 3.3% of marketers can even list basic HTML as a skill, according to the Venngage report. And that ratio falls off quickly for other more specific languages.
Are you one of the many marketers lacking analytics or coding skills? Luckily, there are many resources available to help you acquire them. Try one of these apps to get started!
Update: 6 Simple Reasons Basic Coding is an Invaluable Skill for Marketers
Getting Your Foot in the Marketing Door with Creative Recruitment Agencies
The other major gap that stands out from the results above is, perhaps surprisingly, in creative skills. It’s a gap that young professionals just entering the workforce should pay particular attention to. It appears that employers are having a hard time finding entry-level marketing professionals with certain creative talents, and frequently have to turn to creative recruitment agencies to get their needs filled.
If you’re just looking to break into the marketing field, this is a good place to start. Fundamental writing and design skills are valuable for every marketer at any level, and the sooner you develop them the more they’ll pay off. Additional content development, audio cutting, and video editing skills are also extremely useful for budding marketers.
Update: 4 Mind-Blowing Creative Marketing Resumes That Go Above and Beyond Your Paper CV
If you’re leaning towards your creative side to bridge your skills gap, a good way to show off your innovative talent is through your resume. Just as you might innovate surprising and remarkable ways to market a client’s product or an employer’s brand, it’s important to be able to get creative with how you present yourself. A well-designed traditional resume will get you a long way. But sometimes your situation or professional goals call for something more ambitious. If that’s the case, click here to get some inspiration from these marketers who took an alternative approach to stand out.
Pursuing the Right Core Skills
The research shows somewhat of a surplus in certain “core” marketing skills. It seems that, overall, there’s not a shortage of professionals with raw marketing understanding or ability. However, the shortfall seems to come in terms of actually applying that marketing knowledge with a strategic mindset and technical know-how to be competitive in today’s fast-paced environment.
Core marketing ability remains important; even if, as the Venngage report suggests, there’s “enough” of it to go around. After all, without a fundamental understanding of key marketing theory and tactics, you’re not even a marketer at all! Digital marketing guru Neil Patel recently named 9 especially valuable and high-demand core digital skills:
9. UX Design
6. Marketing, Web, and Digital Analytics
3. Social Media Expertise
2. Digital Advertising/PPC/SEM
An interesting trait to notice about this list is that it’s not full of the hottest, most trendy and cutting edge digital tactics. Many of these disciplines are tried and true digital pillars that have been popular for some time now. However, they’ve proven themselves to be reliable, high performing sources of ROI and many organizations are using them to form the foundation of their digital strategy. If you have one or more of them under your belt, you’ll probably have career options if you choose to seek them out.
All these disciplines have evolved in recent years. However, many of their practitioners have not been diligent in keeping their skills sharp. You’ll have an opportunity to differentiate yourself and stand out from the crowd by demonstrably showing your understanding and execution are more modern and more effective than those of your peers.