Is ‘digital’ really just what employers want?
Digital has become a key word of late in the PR industry as social media continues to play an integral part in communications strategies. As such, professionals in the sector have, over recent years, had to adapt to this changing digital landscape and incorporate this medium into their day-to-day activities.
PRs looking to move position – and indeed those seeking their first role – may then be forgiven for thinking that an in-depth knowledge of social networking sites will make them an attractive prospect for employers. After all, aren’t digital skills what everyone wants these days?
The answer is yes...and no. While expertise in digital media is valuable, more often than not, PR recruiters take it as a given, assuming that emerging talent will have the technical capabilities required for the job. So, if this technical expertise is expected of any PR candidate, what are the other skill sets that will stand a candidate out from the crowd as the PR industry evolves?
Just as writing a press release with no news angle is a waste of time, so is filling up social media with content that doesn’t engage the user. Simply being able to use digital channels is no longer of interest to an organisation. Instead, what employers are really looking for in a prospective employee is evidence of their ability to use digital platforms creatively, in ways that truly maximise the potential of the medium. In essence, they want to see that a candidate is able to take their communications expertise and utilise this across multiple medium, whether online, offline, broadcast, etc.
This leads on to what we would say is the crux around skills requirements from individuals, and indeed the industry in general: the ability to adapt in a changing landscape. The sector – and the working environment in general – has remained in a state of flux over recent years as the economic climate, technological developments and the increasing global business opportunities impacted organisations. And as the PR business constantly evolves to meet the developing communications need of today’s modern world, clients are crying out for people who can demonstrate that they are willing and able to adapt to new challenges and situations. And this isn’t just as a result of new technologies. The ability to manage the evolving media, unfamiliar audiences – for example, in global campaigns – or even internal changes within the organisation will also be required. Just as in nature, those who can adapt will stay ahead of the game.
Lucy Cairncross explains: “With digital playing an important role in the communications industry we had anticipated the integration of these responsibilities into general communications roles. Interestingly though, we are still seeing standalone digital roles continue to rise. And as the communications landscape evolves, PRs who can demonstrate their ability to adapt and thrive, as well as take an original and innovative approach to digital channels will be highly. They need to be flexible problem solvers who can create content that chimes with the user and make their subject stand out from the crowd.”
If you are interested in finding out more about how we can help you develop your career in digital communications or marketing, find out more here.