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I recently had the pleasure and honor of guest lecturing at Bentley University’s e-Marketing course with CC Chapman. One of the questions in the Q&A was, “What are the core skills new graduates need that you look for when hiring?” What a terrific question!

The top 3 core skills all new marketers need are the ability to write, the ability to do deep analysis and extract insights, and the ability to be creative.

The Ability to Write

Writing is at the heart of modern marketing. Everything begins with writing, from sticky notes on your desk to 90,000 word books to screenplays for YouTube videos. Even great speaking leverages your ability to skillfully choose words. The problem is, most people aren’t great writers. Most people are average or slightly below average writers who can’t communicate with clarity. Download the eBooks or white papers from your company and from your competitors. Read through them. How well written are they? How persuasive are they?

I recommended that every student – and every marketing professional – become familiar with tools like SlickWrite and Hemingway. While these tools cannot fix problems with structure, logical flow, or facts, they can identify basic flaws in writing. See this post on up-cycling content for a bit more on these tools.

The Ability to Do Deep Analysis

Statistics and mathematics are core skills for today’s marketer. You must have the ability to take data, visualize it, analyze it, and turn it into insights and strategies. Many students take courses with tools like SPSS and R; when they leave university life, those skills quickly atrophy. Don’t permit that to happen. Download data sets from public sources like data.gov to keep your data analysis skills strong. Practice, improve, and expand your data analysis toolkit.

If you’re a marketer facing data analysis challenges, I also recommend my latest book, Marketing Blue Belt.

The Ability to Be Creative

Creativity is one skill area that gets systematically beaten out of you by school and work. The ability to be creative hinges on your inputs, on how much useful stuff is in your brain that you can draw on at any given time. If all you’ve got in your head is junk, then all you’ll produce is junk. Feed your brain, especially after leaving an academic environment!

The more useful, usable information your mind has to work with, the more creative you can be. (this is also the basis for my previous book, Marketing Red Belt).

Write. Create. Analyze. If you can do all three of these skills well, you will be a unicorn. You’ll be a rare, valued, even treasured member of any team. There are other secondary skills that will help improve your career success as well, but if you can’t write, create, and analyze, fix that first.

Thanks again to CC and Bentley University for having me over!


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