The deck is stacked against most graduates today, as many are finding it impossible to secure a job after tertiary. There are basic skills that students of any major or anyone can use to instantly become more attractive to employers.
Writing skills are back in vogue, as nearly everything is communicated through web pages, social media, and email marketing. In the Internet world, great writing skills can set you apart from fellow job seekers and keep you employed. Blogging is a huge opportunity to differentiate yourself. It gives employers much deeper insight into candidates and shows off a skill that can be put to use immediately.
Most companies today depend heavily on web marketing as a cost effective way to reach potential customers, because most consumers and businesses will start (and finish) their product and service search online. Creating online ads, website content, email marketing and conversion optimization are skills not taught in school, but are certain to land you a job if they are honed.
Search engine marketing
Closely related to web marketing is search engine marketing (SEM) and optimization. Search engine marketing broadly refers to getting website traffic through paid search ads and via free website optimization techniques. In simple terms, this is what gets customers into the company’s door (your website) to look at your wares. Much of the marketing budget for companies today is earmarked for SEM activities. Today, good SEM can make or break a company — it’s that important, yet there is no formal educational training to become a SEM professional. But individuals can learn these skills on their own. Start by marketing something on the web. It doesn’t have to be a capital-intensive product like a car. Create an e-book and market it online using website optimization and paid search techniques. Another hint: since 65 percent of search is still done on Google, get real good at SEM on Google!
Many companies make use of social media for attracting and selling to customers and are scrambling to put together their “social strategies.” Adept users of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn quite possibly have the skills to help companies with their social strategies. Furthermore, many employers look at potential candidates online to see how prolific they are on social media.
People mistakenly think that you need to be a computer scientist to be a programmer. The fact is, many of the most talented programmers are “left brain,” creative thinkers that are not technical majors. Programming will become a required skill, and you would do well by learning it rather than being considered skills deficient. Businesses have been automated to the point that virtually every task is done on computers running software applications. Many of the applications need to be customized or optimized for the particular business, which is where programming skills are critical. HTML is the language for developing web content and other marketing collateral, and a form of programming that is a must-have skill. While programming is taught in school, it is often skipped over by non-STEM majors. Today, there are many ways to learn programming. By making it a priority to polish up on these five skills is a step in finding and keeping a job.