Young PR Pros: Episode #9 – Hard skills that matter

Three professionals want to know what hard skills to use to land a job in PR

This week, Kristine Simpson, Julia Kent and Molli Megasko revisit a series called Expertise that Matters, where the ladies share skills that will help build and advance your career.

During the opening of the show, Kristine talks about a Forbes article called Five Ways to Land that Post-College Job (Even if You Graduated Years Ago). The article offers some great tips that the ladies of Young PR Pros have mentioned in past episodes. The article also serves as a nice recap of some of the great tips shared on this show.

The conversation this week was sparked by a comment left by an avid listener, Sherrilynne Starkie, she asks:

I liked your discussion of important soft skills. But which hard skill do you think are most important for starting a career in PR?

Molli starts off by saying knowing how to work around a content management system is a great hard skill to have. Molli says it is especially important for our generation. She spends a lot of time working on client’s websites.

Kristine encourages young pros to learn a little bit of HTML code. This helps format and structure information on a webpage. With everything merging online, this is a skill that will definitely come in handy. Molli adds Facebook coding, or FBML, as an added bonus. Although FBML is being deprecated, learning similar tools that work on Facebook pages such as JavaScript and Social Plugins will put you ahead of the game.

Julia thinks young pros should learn how to use Photoshop or any other photo editing software. Julia and her company use GimpShop a freeware version of Photoshop. These tools are also good to use when wanting to scale down images for web or for email.

Kristine adds audio editing to the list. Although she says it is not an asset, it is a great unique skill to have. Editing audio can help if you are interested in podcasting, or if you want to send a radio journalist a quote from your spokesperson, etc.

Word processing skills are a mandatory hard skill, especially for our generation. Julia says you are valued even more if you are an expert in Word processing tools, that is, really knowing your way around equations in Excel, table of contents in Word, and slide transitions in PowerPoint. A working knowledge is mandatory, but don’t put it on a resume, it is assumed and expected you know them.

Finally, Julia mentions languages as a great hard skill to have. We live in a global world. If you can save a company from having to go through another agency due to language barriers, you will be greatly valued. Also, if you plan on working in Canada, the majority of government jobs require you speak both English and French.

Any of these skills can help you stand out among the crowd.

We want to hear from you. What do you think are some good hard skills to have as a young PR pro. Share your opinions by writing a comment below, or on our Facebook Page, or on our Google+ page, or send us an email at, or send us a message on Twitter @youngprpros@kristinesimpson@kentjulia or @mollimegasko.

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