I’m often asked about what core competencies are most important in building a career in communications.
At a high level, I would put strategic thinking and a results-based mindset at the very top of the list. But there are also three nuts-and-bolts kinds of skills that are vital for you to master and exercise in your daily work:
- Project management: To excel as a communicator, you have to be comfortable with complex projects with many moving parts, shifting and changing in order of priority in real time. Project management is the discipline of managing the variables of time, budget and quality — it can make or break a career, and is well worth investing in as part of your professional development.
- Writing: Your career in communications will be stalled if you’re hampered by weak writing skills. Get interested and get engaged in the craft of writing. Even in this digital age (or perhaps especially in this noisy media environment), it is the essence of communications.
- Social media: Even if specializing in social media is not a career ambition for you, its rise has forever transformed the playground you’ve chosen to work in as a communicator. Your audiences are connecting, creating and communicating online – and unless you understand the implications of those relationships and know how to use them to your organization’s advantage, your communications value will be limited and ever-dwindling.