I’m often asked about what core competencies are most important in building a career in communications.
Here are my top five:
- 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 stifled if you are hampered by weak writing skills. Get interested – get curious – and get engaged in the craft of writing. Even in this digital age, it is the essence of communications.
- Social media: Even if you have no career ambition of working in social media, the fact remains that 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, your communications value will be a limited, and dwindling resource.
- Client relationship management: Whether you are in a web role, in publishing, media relations or corporate communications, client relationship management is central to your success. It’s worth investing in ensuring that you are well equipped to effectively meet and exceed your internal clients’ expectations. This is not only vital to your performance, it’s also critical to your sense of job satisfaction.
- Strategic thinking: As a communicator, you are in the business of adding value to your organization by injecting the discipline of strategic thinking. Being strategic takes practice – and it takes confidence. Invest in training, and perhaps most importantly, observe successful strategic analysis around you and learn from your colleagues and peers.
What core competencies would make your top five?