iPressroom, Korn / Ferry International and the Public Relations Society of America has produced a long list of new media skills for today's PR professionals hoping to get a job in a new survey. (source - Marketing Charts)

Conducted among PR recruiters in the US, social networking knowledge is second as an important or very important skill behind media relations. In particular, recruiters look for an understanding of:

  • 82% mainstream media relations
  • 80% social media
  • 77% blogging, podcasting and RSS
  • 72% micro-blogging services like Twitter
  • 65% SEO
  • 56% Web content management
  • 52% social bookmarking

Really? Do 56% in fact want applicants to know about "web content management." Great if so, but not everyone believes the industry as a whole is that far ahead.

My own three criteria

Being in the middle of the hiring process myself, I've got a much simpler set of criteria than the long shopping list the PRSA and iPressroom put together. When it comes down to it, what I personally look for (and I imagine it's the same for a lot of recruiters) can really be distilled into three things:

1 - An online footprint. And by that I don't mean a Facebook page.

I mean some kind of blog, twitter feed, YouTube page and so on. That's really for three reasons. A - I can see the candidate 'gets' it. B - It tells me more about their writing style and their interests than a plain old CV / resume ever well.

C - And on that note, CVs are boring! Honestly, once you've looked at 20 they all blend into one. Are they even necessary anymore, or would a LinkedIn page do the same job?

Incidentally, a tool that is well worth looking at is extendr (thanks to Erin Lamberty for showing it to me), where you can group all your websites into a kind of online slideshow.

2 - A curious mind. At the end of the day, we are in the ideas business. I believe that anyone has the potential to come up with great ideas. But I also believe that people who look widely for inspiration have it easier. So no 'my hobbies are meeting friends' please, tell me what you are really into (for example, the last person I hired writes part time for a music review blog).

3 - An interest in offline media. Talking non-stop about online media is a turn off. The digital arena is where I spend most of my working day (in fact, day full stop!), but I do happen to still watch TV and read - print - newspapers and magazines. And so do a lot of other people.

So despite UK national newspapers losing the equivalent of Birmingham in readers (and US papers the equivalent of Wisconsin) over the past year, the bottom line is print still matters. I prefer candidates to have a basic knowledge of the offline world and, even better, an understanding of how online and offline media work together.

Also worth checking out - Beth Harte's excellent 'PR 2.0 will double your workload' and Sarah Evans 'top four new skills all PR professionals must have'

Image -Will Lion

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