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Marketing Professionals: 3 Digital Skills That Give You a Competitive Edge

As a marketing professional, you’ve probably observed how technology has been changing the workforce in recent years. From this, it’s hard to deny this statement originally made by Fast Company: every company is a digital business whether they see themselves that way or not.

With businesses relying more on technology and design than ever before, it’s critical for marketing professionals to be as versatile and up-to-date with their digital skills as possible says Heather Cianchetti, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Creative & Digital Division. “In today’s workforce, employers are looking for professionals who possess advanced design skills and can complete projects under tight deadlines. The demand for professionals who can create content for social media, print, and the web is something we see across all industries.”

Wondering what will catch a hiring manager’s eye most? Check out these three digital skills and assess where you might stand within the applicant pool:

Skill: CANVA expertise

What it is: Whether you work in a design or content creation capacity, you’ve probably been in a situation where a colleague has requested an ad to promote a company event. The catch? They need this ad by the end of the day, giving you only a couple of hours to complete it.

If you have ever been in this predicament, you may have turned to a web-based design platform like CANVA to produce something quickly. CANVA allows you to create ads for a variety of platforms, and it’s accompanied by a user-friendly interface. It’s the perfect solution for producing content with a short turn-around time.

How to get it: Unless you want to upgrade to a yearly or monthly plan, you can use CANVA for free. It’s a simple program to learn, with the site even providing a quick tutorial on how to use it. Additionally, its premium package comes with a 30-day free trial so if you are unsure whether or not you want to upgrade, you can test it out before you commit. While this resource might not give you the freedom to customize something to your exact liking, it is a valuable tool when you’re working under tight deadlines.

Skill: Content Management System (CMS) expertise

What it is: A content management system, or CMS, is a tool commonly used for content creation and website building. If you have a particular set of blogs you follow, most, if not all of them, use a CMS platform to publish their content.

While you may not need to use a CMS within the responsibilities of your job, knowing how to use a CMS can help you build your online presence and brand. Many marketing professionals use a CMS to help build their professional websites where they can display their resume, portfolio, and other aspects of their professional persona. So while it can be used to publish content for work purposes, it can also serve as an effective way to build your professional brand and highlight your design skills — something that could come in handy if you pursue freelance opportunities.

How to get it: If you want to start using a CMS, a great place to start is by signing up for a site like WordPress. Although it isn’t a true CMS in the sense that you aren’t building an interface from scratch, it is a great way to start learning about content creation and a way to utilize any coding skills you may have recently picked up. If you’re up for it, consider starting a blog to serve as a no-pressure way of familiarizing yourself with a CMS platform and a way to solidify any other technical skills you want to build on.

Skill: Adobe Creative Suite expertise

What it is: Whether or not you have studied design, work in design, or view design as a hobby, you are probably familiar with the Adobe Creative Suite. Used to create and edit images and video alike, it is likely the tool you as a marketing professional will use most during your career.

According to Heather, knowledge of and the ability to use Adobe programs such as Illustrator and Photoshop are among the most sought after skills by employers across varying industries. And while they are some of the most valuable skills to have, that doesn’t mean they’re the most abundant.

“Our clients have expressed that a lack of production skills is one of the greatest challenges associated with hiring more entry-level candidates,” says Heather. “Since the Adobe Suite is used most frequently, those who take the initiative to advance their skills can create a powerful competitive advantage for themselves.”

How to get it: If you had the opportunity to study and use any Adobe program in school, consider yourself lucky; Adobe programs are expensive and hard to learn without formal instruction. If you are able to, it’s worth it to consider saving up to purchase at least one of the Adobe Creative programs. While the programs are costly, instruction for them does not have to be You could enroll in a class that teaches any of the programs within your local area, but there are plenty of online tutorials and courses (some of which are free!) to teach and guide you through each.