November 11, 2016
Reality check: just being ‘the best’ won’t always get you the job. (If you’re 'the best' at just one thing, that is.)
Diverse skillsets and rare skills combinations are what really make candidates stand out from the crowd. Yes, you could be the best developer / copywriter / salesperson since sliced bread. But without complementary skills, your job search could become frustratingly fruitless.
In the real world, almost every job opportunity requires candidates to hit a wide range of skills – expertise in just one area rarely seals the deal.
Ever been in a job interview for ‘X’, only to be asked if you can also do ‘Y’? (And, while you’re at it, ‘Z’ too?!)
If you’re a copywriter, a salesperson or an analyst, it can be frustrating when you’re expected to succeed on skills seemingly beyond your remit. Why can’t you just be an awesome copywriter? Who cares that you’re not so hot on business skills, or social media outreach – that’s not what’s going to get you hired… right?
The candidates our clients hire invariably offer a valuable mix of skills beyond their core focus. The successful candidate might not have been 'the best', but by offering added value – perhaps with mathematics skill, or technical knowledge – they landed the job.
Diversify Your Skills – Boost Your Value
When you’re looking to advance your career, the temptation is always to double-down on existing expertise. Candidates often seek to learn more about their own specialism, enrol on additional training courses or boost their work experience.
Sometimes, that’s exactly the right approach. A core skillset is, of course, invaluable.
Consider, though, the greater value you could add by adding a completely different skill to your arsenal.
You could go from being 1 of 1000’s of applicants who can do X…
…to being 1 of only a handful of applicants who can do both X + Y together.
Diversifying your skillset is a way to drastically improve your odds.
Proven your expertise as a developer, but struggling to land the job you’re after? Consider taking a customer-facing role to refine your communications skill. Got great sales experience but can’t break into the sector you’re passionate about? Focus on projects or training that’ll evidence that passion on your CV.
Killer Digital Skills Combos
We speak to candidates day in, day out. Those who display certain killer combinations become what we call ‘MPCs’ (most placeable candidates.) The digital sector is all about high value talent. Here are some of the killer combinations we look for:
1 - Analytics Logic + Consumer Psychology
Digital technology is fundamentally process-orientated – logical brains go far. And yet, the end goal is almost always a ‘human interaction’. Understanding the effect of digital communications on humans is therefore critical.
PPC, programmatic advertising, SEO and CRM roles all require individuals who are both logical enough to understand and build complex processes, but sensitive enough to understand their psychological effects on end recipients.
This killer skill combination is a mainstay of the marketing industry, but the growing digital sector increasingly look for individuals on the more logical end of the spectrum who can display this balance. If that’s you – boosting your understanding of consumer psychology could significantly upgrade to your skillset.
2 - Coding Knowledge + Design Basics
Employers, though, often want an ‘all-in-one’ individual. Whilst developers often specialise in one technology, many clients want generalists who can cover all bases.
If you’re a developer, you might think you know absolutely nothing about design, UX, branding or content. But understanding the fundamentals of web design is an invaluable shortcut, allowing you to not only build the site, but get it ready for deployment too. Your full capabilities increase your value tenfold in employers’ eyes.
NEXT STEPS Can you handle both code and design? Even if you've got minimal work experience, this skills combination is in high demand. Register with us to see what’s available or view our design and developmentroles.
3 - Technical Understanding + Communication Skills
Technicians who’ve done their time ‘in the trenches’ find whole new career paths as communicators. Account managers, project managers, trainers and support teams – these and more roles require a deep technical understanding, coupled with top quality communications skills.
An ability to describe, explain and even sell technical products is highly valuable, particularly in the huge B2B software and digital service sector. People with technical know-how and communications skills can be found at the front line of most digital businesses.
Internal teams also rally around those who know their stuff, but communicate well.
4 - Natural Organisation + Leadership Qualities
Naturally organised? (Hint: You’re one of the few!) Combine that useful trait with an ability to lead, and you could be exactly what digital businesses need to drive plans and projects forward. In the fast-paced, complex world of digital business, an ability to keep teams focussed and on task is a killer trait.
For team leaders and project managers, this skills combination is a pre-requisite. Yes – you’ll need to have an interest in - and a willingness to learn - the technical details, but don’t write yourself off from the role if you’re not a born technician yourself.
Proven you can organise your own workload effectively, and navigate your way through complexity? Take the step up by taking charge of others' too – employers will invariably value your leadership prowess.
NEXT STEPS We’re always looking for level-headed leaders - people who can take charge in the digital world. Register with us and share your career aspirations.
5 - *Any Skill* + Business (Un)common Sense
Fundamentally, employers at all levels like to hire those who can demonstrate a clear understanding of business – preferably their business.
The higher up you go in any organisation, regardless of your specialism, the more you’ll be involved in business planning. Whether it’s devising strategy, allocating budgets or forecasting performance; business skills boost any career.
Partly, this is a skill you can learn: taking a post-graduate MBA, for example, is a time-honoured pathway to C-level ranks. But business sense is also a mindset and, particularly in smaller companies, natural flare is often valued above formal qualifications. Any evidence you can provide of your ability to sell, to lead, or to spot an opportunity will be snapped up by employers.
NEXT STEPS Got this killer combination, and feel ready to take the step up to a senior position? It’s our job to guide your way, so register with us and let’s see where we can get you.
Key Take-Away: Diversify Your Skillset
Once you’ve nailed your core skill, consider banking that ability whilst focusing on new challenges. In becoming a more diverse candidate, doors could open to brand new opportunities and lucrative careers.