Believe it or not, employers continue to struggle to find professionals with specific skill sets. In fact, according to The Creative Group’s Hiring Index for Marketing and Advertising Professionals, nearly half (47 percent) of executives interviewed said it’s challenging to find skilled creative professionals today.
Those with digital expertise, in particular, are in strong demand. As companies of all sizes and industries invest more dollars in online initiatives, they seek creative professionals who can build dynamic websites and social media pages, develop effective marketing strategies, and build positive buzz around new product or service offerings. As such, mastering the latest design software and new media trends is crucial.
While acquiring hot skills is a good idea in theory, how do you actually put them into practice? Following are some ideas that can help:
- Inquire about internal resources. Some corporations offer in-house workshops or training programs for employees or financial support for those who want to pursue technical or business training outside of business hours. Find out what your firm offers and take advantage of programs that align with your career goals.
- Seek out low- or no-cost training. A variety of online training options are now available for creative professionals, making it easy to learn at your own pace and when it’s convenient for you. Lynda.com, for example, is a subscription service providing tutorials on a wide range of topics, including design, animation, business and more. Some specialized staffing services offer free online training for freelancers, too. For instance, The Creative Group offers registered professionals complimentary access to thousands of online courses. (Visit HOWDesignUniversity.com for online career training, just for designers.)
- Attend design conferences and seminars. Attending national and local events sponsored by HOW, AIGA, the American Advertising Federation and other industry organizations is a great way to acquire valuable skills and meet new contacts within the industry.
- Pair up with a mentor. Working with someone (whether within or outside your company) whose skills you admire is a useful way to get candid feedback that can help you grow.
By being proactive and following some of the ideas outlined above, you’ll be fast on your way toward developing in-demand skills employers seek. So what are you waiting for? Get going!
Career Resources for Designers
- Enroll Now: Web Design For Beginners Series.
- 2012 Creative Professional’s Marketing Plan Bundle.
- The Designer’s Career Collection.