Five skills that can help creative job seekers thrive in a competitive job market

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Despite the recent upswings in the Canadian job market, competition remains fierce to land some highly-coveted positions. This is particularly true in some of the creative fields.

Executives in the advertising and marketing sectors surveyed by the staffing firm The Creative Group said they receive an average of 32 resumes per job opening on their team, and they meet with an average of seven candidates before making a hire. (This is up from 23 resumes and six candidates in 2014.)

So, these jobs are getting more difficult to secure as the number of candidates vying to land them increases. The research also shed some light on the hiring process for creative talent.

How employers hire creative talent:

Timing: It takes an average of five weeks to fill an open staff-level position. Management-level positions take an average of seven weeks.

Talent trumps location: Forty-five per cent of executives said they are more willing than they were three years ago to look outside their city to find the right person for a creative role.

No phone calls, please: The majority of hiring managers (61 per cent) said that they prefer to correspond with applicants via email. The feeling is mutual. In a separate survey, the majority of workers also chose email as their favourite communication method.

Skills matter: When evaluating applicants for creative roles, 58 per cent of marketing leaders say that both hard and soft skills are equally important. (A minority, 23 per cent, feel that soft skills matter the most.)

Five skillsets that you’ll need on the job market

So, what are the in-demand hard skills that will set candidates apart when competing for those hard-to-land creative jobs? Fortunately, the people over at Burning Glass analyzed the content of more than 500 million job ads in the creative field. (Burning Glass software powers the job search functionality of many corporate websites and job boards in the US and Canada, so they have a huge pool of data to draw upon.)

Their team combined the most sought-after skills in job ads in creative fields into the following five broad categories.

Programming Software and Development

This includes coding and programming languages such as SQL, JavaScript, JAVA, and software engineering, as well as technical writing and editing. The currently hot field of UI/UX design requires people who know marketing and design, as well as programming in order to help create apps, widgets, and websites that people will want to use.

Product Development and Project Management

This is one of the most in-demand fields in Canadian job postings. Business development, demonstrating the knowledge of how to develop a product and take it to market will help creatives to thrive in the current and future economy. Everyone needs to think like an entrepreneur now – taking leadership roles over their own work from concept to execution. These are the accomplishments that impress employers.

Business Skills

Being able to schedule work and create a budget for projects – especially those that involve multiple resources and providers – can be essential in marketing and advertising. Other business skills frequently requested in creative-focussed job ads include accounting, store management, and e-commerce.

Design Skills

Design skills, as well as the most common software (Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Acrobat), are all commonly listed in jobs asking for creativity. Like UI/UX, web and app design are in-demand roles that require job seekers with a variety of creative and technical skills.

Marketing and Sales

Just because you have an Instagram account, doesn’t mean you know how to use social media effectively for business. Companies are realizing that broadcasting ads across platforms are not effective ways to use the latest communications tools. Consequently, creatives with demonstrated knowledge of social media platforms and strategy are in demand. Other sales and marketing skills to highlight in your resume include merchandising, market research and market strategy.

What this research shows is that the most successful candidates will be well-rounded. Creatives with technical skills. Designers who can budget. Writers who can code.

The same goes for STEM graduates. Being a math whiz with no communications skills won’t do your career any favours.

The job market is improving, but the competition for coveted, creative jobs remains fierce. To stand out from the crowd of candidates for these roles, you need to highlight your hard and soft skills, your creative talent and your business acumen.

Here’s a look at the highest and lowest paying creative & marketing jobs in Canada right now.

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