Michelle Sullivan Communications

Summer reading series: iPressroom’s 2009 Digital Readiness Report

My summer reading series continues with newly released survey results by iPressroom:

Online Communications Skills Employers Want and Candidates Need in Today’s PR and Marketing Job Market

This report provides insights into the specific strategic and tactical digital communications skills that employers are seeking from public relations and marketing job candidates. The research report is intended to help public relations, corporate communications and marketing professionals better understand and appreciate how organizations are integrating online communications into their business practices, and what online communication skills they need to acquire to be competitive in today’s job market.

While I think this report needs to emphasize more strongly than simply in the intro letter that it is the result of a survey of social-media interested companies (the results reflect that, I think), I am pleased to see that within these companies, PR seems to have the lead as far as social media strategy goes. IMHO, past history and general PR tenets tell me that this is where social media belongs. Not that I’m biased or anything 😉

Young professionals considering PR take heed: social media is quickly becoming a must-have on your CV (and I mean your Google CV, not your I’m-stretching-the-truth-about-everything-in-2-pages-or-less CV). Even if the heads of PR firms may be technosaurs, they expect the younger generation to be on top of their game, in order to fill this gap. If you’re a 21-year old PR prospect and not well versed in social media, you’re in trouble. Time to step it up, my friends.

How do I know this to be true, even for the Quebec market, where social media practice is still playing catch up?

In Montreal PR firms, bilingualism is almost always listed as a must-have on job postings. I know of more than one unlingual (French) PR consultant who landed a job despite lacking this requirement. Why? Because he/she had some knowledge of social media. Does social media trump English in Quebec as a second language of choice? Now let’s not all get up in arms. I’m not saying that … Recent hiring practices, however? Mebbe.


  1. Eric Schwartzman

    2009.08.18 @ 00:22

    The respondents are the result of a self selected sample. They are NOT merely companies interested in social media. On the contrary. This was a blind survey of US-based hiring managers at companies, agencies, non-profits, government agencies and academics.

    Thanks for your interest in the 2009 Digital Readiness Report.

  2. Michelle Sullivan

    2009.08.18 @ 08:19

    @eric Thanks very much for the confirmation, Eric. I misinterpreted a phrase in the introductory letter.

    If this is the case, American companies apear to be far more social-media sensitive than Canadian companies (even outside of Quebec):

    70% of companies surveyed claim to use social networking as part of their web-based comms (ok – maybe they have a Facebook account – whether they’re using it actively is another question)

    Close to 60% claim to blog, podcast or use RSS (!)

    I find these numbers to be astonishing, but, regardless, indicate that the imperative to at least claim to be active in the social networking space is obvious. If companies surveyed are indeed representative of a cross section of American business (and I’m not just talking Silicon Valley here – I’m talking Midewest too) then Canada will follow. PR consultants who remain in the dark about social media principles and application will be at a serious disadvantage.

  3. Eric Schwartzman

    2009.08.18 @ 12:23

    The question posed was…

    Which of the following activities does your organization currently employ as part of its web-based communications?

    So the fact that 70% use social networking and 60% use blogs, podcasts or RSS in NOT an interpertation od HOW they use these channels, but rather that they do use them in some capacity, according to hiring managers, who in many cases may not be the ones actually using these tools in practice.

    Again, in terms of sample, they were not selected by geography and are representative of the broader US-based organizational community.

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