As communication students, we learn not only through classes and books but also through hands-on experience in various organizations and internships. However, these experiences can only teach us so much. It is time for students to take initiative and begin teaching themselves new skills they may be lacking or wanting to develop.
Netflix is out, Lynda is in
Admit it—we all love to binge-watch our favorite TV shows on those nights when we don’t have any meetings to attend or exams to study for. If you want to be ahead of the game, stop binge-watching Netflix and start watching Lynda.com. The website provides video tutorials and training on anything and everything creative. You can learn how to use Photoshop for graphic design work, learn tips and tricks for becoming a photographer, or even learn all about Google AdWords. The variety of courses offered on Lynda.com is endless, and having access is an incredible resource that young professionals can use to further their skills. Though access to the program costs money, many schools have university accounts, so take advantage of the free learning opportunity while you are a student. The next time you want to watch another episode of “House of Cards,” pull up another lesson on Lynda.com and get to work.
Infographics appear to be the newest trend in communications as they convey important points and lessons in a visually appealing and easy-to-comprehend way. Unless you are a graphic designer, creating a well-made infographic can prove to be a difficult feat unless you use Pik-to Chart. Pik-to Chart is an online infographic generator that allows users to customize the image for their specific purpose. There are both free and premium memberships available, but if a student becomes familiar with the website interface, then he or she will be able to create a visually appealing infographic for their next PRSSA meeting in a matter of minutes.
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Behind each webpage we visit on a daily basis, there are hundreds of letters, numbers and symbols that make up a language called “computer code.” As the industry is ruled by the use and implementation of efficient technology, it is extremely important that communication professionals have basic knowledge of coding. Not only will this set them apart from other candidates but also it is a skill that can be applied in a multitude of jobs and industries. A great place to learn the basics of coding is Code Academy, a free, step-by-step and hands-on lesson that teaches students the basics of coding.
As future leaders in the communications field, it is important to have a portfolio of good writing and organization skills, but having some extra creative skills into the mix can make your portfolio stand out even more. Public relations is a multifaceted profession, and you want to be prepared for any situation thrown at you. Becoming a professional in these three categories will set you apart as an up-and-coming master of communications.
What do you think is the most important creative skill to possess?
Rebecca Shapiro is a junior majoring in public relations with a minor in business and psychology. She is currently the director of public relations for Penn State’s Chapter of PRSSA, and the executive director for Penn State’s student-run communication firm, Happy Valley Communications. Follow her @becshap and connect with her on LinkedIn.