I was asking a friend the other day for his advice on an open position I’m trying to fill. I outlined the skill set I was looking for.
- Visual storyteller who’s great with a video camera and SLR and can create or lead creation of infographics
- Totally savvy in social and content marketing so they know what do do with the visual assets they create
- Understands on a gut level that powerful storytelling is essential, but it has to serve business objectives
- Gets strategy as much as tactics
When I was done, he said, “You’re looking for a unicorn.”
My first thought was (thanks @ryanpaul38):
Don’t get me wrong, unicorns rule. But they are notoriously hard to find.
When I was writing the job description, I knew I was looking for someone unique, someone with a very “now” combination of skills. But I believe it’s a skill set that will be commonplace in a few years as our tools change, our ability to tell great stories and connect with audiences evolves and the ability to tie our work back to hard revenue figures gets easier.
We need people who get story structure and Salesforce. Hootsuite and HTML5. Grammar and Google Analytics.
But there are also other constants to look for when searching for great new employees. In his excellent “How to Spot the Five-Tool Superstar” post, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner outlines the talents he looks for when he hires. Note that none of them are tied to knowledge of specific tools or systems, but instead focus on the essential intangibles that make people successful: vision, product sensibility, business acumen, resourcefulness and leadership.
So where does this leave the modern job seeker? With a menu of skills and personality traits so complex and evolving that it’s impossible to ever be truly “qualified”? Or with endless opportunities for personal and professional evolution in a really exciting time to be a marketer/communicator? I tend to think it’s the latter.
Today, we all have to be unicorns.
Are you ready?