DC Area Marketers List Social Media among Top Skills on LinkedIn Profiles

Industry competition is fierce; stand out by focusing on leadership and management skills


LinkedIn has more than 128 million members in the United States and has become one of the most prominent recruiting platforms for companies worldwide. In fact, 65 percent of LinkedIn’s revenue in the first quarter of 2016 came from its talent solutions, including a tool called LinkedIn Recruiter which helps staffing firms, recruiters and other human resources professionals source the best candidates in less time. While many members use the site to expand their professional network in hopes of closing more business, most users update their profiles in order to be more attractive to recruiters and potential employers.

As a company that specializes in recruiting top marketing talent, we were curious to see what patterns would emerge if we examined the profiles of marketers in the regions we serve (DC, Dallas, Houston and New York). Which skills do marketers seem to prioritize and how do they stack up against those of marketers in other regions?

After analyzing the profiles of all self-identified marketers in the DC region, this is what we learned:

Social media tops the charts, but why?

DC marketers are very likely to list social media as a skill on their LinkedIn profiles. Other than marketing itself, social media and social media marketing are the most commonly listed skills for marketers in our area and twenty-eight percent of them use those keywords in their profiles. This is also true in other markets we serve. In Dallas, thirty-one percent used those terms, compared with twenty-six percent in Houston. And New York City has the highest rate of all with thirty-four percent.

If marketers are listing social media so often, we can assume they believe this skill is attractive to potential employers. In DC, some of the area’s largest employers, including Marriott International, Hilton, AARP and Discovery, fall into socially-savvy industries like hospitality, technology, and nonprofits. Those organizations will certainly be looking for marketers with social media skills, but will need to narrow down their search parameters to find the best candidates.

For example, when searching for someone with social media experience, recruiters and hiring managers could look for those who have a large amount of followers or connections on social networks, including Linked In and Twitter. They can also analyze some of the content posted for quality, authority, and trustworthiness. Also, those with a social media certification from a reputable college or university, or from an online platform such as Hootsuite, HubSpot, Mediabistro, and Market Motive would stand out from the crowd. Finally, it would be wise to consider those with a recent graduate degree in marketing or communications as their curriculum usually involves social media.

It’s possible most marketers list social media as a skill regardless of their actual level of experience. Nearly all marketers (and, indeed, all human beings) have at least some exposure to social media; so many people could be adding those skills to their profiles simply because they can. Regardless of the reason behind its popularity, the bottom line for DC marketers is that listing social media marketing on a LinkedIn profile will not help differentiate themselves from other candidates.

Marketers in DC are seasoned, but tenure is only average.

About 48 percent of DC marketers have more than ten years of experience, while 27 percent have 6-to-10 years of experience. Less than one percent of marketers have under a year of experience.

Despite a large number of industry veterans, the average tenure of a marketer in the DC region is not longer than average. Most marketers have been in their current position for one-to-two years or three-to- five years. This tenure length may seem short, compared to the experience level of marketers in the region, but it aligns closely with the national average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) most recent figures, the median tenure for salaried employees at private companies is 4.1 years.

The key takeaway for marketers looking for new opportunities is marketing is a competitive field. Industry veterans are likely to move positions frequently, just like their less experienced counterparts, who may end up competing against them.

Many DC marketers have previous government experience.

When we examine the most popular current employers for marketers (i.e. the most commonly listed “current company”), no government agencies (or government contractors) appear in the top 10. However, the list of the top 10 most common former employers includes the U.S. House of Representatives, the US Army, and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Given the overwhelming presence of the government in the DC area, it’s somewhat surprising that government agencies and government contractors don’t appear more frequently as “current employers.” This could indicate marketers within federal entities and government contracting are simply less likely to have LinkedIn profiles. Since, according to the BLS, the median tenure of a public sector employee is nearly double the median tenure of a private sector employee, it’s possible that marketers within the federal government are less likely to be on the job market and thus have less of a need for a LinkedIn profile.

Nevertheless, it’s reasonable to assume marketers in the DC area are more likely to have experience in the public sector (or in marketing to the public sector) than those outside of our region. Some DC marketers majored in Political Science and Government, a concentration that does not appear in the top five most common fields of study for marketers in New York, Dallas, or Houston.

The prevalence of government-related experience seems to have a significant impact on the reported skills of job seekers in the region. When we examine the most common skills for all DC LinkedIn profiles, government-related skills clearly appear: leadership, public speaking, program management, project management, government, training, and policy are all within the top 15 most common skills. Marketers in the DC region, therefore, should also showcase their leadership and management skills to stand out from the crowd.


by McKinley Marketing Partners