There are a number of skills that a newbie must possess to get a job in any domain, not just marketing. And the following soft and hard skills are important if you want to storm your way into this particular field. Do not worry, the majority can be easily learnt and assimilated, but others make up the passion for marketing and are part of who you are as a person. I'll start with the former. So let's jump right into it, shall we?
1. Analytics or statistics, as you might want to call it, both words hide more or less the same concept. And they are important because in my opinion marketing is a combination of science and (let's call it) feeling. And analytics is the science part of it.
2. SEO is a significant part of the XXIst century's marketing and I foresee a major increase in the role it will play in marketing, as search engines have become the most important source of information in today's society. Of course, we have to consider the fact that access to internet does not cover the whole globe just yet, and decades will pass until it does. But the majority of the target market of many-many businesses, first action in the decision process is to search.
3. Photoshop. Oh yes! The time when Photoshop skills weren't needed passed approximately when the Adobe started developing it. The only person who doesn't have to know how to create breathtaking images is the CMO, but you can't actually get there if you do not know Photoshop. Although it's probably something you learn so you can forget it latter, for newbies it is a necessity.
4. Creativity. Although you probably need to creative in any position, you have to be ultimately creative in the marketing field, because you are in charge of making your brand memorable, and only the shocking "advertisements" (and here I do not use it solely in the traditional sense) are unforgettable. In one hand your interviewer cannot measure you creativity, so let's say you can get a marketing job without being creative, but creativity will keep you from being dismissed latter on.
5. Smiling. Although this is an action, for me being able to smile with all your heart and soul to a customer or potential customer is a sign of having great people skills. But, do be careful, Pan-Am smiles won't get you nowhere, I am talking about crow's feet causing smiles.
6. Listening, understanding and acting. Although it is the sixth skill on my list, listening is the essence of marketing. If you cannot listen to what people say, to what you customers are saying, to what your competitors' clients are saying, to what those employees are saying who get in touch with the customers on a daily basis, and understand theirs feelings, motivations, dissatisfaction and so on, and act based on these, you will probably get fired (best case scenario) or bankrupt the company (worst case scenario). I do believe listening is a very hard thing to do for some of us, because the human nature is built in such a way in which it's primary concern is him/herself. So it is difficult to switch off our primary instinct, but with a little self-discipline nothing is impossible.
7. Social Media. I left SM for last because I consider it to be a combination of hard and soft skills. There are some aspects of social media that are basically science, you can easily learn it, but some aspects are related to your sociable side. In contrast with our "listening problems", humans are sociable by nature (yes, everything comes down to our monkey instincts as I like to call them). But the real challenge is to be popular on the world wide web, which is a totally different thing compared to real life, so not everyone got a hold of it, but we all will. Eventually.
Now all we have to do is to identify our weak spot and start building it up. For example my weakest spot is ... you guessed it: Photoshop :) If you're like me start reading this Photoshop manual (it is indeed for an old version, but the basics are the same and the information is fairly organized).
If your weakness lies in the first 2 points I highly recommend Hubspot's Inbound Marketing University. But if the 6th point is giving you trouble check out Carnegie's Secrets of Success for tips :)
If you would add some other skills as well, and you probably would, please do.
All newbies in marketing, I salute you! :D