If you’re looking to score an entry-level position in marketing today, you’re in good company. CNN Money named “marketing consultant” No. 2 on its list of best jobs in America a few years back, and more young pros are joining the field today than ever before.

The good news is, it looks like the industry is on pace to keep up with this growing demand: The number of marketing jobs is expected to grow through 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor. CareerBuilder reported an extremely large gap between average monthly marketing job openings and average monthly hires projected for 2015 (22,996 to be exact). And small to medium sized businesses plan to achieve revenue growth via improved existing customer experience and retention – meaning those marketing departments will grow.

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But the best news for young pros? The marketing sector is seeing a 3.9% increase in starting salaries, too. In short, not only are there jobs to be had – they come with a decent pay.

So, how’s a young pro to land one of these prime positions? It takes skill – or skills, to be specific. There are many desirable qualities that make entry-level marketing professionals attractive to employers – but here are three of the most lucrative.

Skill #1: Strategic planning

Successful marketers recognize the need to be proactive, not reactive. In short? The industry’s top professionals know how to make a plan, and work that plan.

One well-known study of this phenomenon followed graduates of the 1979 Harvard MBA program. They were interviewed while they were students, and again 10 years later. The 13% of the class who had goals, but did not write them down earned twice the amount of the 84% who had no goals. But the 3% who had written goals earned, on average, 10 times as much as the other 97% of the class combined!

In your interview, make sure your potential employer knows you can create a written plan – whether it’s for the month, for the year or for a single campaign. It’s one of the easiest ways to stay accountable to your goals, keep a project on schedule and continue to make progress toward the finish line – even while putting out fires.

Skill #2: Research

Marketing is at its best when campaigns, tactics and strategies are built on research.

It’s absolutely critical that modern marketers know how to design and implement research. But more important, you have to understand how to apply the results to make improvements to your brand’s campaigns.

In our industry, the word “research” covers a lot of ground – so there are a lot of skills to develop. In my opinion, however, it’s most important to know how to inform your campaign through your own primary research, via A/B testing.

A/B testing compares two versions of a Web page, form, piece of collateral or other tool to see which performs better. So, why is this such a critical skill for a new pro? Small changes can make a big difference in marketing. A few minor modifications to design, messaging or timing can lead to major gains in conversions.

Knowing how to deploy primary research tactics like A/B testing allows you to harness your own data and put it to use for your organization. By using a measured and strategic approach to deploying these changes (and keeping track of what works) you won’t just make an impact on your current campaign – you’ll create a roadmap for success in future projects.

Skill #3: Collaborative leadership

Employers are looking for leaders who can work as part of a team and communicate effectively, according to a new report from NACE.

When employers participating in its Job Outlook 2015 survey were asked which attributes they look for on a candidate’s resume, the biggest group of respondents (77.8%) chose “leadership.”

In marketing, leadership is often defined by the ability to spot the “next big thing” – and successfully work together with others to leverage it for your brand. Marketing trailblazers don’t wait for the newest trend to come to them – they actively seek out best-in-industry practices and find a way to put them to use in their own campaigns.

To develop this skill, make sure you’re tapped into industry news. Are you following rainmaker brands on social media? Do you know who the thought leaders are in your space? A little self-education goes a long way toward ensuring that your marketing efforts are on the leading edge.

Next, surround yourself with colleagues and resources who can help you be a good leader. This is where the collaboration comes in. As a young pro, you have to earn the right to be a leader by title. But in any marketing team, there are daily opportunities to prove your leadership mettle. Look for projects that will allow you to team up with other pros whose skills complement your own, and learn how to harness and direct the talents and insights of others to solve your brand’s problems – as a team.

Finally, lead by following. Don’t be afraid to borrow from the playbooks of proven leaders in your space. What do they do well, and how can you deploy their tactics in your own plans? Look at their marketing through a consumer’s eyes, and take note of what resonates with you. Then, lead by following, and use these insights to move the needle for your own brand.