The skills a student learns while earning a communication degree are applicable to numerous positions. Many employers view communication majors as extremely employable, because the degree is interdisciplinary and seeks to instill valuable abilities essential to success in many fields. Here are five of the most common career paths.
Public relations professionals serve as liaisons between the media and their clients, whether they work for an agency or in-house for a company. A major goal in this area is to earn positive media coverage (articles, television and radio stories, blog posts) for clients and client events; this is achieved by building solid relationships with key media contacts. PR pros have strong writing and organization skills, and know how to prioritize their time based on client needs. Strategic planning, creativity, tact and extreme professionalism are all attractive traits of those in PR.
Advertising is different from PR in that advertising professionals pay for key media placements (billboards, radio and TV commercials, online ads) on behalf of their clients. Advertising is less about relationships and more about strategic planning and decision-making. The ability to negotiate to get the best placements for a reasonable price at key times is imperative.
While it’s true that print journalism (newspapers and magazines) have declined rapidly over the past decade, online journalism (such as blogs and online media outlets) has experienced a major growth spurt. Broadcast journalism (television and radio) is an attractive field under the journalism umbrella, but jobs can be extremely competitive, especially in television. New communication grads interested in journalism might pursue careers in the online sector for the best career growth potential.
Because communication majors are effective speakers and can think quickly on their feet, many find success in sales. Sales representatives are tasked with convincing business clients of how their product or service will help grow profits. Strong interpersonal skills are useful for sales reps; the ability to read people and change the course of a sales pitch accordingly is an important skill honed over time.
Sometimes event planners are tasked with throwing small, internal events for companies; other times, they’re in charge of major corporate affairs to which thousands of people are invited. The main objective of event planners is to make sure events run smoothly and on time. Choosing venues and vendors, coordinating travel and accommodations for attendees, and planning menus are all tasks an event planner must manage. Event planners are incredibly detail-oriented and have excellent interpersonal skills.
The beauty of the communication field is that the careers a graduate chooses typically provide building blocks they can use to launch other careers within the field. Many who work in event planning go on to work for public relations agencies. PR can lead to work in advertising and media.
Communication grads are well-prepared for a diverse range of careers. They can communicate verbally and in writing — and do so persuasively and concisely. Coursework in communication programs ensures students gain strong interpersonal, organizational, time management and critical thinking skills. Because communication students are resourceful and detail-oriented, they know how to efficiently gather information. Because they are skilled listeners, they are able to work well in a team environment.