Majoring in communications is all about learning how to successfully convey information to diverse audiences. Communications degrees focus on teaching effective communication methods at interpersonal and organizational levels. These degrees are commonly pursued by individuals who want to inform, entertain, and influence others according to specific objectives.
Students who pursue a communications degree learn how to analyze the preferences and needs of audiences to develop innovative strategies for conveying messages. Studies involve interdisciplinary coursework in humanities and social sciences subjects, such as literature and sociology.
Preparing to enter a specific job market, students may also choose an area of concentration for their degrees offered by their school’s communications department. These can range from public relations to journalism and include classes in social media, business, digital marketing, broadcast writing, video storytelling, and beyond.
In learning such a wide breadth of subjects as a communications major, graduates are well-positioned to enter many diverse industries with a myriad of skills to offer. If you’re thinking about pursuing a communications degree, we’ve compiled a list of the skills you can bring to the workforce, along with 10 common jobs in need of your expertise.
Hard Skills of a Communications Major
Hard skills are defined as teachable skill sets or abilities that are easy to quantify. Hard skills required by jobs for communications majors often align with areas of degree emphasis and include:
- Qualitative and quantitative research
- Analytical writing
- Persuasive writing
- Sales and promotion
- Media literacy and marketing knowledge
- Event planning
- Graphic and web design
- Social media strategy
- Presentation and public speaking
Soft Skills of a Communications Major
Strong communication skills are an invaluable asset in just about any job market because they allow us to share information, develop relationships, actively engage as global citizens, sell products, and more. Additionally, in our increasingly digital age of information, new ways to share information, convey ideas, and find and consume data are constantly evolving and advancing.
General communication skills, also known as soft skills and transferable skills, are more difficult to quantify than hard skills and may be of use in multiple fields. For communications majors, examples of soft skills include:
- Written and oral communication
- Project management
- Emotional intelligence
- Conflict resolution
- High attention to detail
- Tolerant of critical work appraisals
- The ability to plan, organize, and execute projects
- Interpersonal skills
- Critical thinking
What Can You Do With a Degree in Communications?
Journalists tell stories and share information with the public through content across multiple platforms, including newspapers, websites, magazines, television, podcasts, and radio. The field of journalism can include video journalists, photojournalists, data journalists, and more. Journalists need to identify good stories, research and interview the right sources to help tell their stories, and communicate effectively with those sources and their target audience.
2. Brand Strategist
Brand strategists are responsible for positioning brands in certain ways to their target audience or the public at large. They work directly with organizations and agencies to develop strategies to achieve certain brand objectives. Examples include gaining visibility and controlling the damage done by certain incidents and issues. Skills like media literacy, marketing, digital strategy, visual design, and critical thinking may be helpful to a brand strategist.
3. Social Media Planner
Primarily, the function of a social media planner is to determine the best media platform and timing for a specific marketing or advertising campaign. They also communicate with the platform to purchase or sell spots and project campaign performance based on the channel. Social media planners may use skills in media literacy, time management, marketing, social media strategy, negotiating, and promotion.
4. Public Relations Manager
Public relations (PR) managers are often responsible for creating and maintaining a positive public image of their employer or client. They do so by sharing select information with the media, preparing media kids and press releases, arranging for media coverage and interviews, writing speeches, and more. PR managers may also handle crisis communication and deal with negative publicity. Skills needed by PR managers might include written and oral communication skills, brand strategy expertise, media literacy, and promotion skills.
5. Editorial Assistant
Editorial assistants help in supporting a publication, such as a book, magazine, or newspaper. This role includes many tasks, such as proofreading content, writing publicity or social media copy, fact-checking, and more. Editorial assistants leverage their communication skills each day when reviewing text, presenting ideas, strategizing and visualizing content, and beyond.
6. Human Resources Manager
Focused on making a workforce successful, human resources (HR) professionals are strategic planners responsible for tasks like hiring staff, maintaining worker ethics and morale, overseeing employee benefits, resolving conflicts among colleagues, planning team-building and professional development programs, supporting diversity and inclusion, and more. Due to the high volume of interaction with employees, along with the handling of sensitive topics, HR professionals will frequently draw upon written and oral communication skills, interpersonal communication skills, emotional intelligence, and more.
7. Event Coordinator
Event coordinators are responsible for planning events like meetings, conferences, weddings, and trade shows. To make sure these events are successful, event coordinators need to leverage their communications expertise to carry out detailed planning, effective promotion, and efficient collaboration and interaction with speakers, entertainers, vendors, and attendees.
8. Web Producer
Web producers make sure websites offer the best possible experience for users. Their tasks focus on improving the user experience of a website by creating or editing content, arranging menus and buttons, changing page layouts, and more. Effective websites share information with visitors or encourage visitors to take an action. Graphic and web design, research, content strategy, and presentation skills may be useful for a career as a web producer.
9. Customer Service Representative
Customer service representatives help an organization’s customers via phone, text, email, and video chat. Their duties often include answering questions, resolving complaints or confusion, troubleshooting, keeping records, communicating across different mediums in real time, and more. Thus, these professionals should have strong written and oral communication skills, high levels of emotional intelligence, conflict resolution skills, and good critical thinking skills.
Lobbyists are passionate about creating change through communication. They craft persuasive arguments and facilitate negotiations to influence government officials to enact legislation that benefits their clients and impacts the democratic political process. This work often requires skills in interpersonal communication, public speaking, research, networking, and negotiating.
Find a Flexible Job That Leverages Your Unique Skills
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in media and communication occupations is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations at 14% by 2030. This is due to the increased need to create, edit, translate, and disseminate information through a variety of different platforms.
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