It’s an old, well-worn joke by now: “A communications degree? What can you do with that?” Well, as it turns out…a lot. There has never been a better time to pursue a degree in communications.
Why? Because our interconnected society relies on communication more than ever.
Today’s world relies on information from big data to social media to 720,000 hours of video uploaded to YouTube daily. We live in a world of ideas and the ability to communicate those ideas effectively will always be in demand. In short, you’d be hard-pressed to find any industry that does not rely on the skills of professional communicators.
Here are just a few careers you can pursue with a communications degree.
Public Relations Manager
In many industries, customer perception is everything. An ever-increasing variety of organizations are hiring specialists who are skilled at making them appear as favorably as possible. Public relations experts use tools such as articles, press releases, social media, and viral content to help shape the public’s awareness and opinion of a brand or idea.
A truly excellent PR manager must also be ready for public relations emergencies and help repair a company or organization’s reputation. Because many PR experts work across multiple media outlets such as print, radio, TV, and the internet, a communications degree offers a huge advantage.
The job of a communications director is to manage the flow of information within an organization. A company’s message must not only be clear to the public, but also to the people who work for that company.
A communication director’s job is not entirely dissimilar from a PR specialist but tends to be broader in scope. They not only work with the media on public relations and perception but also communicate with the government and the immediate community. A communications director is also frequently responsible for direct marketing efforts such as sales brochures and case studies. In addition, they sometimes handle human resources tasks such as conducting meetings and developing informational materials.
To prepare for a career such as this, a communications degree can be a powerful asset. Additionally, a communications director with a master’s in communications is likelier to end up in the C-suite or achieve success when pursuing other executive positions.
The responsibilities of a marketing manager are diverse. They include overseeing and leading an organization’s marketing and sales team, hiring and training new members of the team, and using data from research studies to assess demand for that organization’s goods or services.
How is a communications degree helpful here? A marketing manager must also identify new or prospective markets. They also play a role in overall customer satisfaction. A marketing manager collaborates with others outside the marketing team such as designers, researchers, and their organization’s financial department. Knowing how people work, and how to communicate their ideas effectively, is a vital skill.
There are few careers more communication-centric than that of a journalist. The role of a journalist is explicitly to communicate to the public and keep audiences informed about news and events. Whether that communication takes the form of published articles, TV, video, radio, or podcasts, there is more demand than ever for good journalism. Fortunately, there are also more avenues than ever for pursuing it. A good journalist must have a solid command of critical thinking skills, in-person communication, and even content creation. Your pursuit of a communications degree should cultivate all of these skills.
Communications Speaker or Coach
What better use for a communications degree than to teach others the same skills you learned? The job of a communications coach is to help others improve at communicating their own ideas. Their role may include sharing communications strategies, building confidence, and teaching public speaking and persuasion. The overall objective is to help others get ahead in their own careers through improved communication. Sharpening communication skills can be especially important for people entering leadership roles for the first time, especially when the stakes are high.
Living in a digital age where content is king, the ability to create effective, compelling, engaging content is a skill that will always be in demand. Content managers are responsible for company messages presented on social media, websites, and blogs.
The content manager role might also focus more on the “management” side of content management. This includes responsibilities such as coordinating a team of content writers to make sure the content created is engaging, high-quality, and on-brand.
Film and Video Editor
Film and video editing are often under-appreciated. That’s strange, as this skill can transform so-so raw materials into powerful forms of communication. A good editor must be able to craft, hone, or shape a story from raw audio and video, combining the two in unique and insightful ways to get a specific message across while supporting a larger company narrative.
The best film and video editors do not intentionally draw attention to their contributions. If the audience is in any way distracted by what the editor is doing, the message can be momentarily lost. A good editor “magically” creates compelling content in ways that might not be apparent from looking at the source material. Skilled editors can completely change the way a viewer perceives a piece of visual media.
Striking a Balance Between Medium and Effective Messaging
The launch of any new form of communication brings with it a degree of novelty that captures our attention. New tools provide a level of fun and excitement that often overwhelms good judgment. Far too many individuals and corporations have learned (painfully) that just because we can say something in a new way, maybe we shouldn’t.
More and more companies are plunging into social media, video messaging, podcasts, the personalization of customer experiences, and more. The need for effective communicators is only going to increase. So go ahead and pursue that communications degree but, just like medical practitioners, decide early into that pursuit where you plan to specialize.