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What You Need to Know as a Communications Graduate
Communications studies language tools and how people interact with one another, becoming an essential part of an industry to sell products to the public, keep strong relationship bonds with investors, clients and customers and many more. It is estimated that 75% of a person's day is spent communicating in some way and a communications degree gives you the opportunity to choose from a number of careers with sub disciplines of journalism, public relations, writing, foreign languages, business, and marketing.
As a communications graduate, you can find yourself working in fields with different job titles such as1:
- Law (public defender, corporate lawyer, legal reporter etc.)
- Business (executive manager, personnel recruiter, sales representative etc.)
- Advertising (copywriter, advertising specialist, public researcher etc.)
- Communication education (school counsellor, language arts coordinator, education researcher etc.)
- Electronic media/radio television/broadcasting (talk show host, news and relation manager, producer etc.)
- Journalism (reporter, editor, media interviewer etc.)
- Public relations (account executive, sales manager, lobbyist etc.)
- Theatre/performing arts (script writer, arts administrator, theatre professor etc.)
- Government/Politics (legislative assistant, program coordinator, campaign director etc.)
- High technology industries (systems analyst, language specialist, technical copywriter etc.)
- Communication and health care (health educator, activities director, health communication analyst etc.)
- International relations and negotiations (translator, diplomat, corporate representative etc.)
- Social and human services (social worker, public administrator, mental counsellor etc.)
A career in communications requires you to have a bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as communications, journalism, human resources management, public relations, marketing etc. Depending on the career you have chosen, general requirements may include strong interpersonal and communication skills (written and oral), leadership skills, proofreading skills, creativity and social intelligence.
What to Expect
A few careers that a communications graduate may consider come from various areas of communications, including2:
- Writing and editing A career in writing and editing gives you the responsibility for everything from novels, grant applications, news stories, screenplays, instruction manuals to website content. Most writers are employed by a company, however some are self-employed or freelancers
- Internal communications Internal managers and specialists are needed in companies with multiple employees. You will be responsible in ensuring the company's departments and employees are working together efficiently
- Public relations Public relation specialists are also known as media or communications specialists and they are responsible for a company's public image. Your responsibility it so manipulate public opinion and earn credibility and trust through various means of branding and messaging. You would also write press releases and speeches, give public statements, organise events, and act as a spokesperson
- Publicity The responsibility of a publicist is to help individuals like authors, athletes, politicians, celebrities and others to get the media coverage they need to succeed. Your role in communications would be important as you would spend your day talking to the press, arranging appearances on television or radio shows, landing interviews with key journalists, and generate excitement and interested around their client's work. Similar to public relation specialists, publicist would also need to protect their client's image if a negative event were to occur
- Market research analysis As an analyst, you must be proficient in communications and data analysis. You'll be responsible in designing questionnaires, polls and surveys to gather information and calculate the effectiveness of an existing product, the reach of marketing strategies, or the needs and desires of consumers. You will be gathering data, analysing it and creating recommendations for company actions which helps your employer increase profits and consumer satisfaction
- Newscasting To pursue a career in newscasting, you would need to have taken a course in journalism which teaches you how to write and put together news packages. Newscasting includes broadcast news analysts, news anchors, and radio personalities who are responsible in delivering the day’s events into public broadcasts. To be in this line of work you need to be articulate, charismatic and compelling as well as be able to prepare yourself to deliver the news by reading, interpreting and writing. In breaking news situations, you would need to be able to think fast to relay critical information without bias and with sensitivity to those involved
- Advertising There are many different departments and roles that make up an advertising agency which require effective communication skills. The creative department is responsible for the development of marketing ideas and materials including advertising copywriters who write brochures, product packaging and even commercial jingles as well as art directors and designers that create advertising images. There is also the media department which places ads in places where consumers can see them, the account planning department which advises and develops ad focus using insight on how consumers make use of marketing communication, and the account management department which is the liaison between the agency and the client
- Event planning Event planners are people who are skilled at organising others, remembering details and leading the realisation of action plan. They take care of the logistics of an event such as finding a location, organising lodging, securing food and refreshments, and help determine the tone and scope of the event. Event planning is a very people-oriented profession with all the people involved in the process such as clients, vendors and attendees, you would need to have strong communication skills for this job
- Customer services Companies that caters to consumers employ customer service representatives, including retailers, airlines and health care companies. With the high number of customer service jobs in a wide range of industries, this career opportunity may appeal to communication graduates
- Sales Salespeople can also be known as account executives, sales agents, or sales representatives, and are responsible for selling products or services with a focus on building loyal customers. Salespeople often meet with clients face-to-face, though some jobs are conducted over the phone or internet. Advertising sales is a popular choice for communication graduates
These are just a few career opportunities you can consider as a communications graduate, however the list is endless and you can also tailor your career to your own interest.
The median base salary for a permanent or full time job in communications is $82,000, with the upper quartile of $110,000 and lower quartile of $65,5003. Statistics also show that 84% of communication graduates are female while the remaining 16% are male, with the salary of $44,138 to $96,033 for females, and $54,045 to $89,243 for males4. Popular cities for a career in communications are Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
1 web.olivetcollege.edu, What career opportunities are with a communication degree, 2015
2 Masters In Communcation, Top 10 Careers with a Communication Degree, 2015
3 LiveSalary, Selected Role: Communications, 2015
4 PayScale, Bachelor of Arts, Communication Degree Average Salary, 2015
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