According to the Princeton Review, communications studies/speech communication is the eighth most popular degree among college graduates. The primary reason for this is that a degree in communications opens a wide variety of doors for your future; you don’t have to be tied down to a single career path.
But if you just graduated or are preparing for imminent self-reliance, then you’re probably wondering what, exactly, your options are with a degree in communications. Below you will find 10 answers to that question, with explanations and expectations for each career opportunity. Now would also be a good time to invest in this communications training course and learn the number one mistake people make in corporate communications.
1. Content Writer (online-based company)
This job didn’t exist ten years ago (or at least, to the prolific extent that it does now). Content writers are becoming more and more valuable as – who would have thought – writing is proven to be an incredibly useful tool for engaging a customer base. Writing online definitely requires a certain skill set, though many of these skills can be acquired through experience alone.
You won’t make a fortune writing content, but probably more than you would have imagined. A recent Content Writer job posting on Craigslist-San Francisco was offering a starting salary of 60k, full benefits and equity options. Another wonderful aspect of writing online is that your worth is technically limitless: a good writer can, theoretically, attract an enormous audience. Plus, writing is a great way to get your foot in the door, prove you have a good head on your shoulders and work your way up the company totem. Now would also be a good time to learn as much as you can about effective business communication, which you can do for free with this great post on the Five Cs of professional writing styles.
2. PR For A Start-Up
It doesn’t have to be a start-up, per se, but even doing PR for a small company would be much preferred to working for a corporation. The benefits of doing PR for a start-up are similar to any start-up position: you will get a whole bunch of experience you didn’t sign up for (that’s a good thing), you’ll be a part of a younger, tighter-knit culture and you’ll get to watch a company grow (if you’re successful). Most start-up PR positions will introduce you to writing press releases, leveraging your message, improving company image through branding, etc. On a similar note, you can also do PR for a non-profit, which will satisfy any yearnings to work for a cause or to get your hands a little dirty.
As a communications major, you’re qualified for many entry level jobs in marketing, most notably copywriting, account planning and certain positions in the media department. One of the best things about working for a marketing company is that you get to be surrounded by creative people. This is not always the case for PR or even content writing. But marketing agencies are filled with design majors and other majors in the arts. The team atmosphere also tends to be quite compelling, if at times intensely competitive. Marketing is also a place where talent doesn’t go unnoticed. If you think you’ve got what it takes to become art director or creative director, marketing agencies are dying to find their next great contributor.
4. Account Executives And Sales
You either love sales or you hate it, and your attitude usually depends on how good you are at your job. If you’re a natural conversationalist with an irresistible personality, then you can make a killing in sales while also forming strong relationships and building your own network. It’s a high-energy career, as you meet with clients face-to-face and work relentlessly and aggressively behind the scenes (expect to get involved in market research, sales and marketing campaigns, business strategy, etc.). But if you happen to work for a great company that specializes in something you’re genuinely interested in (as I had the opportunity to do), then sales can be an awesome, collaborative and satisfying career. Again, working in advertising or for a start-up is a popular choice among young graduates.
If you want to get into sales or just improve your performance, then you definitely want to check out this awesome course on compelling communication that teaches you to convince any audience – boss, investor or client – to say “yes!”
5. Health Care
Working for a hospital is arguably one of the most emotionally difficult yet satisfying career for a communications major. You will be responsible for upholding and executing the hospital’s communications’ strategies. Much of this boils down to the fact that there are a lot of terminally ill people in the vicinity who could use a little help making it through another day. While most other careers are best begun at a small operation, I actually recommend going for a larger hospital (although needless to say this is not always the case). A large hospital will expose you to the vast and impressive world of modern medicine. You will be surrounded by incredibly intelligent and well-educated people, all of whom are working to treat the ill and disabled. Hospital buildings might be uninspiring, but the people and patients are anything but.
6. Work For A Professional Sports Team
These are highly coveted and competitive jobs, and for good reason. Who wouldn’t want to work for their favorite sports team? Or even their least favorite, minor-league sports team? No doubt it’s a fast, fun and hectic atmosphere that allows you to shamelessly immerse yourself in the world of sports. Your colleagues will always have something in common and you won’t find many dispassionate people in sports. Helping a team manage their communications is a great way to start moving up the sports ladder, too.
People in sports can be notoriously gregarious. If you really want to pursue sports as a career avenue, consider investing in this top-rated course on how to communicate well and effectively.
7. Social Media
Companies welcome millennials skilled in social media with open arms. You can leverage your communications degree to score a position as a social media manager, where you will manage all the social media platforms and the content that goes along with it. This position requires substantial organizational skills and it’s a lot more work than initially meets the eye. Learn all the basics in brand marketing via social media with this highly acclaimed introductory course to social media marketing. But social media, like content, is still growing and becoming more and more vital to business operations and expansion. Careers at tech start-ups will be extremely competitive, but working for a more established (i.e. older) company might be more amenable to someone with limited experience.
8. News And Radio
You need some charisma and charm if you want to be a news analyst or radio host, but this is one of the more unique careers out there. There’s more to news and radio than most people think. You have to be articulate, you have to be able to prepare stories and content, you have to be able to think quickly so that you are always in accordance with proper etiquette and empathetic expectations. If you have a minor in journalism, or even just a few courses under your belt, you’ll have an easier time finding a position in this surprisingly competitive market.
9. Big Brother
Careers with the government can be pretty sweet, from solid salaries to excellent benefits. Plus there are limitless options for what you can do and where you can work. There are a lot of interesting positions in the government, though undoubtedly you will have to compete with graduates from West Point for more advanced positions. Job security tends to be excellent, too, which is just another incentive for anyone who wants to serve their country. Anyone who wants to learn a little science about how communication works should check out this cool post on the theories and elements of communication.
If we go back to the beginning of this post, we will remember that the beauty of a communications degree is having options. You aren’t nailed down to one position in one field; you have options all over the place. So don’t settle for the first job you’re offered if it isn’t what you want to do. Use your communications degree to pursue the things you love. Even if you don’t get your dream job right away, you can still work for your dream company. Always been into photography? Apply for positions at photography company. Have a passion for music or acting? Get proactive about working for a studio or theater. And if you’re doing what you love, you’ll produce better work and be more likely to rise to the position you really want.
Now all you need to do is land the perfect job. It’s not impossible though, and this five-star class on how to hack your resume to get the job you want can help you write the ideal resume for the modern day job search.