7 jobs for communication majors
With the number of traditional media jobs shrinking, communication graduates often must cast a wider net to find employment, says Victor Evans, PhD, an online instructor in the communication program for University of Phoenix.
“I’ve done a little bit of everything, including PR [public relations],” notes Evans, whose previous work experience includes stints with CNN, MTV, local news stations and newspapers. Here, he shares some in-demand communications jobs:
Social media specialist
Whether it’s encouraging citizen journalists to post user-driven content or leading online discussions of current events, people with social media skills are in demand, Evans says. “News outlets are constantly trying to engage with the public through social media,” he explains, noting that he recently visited a local TV station that had just hired 10 people to do social media engagement.
“This has always been a growing area, but now PR is exploding — again, due to social media,” notes Evans, who says several of his students have gotten PR internships to set up social media platforms for businesses.
“There is not a business out there that doesn’t want to manage their appearance and presence online,” he points out. With so many social media sites, he adds, “the PR person becomes very strategic.” For example, he says, a cake bakery should engage on the Pinterest® bulletin board site, as well as the Facebook® social network, while law firms might post advice on blogs or the Twitter® platform.
Other PR disciplines include crisis communications and celebrity image consulting. “Think BP after the oil spill, or [celebrities’] personal scandals,” Evans explains.
Web content developer
Web content professionals produce streaming online video and audio of local events and then do web-based reporting around it, which helps TV stations cover much more than they could via broadcast — and usually more cheaply, Evans explains. He notes that newspapers and radio stations are following suit.
This is a great entry-level option, Evans suggests. Nonprofits and trade associations run large conventions and produce related media content, creating job opportunities for event planners.
“They put together major events and then do media outreach to promote them — often using celebrities,” Evans explains, noting that he has done this kind of freelance work for organizations such as the California Highway Commission and the National Cheerleaders Association.
Corporations of all sizes need to keep in touch with their employees and the public — and that’s where communications pros can find their niche, according to Evans.
“Many companies publish newsletters, memos and [hold] corporate events,” he says. “[Many] large companies do their own video and audio productions,” Evans adds, using the same techniques as mainstream media.
Strong communication and critical-thinking skills are key if you’re interested in human resources (HR). Many of Evans’ former students have found success in the field, he notes. “Think about it,” he says. “Whenever you go to HR, it’s either because you need information or you have a problem.”
Being able to clearly communicate a product’s potential benefits to audiences can make you an effective salesperson. “Whether it’s selling on TV commercials, in print or in person, sales jobs are always out there,” he points out.
While insurance and technology companies are top employers for sales positions, Evans stresses that the media have opportunities, too, noting, “Go to any TV or radio station, and the sales department [can be] twice as big as the newsroom.”