How a Communications Degree is More Versatile Than You Thought

by Contributor on Apr 19, 2012

Unless you’re a hermit, you can spend much of your day with writing, reading, and speaking. A communications major focuses on these activities as well as on public relations, advertising, journalism, corporate training, marketing, and business management. While this path may seem general with a wide-ranging curriculum, you can tailor that communications degree to fit a specific field. All business sectors have a demand for talented communicators who can sell a company or organizational brand in a positive manner. Your degree can provide you with the skills you need to enter a management position in a variety of industries. The following list provides just a few examples of those career choices.

  • CommunicatorBusiness: If your objective is to become a business leader or an entrepreneur, your communications degree can help you analyze a business, create a marketing plan, and develop rich resources for your customers and employees. Communication is key to creating a successful business atmosphere. Top executives work in nearly every industry, and they devise strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals. Many top executives have at least a bachelor’s degree and a considerable amount of work experience in a given field. They use communication to build personal and business networks over time that can help gain a position as a top executive, as well as help make that job easier through delegation and information.
  • Advertising and Promotions: Communication is the underlying asset to any job in the advertising and promotions industry. From advertising specialists to copy writers, and from marketing and media planners to creative directors, this field offers a wide expanse of careers. You can plan, direct, or coordinate advertising policies and programs or produce collateral materials, such as posters, contests, coupons, or giveaways, to create extra interest in the purchase of a product or service for a department, an entire organization, or on an account basis.
  • Public Relations: This career involves communications that create and maintain a favorable public image for employers or clients. Public relations managers and specialists write material for media releases, plan and direct public relations programs, and raise funds for their organizations. A bachelor’s degree is typically needed for public relations manager and specialist positions. Public relations managers also must have related work experience to show expertise in handling often delicate situations as well as promotions.
  • Activist and CommunicatorEvent Planning: Event planning also requires communication specialists, as companies expand their services to bring added value to product placement. This is an exciting career that involves new projects constantly, including meetings, conventions, weddings, parties, and concerts. Event planners delegate responsibilities, but they have a vast network of people and businesses who can provide services and products for events. Applicants or entrepreneurs should have at least a bachelor’s degree and some related work experience in planning. While job opportunities might be best for those with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, the person with the best roster of event specialists on board can prove the best choice for the job.
  • Television and Radio Announcers: If you have a golden voice, you can hire yourself out as a “voice over” part in advertisements until your voice gets noticed. Television and radio announcers speak or read from scripted materials such as news reports or commercial messages. a great deal of confidence in your abilities is required for this job, as even radio announcers often need to meet the public during special events. While verbal communication is key for this career, your posture and nonverbal communication also is important. Some of the exciting career opportunities in this field include community relations director, news writer, actor or actress, comedy writer, talk show host, and broadcasting station manager.
  • Journalism: Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts inform the public about news and events happening internationally, nationally, and locally. They report the news for newspapers, magazines, websites, television, and radio. Employers generally prefer workers who have a bachelor’s degree in journalism or communications and have experience from an internship or from working on a college newspaper. Other internships, such as those with community newspapers, corporate newsletters, and your own blog can help show your expertise with objective communication as well.
  • Theatre/Performing Arts: This career offers executive positions as well as communications experts and actors. Often, in smaller productions, the cast may perform several duties, including lighting, makeup, costumes, and management. Fund raising may be part of the manager’s job, and the manager may often be the producer as well. Many actors enhance their skills through formal dramatic training. Especially in theater, many actors have a bachelor’s degree, although it is not required. Actors usually learn some of their skills on the job; therefore, long-term training is common. Voice actors [PDF] help to bring our favorite cartoon and video game characters to life. They also do voice-overs for radio and television commercials and movie trailers. Becoming a successful voice actor, like other jobs in entertainment, requires strong networking skills. The voice-acting community is relatively small and can be difficult to break into.
  • Business CommunicationsPolitics: From president to local activists, politicians create the laws, ordinances, and practices that color how we live in our world. If you want to be a public face, you need to develop the confidence and skills necessary to become a politician. This means the ability to communicate with prospective constituents. But, you also can apply communication skills as a speech writer, a legislative assistant, a campaign director, a research specialist, or in a public information capacity. Those who work specifically in communications help their legislators get out messages to constituents. Doing so requires assisting the legislator in developing the message. Communications staff members also set up interviews with the media and draft press releases or newsletters that highlight the legislator’s accomplishments and bills that have passed. As a result, they need to pay attention to all issues that the legislator works on.

Other Compatible Careers

No matter which field you choose for your career, that job involves communications. You can seek positions in any industry, including health, social and human services, law, or manufacturing. The more practice you receive on the job and in your career, the better your chances of advancement.

A college career can always prepare students for communication, along with research, writing, debate, and presentations. A communications degree takes those skills further, by honing the psychology behind the writing and speech, and by developing a student’s confidence in how he or she presents that information. Communications majors, no matter the industry, can have more success with their careers than those employees who cannot convey thoughts in an effective and persuasive manner.