Communications is an academic career path centered around media, human connection and behavior. This thought provoking career path entails interpersonal relations, social interactions and the ability to effectively communicate cross-culturally. In other words, those who major in communications often have a knack for communicating! However, some may not know what career opportunities await them outside of university living. College is the perfect time for exploration, so don’t wait until you graduate to begin discovering career possibilities.
Here’s some insight into 10 Post-College Career Options for Communication Majors
1. Public Relations Specialist
A PR specialist generates and maintains a positive company image for clients and the general public. This job is crucial, as companies will run into crises or receive negative backlash from time to time. So, this is where a PR specialist can be of service and save them all like a modern-day Superman. Some job duties entail writing press releases, planning and directing public relations programs, helping their clients effectively communicate with the public and outreach to raise funds for their organizations. Public relations specialists must understand the attitudes and concerns of the groups they interact with to maintain cooperative relationships with them.
“My first job post-college was at an ad agency and PR firm where I was hired to work on one primary account, the CT Lottery. It required some days working at the agency, and some physically on site with the client. This experience not only made me sure I was in the right field from an ‘I can do this’ perspective, but it very surely reinforced that from a client-relationship-building type of perspective, I was doing what I was meant to do,” President of Mercury Marketing Communications Melissa LoParco said.
Even after 20+ years of experience in the field she still loves her work. She truly found her niche in PR right off the bat, while others may need to do a bit more of exploration to find where their talents lie. Remain hopeful and be patient, as you will find the right field and your skillset will flourish! In the meantime, stay flexible and warmly welcome all opportunities to gain hands-on experience.
National Average Salary of $63,734 per year
2. Senior Event Planner
If you excel at planning a friend’s birthday party or special event, a senior event planner may be the executive role you’ve been searching for! A senior event planner’s job entails planning (a given), development and proper execution of customer engagement activities. Some activities include, but not limited to: company-wide events, trade shows, annual internal activities and events. This role demands market leadership, building brand momentum and providing unique experiences to really get people invested in the company. People in this position will really need to bring their A-Game and get creative with the event planning.
National Average Salary: $62,565 per year
3. Media Planner
Media planners thrive on demographics. Knowing your key publics and general audience will serve you well in this position, as they remain a key part of most advertising agencies. Media planners put advertisements in the right place at the right time and reach the desired audience for the least amount of money possible. They play a role as key researchers and gather information on people’s viewing and reading habits as well as evaluate editorial content and programming. They determine the potential use of media such as newspapers, magazines, radio, television, billboards, the internet and so forth.
“I’ve been in this field for over 20 years. I started as an assisted media planner, media planner, senior media planner, media director and VP media director, then began my own company. When you’re younger, it’s a little scarier in these positions because you may not have the confidence that I have now. Truly, I think years of experience and doing things and learning different techniques with various mentors is very important in being successful,” Founder and Managing Partner at BCM Media, LLC Brenda McKenna said.
Wherever you go and whatever agency you land on, confidence remains a key part of success and truly sets the tone to a successful and meaningful career. Remember, confidence and cockiness remain two separate ideals. Maintain your confidence and ask your supervisor key questions to better the company in any way you can. At first you may be intimidated by all the uncertainty of the path ahead, but that’s why it’s important to gain experience. With so many positions in communications it’s not very difficult to find your specialty and master it.
National Average Salary: $53,854 per year
4. Social Media Manager
Social media managers jobs involve duties exactly like they sound, but much more detailed than one may think. They oversee representing a company across social channels as the sole voice of the brand. Like PR experts, they know how to generate and communicate brand characteristics in a positive light. Their duties include responding to comments, compiling campaigns and creating key content that will interest their viewers. Essentially, the goal of anyone in this position? To enhance their company’s online presence by improving website traffic and optimizing brand awareness. The most common social media platforms nowadays include Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.
National Average Salary: $50,632 per year
5. Human Resources Manager
Human resource managers master the art of communication. In order to truly succeed, they must not only be effective speakers, but also effective listeners and relationship builders. People in this position tend to plan, coordinate and direct all administrative functions in an organization. Typical duties include overseeing recruiting, interviewing and hiring new staff, consulting with top executives and serve as the mid-ground between the organization’s management style and its employees. Any good HR department will provide an employee-oriented, productive workplace in which employees are energized and engaged. Their importance is often overlooked, but without this department, the organization would be less successful.
National Average Salary: $77,733 per year
6. Brand Strategist
A brand strategist develops position recommendations and guides research among key markets which help define brand elements and the tone being set forth in the public. In other words, their goal entails enhancing the branding of a product or service and developing a marketing plan through the analyzation of current market data. For this position, you want to ideally possess a degree in either business, marketing, branding or communication. In order to find success in this field, it stays crucial to execute stellar communication skills, both verbal and written, as well as leadership skills such as conducting client meetings. If you can cultivate a strong brand, you can help define who you are as a business and judge whether your brand is moving in the right direction or not.
National Average Salary: $101,508 per year
7. Sales Representative
A sales representative interacts directly with their company’s customers during a sales process of a product or service. The goal of a sales representative includes identifying the customer’s needs and wants, followed by pitching relevant products and services to ensure a positive experience. Possessing skills such as product knowledge, strong communication, active listening, problem solving and organizational skills will allow you to find the most success when pursuing this career path. With vast amounts of industries to choose from, remember to hone in on your interests to land in a place where you’ll find yourself both happy and successful. So the next time you receive a sales call, try not to hang up right away and take notes on their strategy and how they choose to sell their company/product!
National Average Salary: $64,834 per year
8. Marketing Coordinator
Exactly as it sounds, a marketing coordinator assists the marketing department of a company in coordinating all its marketing endeavors. They typically assist the director or VP of marketing, completing tasks to help the marketing department reach its goals. Any good marketing coordinator will possess these skills: communication, project management, creativity, analytics, technology and decision-making. These qualities get applied through creating and maintaining creative pieces for marketing materials, coordinating meetings with partners and executives and gathering marketing data, such as sales and trend reports, etc. Your job is to ensure that the director or VP of marketing will reach all of their marketing goals and continue to allow the company to thrive.
National Average Salary: $38,853 per year
Hey Mr. or Ms. Hollywood, interested in the big screen? Scriptwriters write the script for a film or television show. Their main goal—to tell a story in a quick and clear way, while still developing characters and setting(s) in a fascinating manner. Typically, the writer’s tone and language must be made apparent and consistent throughout their writing. Moreover, thorough knowledge of plot devices, film and television show structure and the editing process will serve them well while writing in the major leagues.
“With a degree in communication, I applied to both mainstream marketing and advertising agencies as well as in-house and decided to start with a major agency in New York City because of the depth of experience it would give me. I’ve been a copywriter, creative director, marketing director and scriptwriter. I’ve always had a deep love for writing, so being a scriptwriter was my most enjoyable experience because it was very creative and fulfilling to see things I’ve written put on the air,” Former VP of Marketing John Cerrone said.
A scriptwriter’s success doesn’t necessarily depend on whether or not they possess thorough knowledge of proper English—reading, writing and grammar. Rather, what sets this career path apart from others, such as PR: you must think outside of the box and demonstrate your creative abilities. Don’t get me wrong, a strong foundation of grammar and writing will bode well for you, but creativity and new ideas is what sells. If one of your strong suits include creativity and writing, then consider looking into scriptwriting or copywriting as a potential career.
National Average Salary: $54,960 per year
While Nancy Drew’s character is a detective, she’s also a journalist in a sense. They research, write, edit and proofread for their news stories, features, articles, and whatever writing they may need to complete. While a journalist may find themselves behind a computer screen for a good portion of the day, they may also actively conduct field-work, attend events and interview people for stories; all of this is crucial to gather personal data that’s not been published before. You need to catch the public’s eye by acting fast and being the first to publish any given breaking news event!
National Average Salary: $53,939 per year
Whatever direction you choose to go in, here’s some additional helpful advice from professionals:
John Cerrone, Former VP of Marketing
“My one piece of advice is to be flexible and don’t be afraid to consider opportunities that you hadn’t originally considered.”
Melissa LoParco, President at Mercury Marketing Communications
“Remember it’s all about being the right fit; the right fit goes both ways. As you’re out there as a student looking for your first job at XYZ place, remember that you’re the one that’s also interviewing them to see if it’s the right fit for you as well.”
“Sometimes we want a BMW, then we test drive it, and realize it didn’t drive so great. But sometimes you like the idea of it so bad we buy it anyway.”
“You only get one chance for a first impression; as an employee, I look for someone presenting them professionally on paper and in person, regardless of age.”
Brenda McKenna, Founder and Managing Partner at BCM Media, LLC
“I would suggest looking early so you’re not looking at the same time as everyone else. If you’re graduating in May, you may want to begin in January. I highly recommend to follow-up and send a “thank you” note, because it makes you more memorable and helps you stay ahead of your competitors.”
“Be patient. It’s worth it to pay some extra money have your resume done professionally. Make sure, based on the position you’re applying for, your resume and cover letter touch on points in the job description.”
“First impressions and firm handshakes are everything, as a lot of people don’t do that, and it shows you have confidence in yourself and in the person you’re meeting.”
“I knew I wanted to be in New York City, because everyone is very impressed to have a big city on your resume. I truly believe it’s the hub of everything, so if you can make it there you can make it anywhere.”
“Doing internships was key. In college, I did an internship at a big advertising agency in Providence which was a huge help. I thought I wanted to get into retailing and started at Bloomingdales and was able to rotate to different departments such as PR which was helpful in exploring my interests. Nothing to me is as good as in-office experience.”