20 Feb A beginner’s guide to starting a career in communications – from the beginner
In an industry this competitive, it’s easy to feel intimidated. There is so much work to be done, and so many people doing it. However, the reality is that this is actually a blessing, because it means experience is especially available to those who can invent it for themselves. You’re sure to get some great ideas from it, and this blog is meant to inspire you. Enjoy.
Should I get a communications degree?
In an academic sense, communications are a social science. University programs are geared towards the theory aspects of psychology, sociology, and some business math. Having a degree will help advance your career when it comes to getting a job in an area of management, supervision, or decision-making roles, but there are other methods of becoming qualified.
Community college programs related to communications will teach you about most workplace media applications, and could also add a specialization or trade to your expertise. A diploma on its own, however, may present limitations in specific fields, but provides you with applicable skills for most tasks.
A post-secondary education of any sort is always a great opportunity for you to explore some of your strengths and interests as well. Knowing these things will prove useful in a job interview setting.
Where do I start my experience?
You might already BE experienced. That’s why it’s important to keep track of the work that you do; communication is far more common than you’d expect.
Create a portfolio
A portfolio acts as a catalogue of all your work experience. These aren’t usually required for an entry-level position, but considering any of your aforementioned experiences will help both you and your potential employers see your strengths.
For example, have you ever done work with a fundraiser? Helped to sell your friend’s products or events? Taking the initiative to promote just about anything counts, as long as what you did is applicable to the jobs you want.
Do volunteer work
This is a great place to start. Many organizations, especially in non-profit, are always in need of communications help without the financial means to obtain it.
Apply for an internship
Want to get paid like a volunteer with more responsibility? This decorates a resume quite nicely, and stands as a true demonstration of loyalty, and networking ability. Interning is a more consistent opportunity for those with (or without) concrete experience.
Accomplishing some of these jobs without pay is also an excellent way to show that you genuinely enjoy the work, and respect its potential.
Short tips for beginning your career
Writing is a time-consuming job, and it can be QUITE tedious. It’s rare to find a genuine talent, so to succeed in the workplace, you will need to focus on your writing efficiency.
Develop a strong network
Your network of professional colleagues will help support and guide you through career related obstacles. You simply cannot get enough friends in this business, so reaching out, maintaining rapports and friendships is crucial for developing your skills and experience.
- To truly succeed you need to be as unique as you are versatile.
- Treat everyone, everywhere with respect.
- Do not let your degree define your skill set.
- Always be open to developing new skills.
- Get efficient with every new job you work.
- The ability to learn and grow will make you an asset.
- You cannot stop learning.
You should look professional online. Your public reputation is extremely important to you and your employers, so a good way to reflect this is by being consistently active online and limiting any content that might be considered inappropriate. This means that your profile should be representing the values a potential employer could be looking for.
You cannot stop learning
I wrote this twice on purpose. Be a sponge. Read blogs. Read news. Read textbooks. Keeping up with this industry means keeping up with the world around you, and proactively adapting to new technologies and platforms means you’ll never be caught off guard.
It should come as no surprise that a laptop is one of many tools in our kit, but this tool, like a pocket knife has ALMOST everything else inside. Some of the most common digital tools are:
- Adobe Creative Cloud
- Microsoft Suite
- Content Management Systems – (WordPress, Squarespace, GoDaddy)
- The Internet
- Our guide to FREE digital marketing tools
Job titles in communications
If you want to start looking for career or volunteering opportunities, we have come up with a list of job titles you should use during your search.
- Public relations
- Social media
- Content marketer
- Digital marketer
- Media relations
- Content creation
- Public awareness
Just remember no matter the career path you choose, it should always be something you are passionate about. And whatever that is, you should always give it your all.