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  • Communications Majors: Classroom to Career

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    As a soon–to–graduate communications major, you may be wondering what to do after college. The good news is that your degree has prepared you for success in many professional fields. Communications majors are often highly attuned to current events and the world of media, they have strong public speaking and presentation skills and they know how to write well and craft convincing arguments. These "soft skills" will make you valuable to many employers, as will the "hard skills" you may have picked up over your four years in college, like web design, Photoshop or statistical research.

    Here's how you can describe your skills and turn them into quantifiable experiences for your resume:

    You are a media and marketing expert.

    You've learned to think critically about different forms of media and are keenly aware of underlying messages. You also know how to reach different audiences with your information or product. Given the importance of media and marketing in many industries, your expertise in these areas will definitely help you land a job.

    • Seek an internship at a local network television station, or check out the opportunities at your college radio station or newspaper.
    • Campus offices such as Resident Life, the Student Learning Center or the Career Center often hire students to help lead marketing initiatives on campus.
    • Land a position as a campus representative for a media company like Apple or Vault. You'll get an inside look at the methods companies use to reach young people.

    You are a practiced and persuasive public speaker.

    Communications majors understand that research and enthusiasm can mean the difference between facing an engaged audience and staring at a room full of thumb–twiddlers. Whether you have to pitch a concept to your boss, lead a conference call or simply interact with a customer, strong public speaking and presentation skills will be integral to your success after college.

    Develop this skill outside of the classroom:

    • Join your college's speech and debate team to gain experience crafting and delivering a compelling argument.
    • Lend your voice to a student organization. Campus clubs are always looking for members to reach out to other students and organize social or community service events.
    • Become a peer tutor. Tutoring or instruction of any kind, not surprisingly, is one of the best ways to develop your communications skills.

    You have strong quantitative and qualitative research skills.

    Without research data, a marketing team can't identify its target audience, lawmakers can't create effective public policy and reporters would have to rely on hearsay. Your understanding of research methods will be a valuable asset for employers, whether you choose to pursue a career in academia, media, politics or marketing and public relations.

    Develop this skill outside of the classroom:

    • Snag an undergraduate assistantship with a faculty member whose interests align with your own. Many schools offer credit for academic research.
    • Seek a summer job with a consulting firm. These firms are interested in any brainy student who understands how to crunch numbers and translate their findings into layperson's terms.
    • Many think tanks and research institutions offer internships for undergraduates who want to help collect data on important public policy issues, from drug abuse rates in the United States to the effectiveness of humanitarian aid programs abroad.

    That communications degree was a smart choice – whatever field you chose to pursue, you've developed skills that will help you excel. Understand how to sell those skills and you'll be able to successfully transition from undergrad to working professional.


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