As a Corporate Communications major, I had no idea what I wanted to pursue as a career after school. The majority of my friends dreamt of moving to New York City to work for a prestigious public relations firm or become the next best TV newscaster. Neither of these careers appealed to me, so I had no idea what my post-graduation plan would look like.
I had a lot of passions at the time: writing, fashion, helping orphaned children, fitness, and traveling. I had no idea how my array of gifts and interests could all fit together into a legitimate adult career.
Fast forward 7 years and I’ve worked in the fitness industry, started several businesses, worked for nonprofits in Haiti and the States, and became a life coach. While my diverse careers may not fit the typical mold of a communications degree-to-career path, I’ve been able to use the skills I learned from my communications degree in every single role.
If you, too, feel like a wandering communications major, then this blog post is for you.
Here are 6 tips that I learned in college which will help you land on your feet once you’re out of school.
1. Relationships matter
Making and maintaining strong relationships can jumpstart your career in communications. Get to know your professors, network with other college students, attend student events that could help you to connect with someone in a field that you’re interested in, and don’t be afraid to follow up. Stay connected with people even after you move on from a class, campus, or career. LinkedIn and Facebook are both great ways to stay connected to your peers.
2. Don’t ever stop learning
Your degree will give you a strong foundation in the elements of communications. You’ll carry these with you for the rest of your career, but your education shouldn’t stop there.
The communications industry is constantly changing. New technologies can alter the landscape of communications, marketing, and advertising quickly, so you need to be willing and able to adapt.
One of the best ways to continue your education is through online courses and certificates. As the industry changes, stay up to speed. Be willing to invest your time and energy into learning the newest trends in the communications field. Develop a mindset of growth and adaptability.
3. Choose electives that interest you
As I shared in the story of my untraditional communications career path, having many interests can be used to your advantage. If you’re interested in working with children, take a Human Growth & Development course. If you want to pursue ministry, register for theological coursework.
When it comes time to apply to jobs, you may land your dream gig because of the tools you learned in your electives.
4. Don’t limit yourself to a typical career path
All companies need a communications specialist in some form or another—whether it’s a storyteller for a nonprofit, social media manager for a startup, public relations for a major corporation, or community outreach for a ministry. The opportunities for a communications major are endless.
Do your homework, research careers, ask your parents’ friends what they do, peruse job boards, and keep thinking outside of the box. (If you want a place to get started, check out these awesome interviews from top Communications and Public Relations industry leaders and this list of careers for communications majors.)
5. Pursue internships and make them count!
I had several internships over the course of my college experience. They included handling public relations for an author, interning with a top designer in a major city, and working as a fashion intern at QVC. The biggest takeaway from my various college internships was figuring out what I did and didn’t want in a career.
I was able to get real-life exposure in the careers that I had once idealized, like fashion. I was quickly able to learn that I didn’t want to work in retail, and I didn’t enjoy working for large corporate companies. Check and check. This allowed me to free up more space to find the right career path while I was still in college, rather than waiting until I graduated and choosing a job that wasn’t a great fit.
(Check out this great resource here to find an internship in your area!)
6. Get a mentor
As a communications major, having strong connections can make or break you. Be courageous and reach out to someone in a field that you’re interested in. Ask this person to mentor and guide you as you take steps toward launching your career.
Mentors have a lot of valuable knowledge and experience in their designated fields, and they can use their life and career lessons to give you a head start!
Studying communications can be a truly wise choice, and it’s one that I personally have never regretted. The ability to be dynamic, change industries, and find a stable career are a few of my favorite benefits.
If you love meeting new people, have a passion for telling stories, have a gift for writing, and consider yourself to be a creative person, you will most likely thrive in the real world with a communications degree.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like What I Wish I Had Known About Getting Into Grad School.
Marissa is a Certified Professional Life Coach and a Success Coach here at Unbound. Every day, she helps both clients and students make positive changes in their lives which ultimately lead to greater joy, happiness, and success. You can learn more about Marissa and her vision at her website, The Vine Women.Read more by Marissa