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As human beings, we’d be pretty much nowhere without the ability to communicate. The very basis of our cultures, societies, economies, languages – everything is based on the symbols we all recognize to have common meaning. As such, the study of communications intersects many the other disciplines, such as sociology, psychology, anthropology, economics, philosophy, etc. In the present day, communications studies is one of the more popular chosen undergraduate majors, likely due to the great flexibility that majoring in communications can provide for life after school. Indeed, communications majors can go on to work in just about any field, from acting to research and nearly everything in-between.
Despite the high degree of flexibility provided by the subject matter, a fairly sizable percentage communications majors – about one out of every five – go on to work in a field largely related to their area of study. These positions often fall in the private, for-profit sector, but that isn’t to say that there aren’t positions available in other industries.
The 2011 academic year saw about 83,000 bachelors degrees in communications given, about 4.89% of the 1,715,000 given in total, making it one of the most popular degrees attained behind psychology, health services, social sciences, and the arts.
The job outlook for most communications-related positions is listed good to normal.
It goes without saying that, as a student of communications, one of the chief skills developed as an undergraduate student is that of, well, communication. Because communications studies can span communication at the level of symbolic meanings of single words and sounds to greater structures of mass media, those that study communications become comfortable with not only communicating – speaking, writing, presenting, debating – itself, but also understanding communication itself as a hugely important human behavior, from the theoretical aspects of language to the effects of communication within a given social group
As a result, its likely that as a communications major, you’ve collaborated on assignments and projects, whether they be endeavors of analysis or production. This ability to communicate effectively with others as well as work alongside them as a member of a team – be them classmates, professors, or professionals in the communications industry – will be hugely valuable in the ever-approaching post-graduate job search.
From studying the ways in which we communicate with one another, you’ve come to understand the importance of persuasion and influence in our societies. As a result, you likely understand some of the fundamental concepts behind marketing and presentation, which leads to an ability to market oneself, and one’s skills, effectively. Having taken a close and critical look at the communicative power of the written and spoken word as well as visual presentations, communications majors are well-versed in the very language of relationships, a skill that can be effectively employed in finding a job as well as prospering in your entry-level position and beyond.
Finally, the in-depth investigation of communication performed by communications majors precipitates a honed ability to take a critical eye to many of the situation, relations, and occurrences that many of us take for granted. Teasing apart rhetorical structure and arguments, communications majors apply their critical reasoning skills to understand the power of our systems of communication. As the very basis of most aspects of our lives, to see the motivations and effects of communications can lead to a particularly apt ability to create novel solutions to common, everyday problems as well as craft effective communications – whether they be speeches, advertisements, or press releases – of your own.
Communications majors often bump up against other disciplines in the social sciences, such as sociology, anthropology, economics, psychology, etc. that help to illustrate and ground communication theory. As such, you’ve likely gained new perspectives from taking topical classes in these subjects.
Median Pay: $57,550
A communications major’s in-depth understanding of the cultural climate of the times – and the ways in which to effectively navigate it for a client – can lead to a prosperous fit in Public Relations positions. Essentially, PR specialists act as the middle man between a client and the public, managing the flow of information – speeches, press releases, interviews, etc – in order to cultivate a prosperous public image for the client. After having studied the many channels of media, communications majors not only understand the subject at hand, but can also effectively employ their skills speaking and writing in order to effectively work as a PR specialist.
Median Pay: $45,260
Things get done when people collaborate. Often, it’s as simple as that. And yet, people are also notoriously poor at organizing themselves to do so, and hamstring their productivity as a result. While it’s not a position for the faint of heart, or those who struggle keeping track of loose ends, communications majors can, after four years of undergraduate school, be well-prepared to land an entry-level job as an event planner. Event planners coordinate meetings and conventions, ensure the functionality of written and visual materials, hire speakers and presenters, and so on. Essentially, event planners set the stage for the collaboration that drives much of industry. It’s an important and necessary position that utilizes the interpersonal, written, oral, and organizational skills of communications majors.
Median Pay: Varies By Industry, from $18,500-$87,000
Much like those that go into position in Public Relations, sales is essentially the job of acting as a middleman. Whereas PR specialists aim to keep a client in good standing with the general populace, those in sales essentially aim to do the same between product and consumer. A position in sales is well-fitting for the interpersonal and speaking skills that you’ve honed over the past few years of your undergraduate studies, and necessitates as a back-of-your-hand knowledge of the products that you’re representing.
Keep yourself well-versed in social media platforms and current news channels. Starting a blog, or even a retail job in sales can help add to your resumé for potential employers.