Ah, back to school time! I am reminded of those days heading into the fall trying to coordinate class schedules and work/internships. It seems nowadays the stress is even higher with the job market demanding not only great experience with a results-driven resume, but networking just to secure an informational interview. Where does one start?
I like to ask colleagues what their majors were in college and how they moved through their careers in communications. All of us have a different story. I actually started out as an advertising major before switching to journalism. I also worked on event promotions through the Texas Tech student center, was on the yearbook staff, interned in a hospital communications department and worked for a printing company before jumping into my career.
Bottom line is, it is a tapestry that creates a coat of many colors. Every internship, volunteer position and job, even if it isn’t specifically in communications, can build transferable skills and add to work experience. The communications field is wide open!
It is hard to explain to people who are not in communications exactly what it is that we do. “Oh, so you work with reporters?” or “You write newsletters?” or “You promote products?” Yes, all those things…and more. No day is ever the same, and projects can vary from media relations to crisis communication to event/sponsorship activation to digital advertising. It can’t be boiled down so easily, but it is also what makes this career challenging and incredibly rewarding.
So, I encourage those seeking to enter a communications career to jump in. See what experience you gain on every project and build upon it. The more colorful the coat the more patterns you can create. Or maybe through experience you find you like a specific area within the marketing communications field because it ignites your passion. Either way, when you find the right fit, you will know it.