The field of communication is so broad that some people may shy away from it because there is no set career pathway. Others love the endless possibilities of this major offers. Either way, it is nice to have an idea of what types of career pathways you can choose from when you decide to pursue a degree in communication. Especially since the field of communication is growing rapidly. Some of the different areas that I will talk about in this post that you could potentially work in with a degree in communication are: higher education, law, or non-profit organizations.
There are several positions in higher education such as teaching and research that are quite obvious you can do with a degree in communication, and there are other positions that are a little less obvious such as student support services. There are many great positions in offices such as admissions, financial aid, and student affairs that look for people with a strong communication background. A great way to prepare for a position in higher education are to get involved around campus whether it is in the residence halls, student organizations, or orientation programs. There are many leadership and organizational gained through positions like these and it will reflect strongly on your resume no matter which profession you end up choosing. In higher education, it is especially important that you also gain experience working with people from diverse backgrounds. Taking a class such as intercultural communication or studying abroad are great opportunities to show your openness to working with people from diverse backgrounds and you have some experience working with cultures other than your own. Another great place to gain experience working with people with diverse backgrounds is to get involved in your campus’s Multicultural Center or in the community.
Many communication majors will go into the field with the hopes to go into the field of law. One downside to choosing to go into this field with your communication degree is that you will most likely have to go to law school and take entrance exams such as the Law School Admission Test. If you don’t want to do these things, law might not be the path for you. The plus side is that there are several different jobs that you can get with a law degree other than being a lawyer in a court room. For instance you could work for a non-profit or public interest group or as a mediator in various settings. Different employers include law firms, universities or colleges, or legal clinics also look to hire lawyers. Some tips for getting into law with your communication degree is to choose a minor based on what type of law you would like to go into. For instance if you want to go into corporate law, a business minor might be a good choice. If you want to spend more time in the courtroom, it would be a great idea to get involved in a debate team to gain some experience. Finally, as with any major, it would be a great idea to try to shadow someone in the field to make sure that this is the direction you would like to go.
One area that also loves people with a strong communication background is the non-profit field. The types of positions you might be hired for are management, writing or editing, public relations, and the list goes on and on! To get a position in one of these positions some background in psychology or sociology is always a great idea. Again getting involved in the community is a huge plus when trying to land a job at one of these positions. Chairing a committee or taking on some sort of leadership position are great since a lot of positions (not all) that are available are management-type positions. When looking at working for a non-profit organization it is very important that you do your research and make sure that your values and beliefs align with the values and beliefs of the non-profit. If you know that you want to work for a certain non-profit organization, doing some volunteer work with that non-profit can give you a foot in the door to explaining how you know that your values align with their values and why you want to work for them!
If you don’t know what area of communication you want to go into, it can be hard to know what you can do to prepare for your future job. It’s the double-edged sword of the communication major. You can do so much, and yet, nothing is really clearly defined for you. Developing transferable skills and getting involved on or off campus are critical steps to helping you choose that path in communication you want to take. Exploring your options is also a critical part of knowing where you want to go with your major. By exploring your major you can see what you would be interested in and what you don’t ever want to do. The possibilities in the world of communication are endless!
Of Possible Interest:
- What can I do with this major – Communication Studies (U of TN)
- What can I do with a major in Communication? (UNCW)
- Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
- What are recent UMD grads in Communication doing?