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So you want to work in Communications?

Communications specialists may create and maintain positive relationships internally between management and employees through the use of in house communication strategies or externally between their clients and the public, often using media outlets. Also referred to as public relations specialists, those who work on external relationships establish positive associations with the public and mass media on behalf of their clients, producing press releases and managing public events. They can be hired by businesses, government agencies, nonprofits or individuals. The role incorporates a variety of skills from different fields like journalism, marketing and business administration.

As well as drafting and sending press releases and organising events where their clients can increase product knowledge or awareness, communications specialists may also propose and manage advertising and handle incoming requests for information from media outlets. The general goal is to promote cooperative relationships either in house through internal communication policies or externally between their clients and those who use their clients’ services.

The industry is growing as organisations become more aware of the importance of maintaining positive relationships with consumers. The recent explosion of social media has also made communications specialists particularly relevant and valuable.

Types of jobs in the Communications industry include:

  • Journalism
  • Social Media
  • Writing, Grant Writing, and Technical Writing
  • Advertising
  • Foreign Relations
  • Public Relations

Personal Skills

Five key skills that will help you score a job in the Communications industry:

  • Articulate, confident and professional speaking abilities
  • The ability to listen empathetically and speak persuasively
  • Good creative or factual writing skills
  • The ability to speak in public, to groups, or via electronic media
  • Excellent presentation and negotiation skills

Interview and Job Hunting tips

  • You may be asked about any experience you have with the media or news outlets. Prepare an example of a time you reached out to the media to publicise something. Explain the methods you used and the results of your efforts.
  • If you have any contacts in the media industry prepare a brief list
  • Bring samples of your writing or editing. Be prepared to answer questions on the goal and target audience of each piece.
  • Be ready to talk about any social media experience and how you’ve achieved results online.
  • Prepare an example of a time you successfully handled a crisis communication situation, like a recall, consumer complaints or an accident. Break down your step by step procedure on how you would work with management and the media during a crisis.