Strategies For Finding The Jobs

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There are an estimated 3.6 million active corporations in the United States. While not every one of them provides a setting in which communications majors would prefer to work, enough do.

Scan the Help-Wanted Ads

The traditional job-hunting method-reviewing help-wanted ads-seldom reaps rewards for the new, inexperienced grad. Most job advertisements are for specialists with time and experience under their belts or for pre-entry- level clerical jobs that might not offer enough exposure to lead to promotion. However, the want ads should not be ignored. The plum job you are perfect for could crop up in next Sundays paper.



Knock on Doors

Knocking on doors is what experts advise. Find the firm for which you would like to work, and become a familiar face in the personnel department or front reception area.

Join Professional Associations

Professional associations often maintain job banks. The journals and newsletters they publish usually feature job advertisements. And the regional or national conferences they hold often have job clearinghouses with recruiters in attendance.

Find a Mentor

Your alumni association can put you in touch with professionals who might be able to give you leads.

Check with Your College Department

Don't forget to inquire at your communications department office. It is not unusual for a corporation to call a university and ask for a list of graduating seniors. The jobs they are seeking to fill might also be announced on department bulletin boards.

Register with Your College Placement Office

College placement offices and career service centers can also provide good leads for your job search. While some employers contact individual departments directly, others send their job openings to the placement office or career counselor.

Hit the library! Directories galore list professional associations, public rela-tions firms, and corporations by industry. Make friends with your reference librarian and bring plenty of change for the copy machine.

A glance through the list will show the variety of professional associations active in the world of business communications. Most offer booklets and pamphlets free of charge or for a nominal one or two dollar charge. Many of the associations listed provide job placement services and publish career- oriented journals and magazines. Visit their websites or drop them an E-mail or note for more information.

Military

The military uses both civilian and noncivilian personnel in a variety of communications activities, from promotion and recruitment to public information and intelligence.

Public information officers (PIOs) deal with the community, media, and internal communications, usually in the form of base newsletters or other military publications. Intelligence agencies, both at home and abroad, employ communications specialists expert in gathering data and channeling them to the appropriate offices.

A stint in military communications is a career in itself or an excellent stepping stone to the corporate world.

Utilities

Utility companies no longer sit quietly in the background going about their business of providing power. Environmentalists (and the PR professionals who work for them) have raised public awareness to the dangers of potential and existing environmental hazards. PR professionals employed by utilities keep communication open, instituting programs to work with the community, and documenting and explaining their impact on the environment.

Communications majors in this field need to be skilled negotiators, as comfortable with a computer as a microphone.

Labor Unions

Labor unions recognize the importance of building support for their programs and positions. Major unions and their affiliates operate news and speaker bureaus; publish a variety of newsletters, reports, and brochures; and offer educational programs to civic groups and schools.

A communications major at home in this setting can find a satisfying lifelong career.

Hospitals and Medical Centers

The health care industry-and it is an industry-has a growing need for communications specialists to fill many of the same roles they would in the corporate world. With changes in national health care policies, the need for specialists in public relations, community affairs, marketing, and other related areas is on the increase.

Possible settings include:
  • Government-funded agencies (such as the Centers for Disease Control)

  • Health advertising agencies

  • Hospitals (both private and community based)

  • Outpatient medical centers

  • Pharmaceutical companies

  • Professional schools of medicine

  • Rehabilitation clinics Residential treatment facilities Volunteer health organizations
Job titles and responsibilities are similar to those in the corporate world. The main skill being sought is the ability to communicate effectively.

Here is an actual job advertisement for a position utilizing communications skills in a health care setting:

As you start your own job search, you will see that the employment possibilities health care settings offer for communications majors are broad and stimulating.

RELATED OCCUPATIONS

The skills that communications majors possess are valued in a number of related professions. The following is a small sampling of occupations that draw on similar skills to a greater or lesser degree.

WORKING CONDITIONS

Corporations, public relations firms, and other possible employment settings are usually busy, hectic places. There are deadlines to be met, phones ringing, and visitors arriving, resulting in work schedules that are frequently interrupted. PR people and all the other corporate communicators put in long and sometimes irregular hours. Once a project is under way or a crisis needs to be resolved, the work seldom stops until the job is done.

Employees of nonprofit corporations, associations, and charitable organizations report to a calmer work atmosphere, but the pressure is on there as well. These organizations have the same need for effective communicators but a lot less money to accomplish their goals.

Workloads in the different settings will be varied, too. You could be hired to conduct a weeks workshop on effective speaking and listening skills designed particularly for the phone company, and when you're finished, there's the company report to work on, letters to write, phone calls to return, meetings to attend, research to be done. The pace can be exhilarating and challenging to some, stress-producing to others.
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