If you’re like most professionals, you’re pursuing your degree to advance your career. For many, this also means pursuing new job opportunities. But finding the elusive “perfect” communications job can be challenging, especially in today’s competitive market.
Finding a Job with a Communications Degree
Websites such as Indeed, Monster, and Jobing are certainly well worth exploring, but these mainstream sites often attract hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of applicants, meaning your chances of getting hired (or even an interview) are limited. Ask yourself if you want a job that’s being marketed to the masses, or if you’d prefer a more customized position that focuses less on your résumé’s keywords and more on your specific talents and expertise. If the latter is what you’re seeking, here are some helpful tips:
1.) Realize that some of the best jobs are never advertised
These positions are known to only a select few – people who know people who can fill these jobs quickly and efficiently. Your goal is to leverage your sphere of influence to reach these influential contacts.
What used to be “six degrees of separation” is now 3.5 degrees, according to Facebook. This is good news for job seekers looking to expand their networks.
2.) Leverage sites that connect employers and communication job candidates
For websites such as LinkedIn and Plaxo, it’s critical that your online profile (a) tells your story in a compelling and professional manner and (b) includes your best work samples. Be sure to include hyperlinks, photos, videos, and plenty of testimonials.
3.) Find out who in your network knows someone who can make an introduction
If you’re asked to submit a résumé, consider sending a hard copy rather than (or in addition to) email. Use FedEx or UPS to ensure delivery and to underscore the importance of your communication. Avoid boring white bond paper and the Arial font and utilize fresh graphic design elements to make your materials pop (more on this in a future blog).
4.) Use professional associations for expanding your network
Many associations related to communications have job boards and career services exclusively for their members. By joining or engaging with these associations, you can better position yourself to land a job of your choosing.
5.) Attend local functions and serve on boards and committees
Demonstrating your skills and leadership abilities by volunteering and spearheading projects is a very effective way to get noticed - and hired.
6.) Provide gratis or pro bono services
This may include a few hours of consulting or the execution of a small project that showcases your talents. Remember, it’s very difficult for any organization to turn down free services. Even if you ultimately don’t get hired, you can ask the employer for a testimonial and referrals to other key contacts. At the very least, you’ll have gained additional experience and developed another sterling piece to add to your portfolio. These can help put you in front of other executives, one of whom will likely be your next employer or client.
Learn More About Communication Careers
The online Master of Science in Communications degree program offered at Purdue University prepares you for a number of career paths. The program focuses on crisis communication, social media engagement, public relations theory, professional writing, and communication ethics.
*The views and opinions expressed are of the author and do not represent the Brian Lamb School of Communication.