6 Ways communications students can jump-start their careers

Posted on 1/18/2016 by Lydia Baehr Public Relations in Internships Career Advice Blog LinkedIn Volunteer Networking Leadership

It's your senior year of university and you are fighting to get noticed. You are a part of the fury of communications students all vying for the same jobs. Move to the head of the pack by using these six ideas to jump-start your careers.

1.       Write, write, & write some more:  Writing is crucial in communications. Take every opportunity to enhance your writing skills. Join your school’s newspaper, participate in extra credit writing assignments or create a blog.

Blogging will not only help you practice your writing but it is also a great addition to your résume. Pick a hobby or a topic you are interested in and start journaling it for others to follow. Weebly, Penzu, Wordpressor Blogger are just a few free sites you can use. 

 2.       Volunteer: You can volunteer in your community, schools, hospitals, pet shelters or any other place looking for someone to help out. 

You can also help a nonprofit group by marketing your communication skills to their company for free. By donating your time to help out with social media or PR campaigns or lending a hand with a school newsletter, you are strengthening your communications portfolio and also building a network to use on your résume.

3.       Network – “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”:  Your skills in communications can take you far, but who you know is also a big part in advancing your career. Join a club, attend networking events or set up a LinkedIn account.

Create a LinkedIn profile to network with your classmates, professors and communications professionals. Ask your professors to write recommendations or your classmates you've worked with on projects to endorse you. Utilize LinkedIn to also follow companies you are interested in, add your university courses, update your work experience and join your university group's LinkedIn page. 

4.       Intern:  Finding an internship or multiple internships is a great way to build your network, strengthen your communication skills and is a great addition to your résume.

Reach out to your university career counselor for help to find a suitable internship. Your counselor will usually have a list of internships available within your major.  Make sure to stand out during your internship by sharing new ideas, showing you can be a leader and by taking on more tasks. Establish relationships with your colleagues to add them to future references. Before your internship ends make sure to speak with your boss or the HR department and let them know if you are interested in a permanent position within the company if one becomes available.

5.       Lead by example:  Employers love people who aren’t afraid to lead. In the communications world it’s all about new ideas and how to implement them and employers need leaders to do this.

Find ways to become a leader within your university or community. Start a club at university, set up a communications tutoring group or mentor others. 

6.       Market yourself : Marketing is a crucial part of communications. Knowing not only how to market a brand, but also yourself, is an added skill to your communications portfolio. 

Think of yourself as a brand. If you can manage your own brand, an organization may let you manage theirs. 

What are your brand’s goals? Where do you see your brand in the next five years? How will you develop your brand? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you market yourself. 

There will always be a demand for communications graduates with writing skills, who step up, show up and lead.