As one of the most important life skills to learn, it is easy to see why one would aspire to study and work in this field. Communication is the basis of our lives which makes it pivotal in business and professional settings as without effective communication, success would be unrealisable. If you are among that group of people that understands the importance of effective communication and would like to delve into this career field, then continue reading to see more of what this field entails.
What is Communications?
Communications, as a study, shows how individuals, organisations and cultures around the world interact with each other. It enables one to understand how and why ideas and content are generated, disseminated and received, including through successive waves of technological innovation.
Careers in Communications
There are manifold career options in this field and so to assist, we have provided a non-exhaustive list of some of these careers below:
- Marketing manager – in this role, you would be responsible for the marketing of a business or a product which means that your duties may include tasks such as putting together estimates and budgets for marketing campaigns, working with advertising agencies, being involved in negotiations, preparing sales and advertising contracts, and reviewing advertising material such as print material, TV commercials, and online advertisements.
- Sales representative – you would showcase and sell products to businesses, organisations, and governments on behalf of manufacturers or wholesalers.
- Journalist – you would be required to investigate, collect and present information as a news story through newspapers, magazines, radio, television or the internet.
- Social media director – making use of writing skills, a strong aptitude for marketing and an awareness of your company’s marketing and branding strategy, you would promote the company’s brand, products and services via social media networks.
- Speech-writer – as the name suggests, you would a person whose job is to write formal speeches for someone else, usually for politicians
- Human resources specialist – in this role, you would be responsible for hiring and retaining an organisation’s employees by recruiting, interviewing, and hiring job candidates as well as relaying information about about the organisation’s policies and benefits.
- Radio/podcast host – As a radio or podcast host, you would be required to present on different topics depending on the theme of the show. You may also be required to interview guests, moderate panels or lead discussions.
- Video producer – in this role, you would coordinate and manage all aspects of a video production process from start to finish. Specific responsibilities may include helping with creative direction, setting a budget, writing scripts, organising logistics, deadlines, and communicating with the team each step of the way.
- Public relations specialist – as a PR specialist, you would be tasked with creating and maintaining a favourable public image for the organisation you represent by crafting media releases and developing social media programs to shape public perception of the organisation and increase awareness of its work and goals.
There are also some related careers that would benefit from knowledge in communications such as: translator, event planner, and web producer.
Because of the deluge of options in this field, compiling an exhaustive list of job requirements may prove extremely difficult. However, going from the list above, a bachelor’s/undergraduate degree in Communications would allow you to pursue each career listed.
Apart from communications, other degree subjects that can be studied for a career as a marketing manager are marketing, advertising, business administration, or a related field. A master’s degree in marketing or a master’s of business administration (MBA) are also particularly valued in marketing management circles.
To become a sales representative, you can consider obtaining a degree in business, marketing, economics or another related field. Whereas if you are interested in becoming a journalist then your likely best option is to pursue a journalism degree at bachelor’s level. While it is not necessary to have a master’s degree in journalism, it would undoubtedly set you apart if you do have one. You may also obtain a bachelor’s degree in a different subject (like communications) then use the master’s in journalism to transition.
You should ensure that your journalism course is accredited by the relevant accrediting body for your area. In the UK, this would be the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC) and the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) in the USA. The Caribbean does not have its own accrediting body to oversee this area, but it is still necessary that you study at an accredited institution if you are planning to work in the Caribbean in this field.
See the accrediting bodies above for a list of universities that offer accredited courses in both regions.
For a social media director, alternative degree options besides communications would be marketing or journalism. While degrees in English, political science and public policy are among good options for speechwriters along with communications.
If your desire is to be an HR director, then degree courses that you should consider include human resources, finance, business management, education, or information technology. However, if it is your desire to become a radio/podcast host instead, then a degree might not be mandatory – though if you choose to pursue a degree, journalism or communications would be great options.
The popular routes to pursuing a career as a video producer are to obtain a degree or an HND in a media related field (like screen media or communications), or alternatively, to secure an apprenticeship in broadcast production.
Lastly, if a public relations career piqued your interest then a degree in an area such as public relations, communications, journalism, English or business are great options for you.
Other skills and competencies that would benefit you in this field include:
- Communication skills
- Listening skills
- Critical thinking skills
- Research skills
- Organisation and time management
- Problem solving, creativity and innovation
- Writing skills
To see more posts like these subscribe for monthly updates:
How to Stand Out
As far as certifications are concerned, there is a myriad of options available to you depending on your desired area of expertise. For example, you can obtain certifications in marketing, communication, applied research, and digital curation. This certification in public relations is also excellent if that is a career that interests you (we have also linked it in the resources section below). By doing this, you would be enhancing your knowledge and developing your skillset. Browse platforms such as Coursera, Udemy and even LinkedIn to find free or affordable certificates suitable to your chosen career.
Get Hands-On Experience
As with any of other field, experience is essential in setting yourself apart in the recruitment process. For this reason, we highly suggest taking advantage of available volunteering and/or internship opportunities wherever possible. You can try approaching local radio stations for opportunities that they offer – find a list of local stations here. Alternatively, you can get in contact with news outlet organisations in the TCI like PTV8 and WIV news or even newspaper companies Weekly News or the TCI Sun.
For more volunteering opportunities, keep an eye out for WAVES’ launch set for January 2021 as there will be volunteering positions open that you will be able to apply for (including content researchers, presenters, social media editor and more).
You also may contact the Turks and Caicos Government’s Publishing Department to enquire on any internship opportunities they may have available available.
Regardless of what stage you are in in your pursuit of a career in communications, it may be easier to get practice than you might think. Since words are obviously play a colossal role in this field, any activity that allows you to improve your relationship with words and enhance your vocabulary would benefit you tremendously. You can create a blog and commit to writing regularly or simply contribute to someone else’s blog as a freelance writer. You can write newspaper articles surrounding an area that you are passionate about on a regular basis – both the Weekly News and TCI Sun are always seeking contributors from the public to send in pieces for publishing which means that even if you are unable to get a formal internship with them, you can still take up this opportunity.
You can also join the TCI Toastmasters club whose primary aim is to empower people to be effective communicators. Send them a message to find out about meetings that you can attend and how you can join. Similarly, joining any sort of club or group would help you develop your communication skills as you take part, build relationships and take on responsibility so even groups like Rotaract Club, Rotary Club (for people over 30), and Kiwanis Club can serve the purposes of getting practice with communication.
Finally, one of the easiest ways to practice communication is by reading. Every good writer must first be a good reader as every good communicator must first be a good listener. Commit to reading something everyday – whether a book, a speech, the news – something. By constantly reading the words of others, you would instinctively improve your own.
You may find the links at the bottom of this post useful in getting started in this field. Alternatively, feel free to browse our other career topics if you are still undecided or send us a message if you would like more personalised advice. An excellent way to help you stand out regardless of your industry or career is to have a professional and tailored CV/resume so feel free to contact us to help you make your recipe for success once you are ready to take the next step in your career.
Fun fact – The average person in America spends fifty-two minutes each day reading the newspaper. This means that in a seventy year lifetime ( this is subtracting the first fifteen years as non-newspaper reading time), the normal person spends a little less than two years (about 687 days) of his or her life reading the paper.
Learn how to pursue a career in Communications within these regions
Resources: Use the links below to sign up for free online courses and you may be able to get a certificate upon completion (NB. there may be a small fee to obtain the certificates). You can also watch the video lecture on an introduction to communication fundamentals.
‘Improve your English communication skills specialization’ course at Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/specializations/improve-english
Effective communication course at Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/specializations/effective-business-communication
Good with words: Writing and Editing course at Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/specializations/good-with-words
Fundamentals of Digital Marketing at Google Digital Garage: https://learndigital.withgoogle.com/digitalgarage/course/digital-marketing
Professional PR certificate with CIPR: https://cipr.co.uk/CIPR/Learn_Develop/Qualifications/Professional_PR_Certificate.aspx