How to Start Your Career in the Communications Industry
October 7, 2019
When I was a freshman in college, I felt left behind by my peers, because I noticed some of the students in the communications major had already had an internship in the past. As a new student, with minimal experience in the communications field, it was hard to find an internship. I stressed over it a lot, wondering how these students were able to go above and beyond with their education and professional development.
After coming to terms with the fact that everyone has a different path towards success, I was able to calm my nerves. I was then able to focus on my goals, rather than comparing myself to others around me. Now that I am a sophomore, I have found several ways to practice my abilities in the field of communications. By practicing my knowledge with real-world tasks, I can see what I am good at and more importantly, what I need to improve. Here are some tips that you, as a new student, might find helpful to start your journey of being a professional.
1.Join a campus organization that is relevant to your major and future career.
One of the benefits of being a student at a huge college is that you have plenty of campus organizations to choose to from. It is helpful to participate in organizations and club fairs at the beginning of the year as a way to familiarize yourself with what is offered. Another resource that provides ample help is the OSU student organizations website. In addition, many campus buildings provide bulletin boards with related organization and job offerings. You will be surprised by how many fliers you can find of organizations that are related to your major! As a communications major, I highly recommend joining The PRractice, our student-run public relations organization that offers you the opportunity to work with various clients and helps build your portfolio.
2. Do not turn down opportunities, even if it is not your dream job
It is easy to get in the mindset of only wanting to do the job that you are so sure you want to do in the future. However, most students do not realize that there is so much more that you will be able to learn from all kinds of internships. It can be, and is not limited to, communication skills in a business setting, networking with other employees and supervisors, learning to present a project during a meeting, and so on. There are complementary skills that you learn for all jobs, and these can be learned through an internship that is not your first choice.
This past summer, I interned at a social media company, helping to do video editing and scriptwriting. Even though my focus of study was not on either of these two things, I cannot stress enough of how much I learned in a professional environment. First of all, I got to improve my video editing and scriptwriting skills. Both of the skills are valuable assets that I can put on my resume and present to my future employer. Second, I got to network with some of the most talented people in the social media field. The relationship I have with them was professional, and now it is more personal. It is extremely beneficial to be able to know someone personally in the communication industry. There is a chance that the next internship you get will be through any of these people’s recommendation. Once again, do not turn down an opportunity just because it is not your first choice of an internship!
3. Actively look for new opportunities and do not give up easily
As a new student on campus with little experience, you will likely get turned down by a lot of internship offers. However, this is a normal and common phenomenon. Do not get upset over the rejections, rather look at the experience as practice for your next interview. Most likely, you are capable of the tasks they listed on the hiring website, but you need a place and opportunity to prove that you are qualified. There are many factors that go into hiring decisions, and an overwhelming number of them are unrelated to your abilities. I suggest that you do not give up, and keep submitting your resume to all the companies that you are interested in. It is not going to hurt you by not being accepted to an internship position. Yet, you will never get one if you give up trying. Personally, I want to be a professional event planner in the future. In order to gain experience, I submitted my resume on Handshake to several different departments on campus. After getting several rejections, I surprisingly got the offer from the place that I want to work at the most! Therefore, you never know what will happen until you give it a try.
4. Build and Update your resume along the way
College is a place where internships and jobs become a more serious topic. It is important for you to start to build your resume as soon as you enter college. Do not stress about it at the beginning; start the process slowly, reducing the pressure on yourself. Use an online resume app to make yours look professional. Ask for help with building your resume from your advisor, professors, student writing center, or whoever has the interests and abilities to help you with it. Also, It is okay not to have a lot of experiences to write on your resume when you begin; remember, we all have to start somewhere!. Follow the first three steps of this article, and update your resume when you finish a task, project, or internship. Writing a professional resume may take some time, however, it gives you the knowledge that you can use later on when you are applying to post-graduate jobs.
I want you to remember that any experience is good experience. We all learn and grow at different rates, and just because you may feel you are two steps behind everyone else, does not mean you will not make it to your end goal. It is important to be positive and active along the way of searching and experiencing the opportunities, since they all help to contribute to your valuable asset.
Chloe Wang is a sophomore from Beijing, China. She is majoring in Strategic Communication and Operation Management. She is an account associate for The Practice, a member of PRSSA and a member of American Marketing Association. She would one day like to be a professional event planner and own her own company for event planning.