“You’re a communications major? Good luck finding a job!”
“So, do you watch TV all day?”
“But what are you going to do with that degree?”
These were the top three comments people made to me during my undergraduate years. My major, along with the fact I went to a liberal arts school, seemed like the perfect punchline to more practical-minded folks. The internet’s no better—articles like this, this and this have been floating around for years with the same premise: “LOL, have fun being poor forever and living in your parents’ basement, you unskilled slackers!”
Wrong. To begin, communications is a broad field. The definition of a communications major differs from school to school, but it usually encompasses areas of study like traditional and broadcast journalism, public relations, digital media, and advertising. These are all legitimate career options with jobs that pay you in U.S. dollars, not Monopoly money.
“OK, so there are jobs out there. But they don’t pay well!”
Correct. Most communications majors are not going to make six figures the minute they step off the graduation field at age 22. But neither are your fellow accounting, nursing, psychology, social work or biology major graduates. You have to put your time in first. The money comes later.
“I still don’t understand what you do”
As an undergrad, I wanted to be a magazine editor. Explaining my magazine internships was easy enough.
When I transitioned to the field of corporate communications, I settled on this explanation: All businesses run on communication. This includes communication between CEO and employees, communication between the company and consumers, and communication between the corporation and the media. The best products, leaders and ideas mean nothing unless the target audience understands why they’re important.
By training, communications majors can get these points across to anyone. You wouldn’t want Bob from accounting representing your company in the media, just like you wouldn’t want me handling your finances.
The communications field is misunderstood because communicating is something everyone does on a daily basis. It’s time to change that perspective.