Congratulations! You’ve found your career calling and communications are the word. Deciding on a major – it’s often the hardest decision that college students face once they’ve entered into the wonderful world of higher education. Yet you’ve managed to navigate through the numerous choices and narrow your focus. Congrats!
Now you can begin to build those distinct qualities, learned abilities, and innate characteristics that every communication major must-have. Equal parts personality and practice, a major in communications requires a certain set of skills distinct to the major and subject matter itself. Knowing what those are will enable you to improve and enhance them, affording you the best chances of success both in and out of class.
Here are four skills every communications major should have.
The study of communications is all about rhetoric and the teas mission of messages, both verbal and nonverbal (hence the name). Therefore, individuals who seek to pursue communications professionally must have the ability to speak and speak well. Cited as the number one biggest fear among adults, public speaking is unavoidable in the communications industry and those who find success are those that can do it well. From pitching ideas to fully-staffed business meetings to self-initiated conference calls, being able to confidently and persuasively command the English language will enable you great success post-graduation.
2. Media and Marketing Know-How
Communications, media, and marketing all go hand-in-hand. The various underlying messages transmitted and transcribed across the constantly growing and changing media outlets will be the primary focus of your professional life. Therefore, knowing how to navigate them, how to pick them apart, is key. A thorough understanding of how they work and a critical analysis of their functions is something that can be learned and something that will be required. An innate knack for reaching audiences through these outlets and a general affinity for matters of media, on the other hand, is something you’re born with. Together, these two qualities make for one killer communications major.
3. Critical Thinking
Like most subject matters in upper academia, critical thinking skills are also essential when majoring in communications. Because the field focuses on message both overt and covert, spoken and written, direct and indirect, an analytical mind is a must. This is a skill that can be improved upon with practice, and all of your college courses will likely do that by nature.
4. Research Capabilities
Every professional field requires a fair share of research, and communications are no exception. Knowing your audience is the only way to effectively communicate and send ideas and messages, and as such, requires extensive research, both qualitative and quantitative. The value of a thorough understanding of the various modes and means by which to obtain this critical information should not be underestimated.
Whether you take your degree in communications into the fields of public relations or law, marketing or politics, it takes a distinct set of skills to find success. A full-fledged college education along with the likes of USC’s masters of public administration program or the communications program at Colby College, studying communication in college requires skills both internally driven and externally educated. These are just four that you’ll soon master during your studies.