When you tell people you majored in communications, they often give you a quizzical look. You majored in talking or telephones or something? Communication encompasses a lot of ground, and just what is and isn’t a part of it is sometimes in dispute.
But the need to communicate, to inform, inspire and persuade people, is a part of almost every effort of man and many need help doing it. That’s where you come in.
Broadcasting — Be a Non-Star
Traditionally the main engines of mass communication are television and radio. The most prominent jobs are those on mike and camera — the newsreader, the actor, the talk show host, the sportscaster. Those willing to put up with the tough road of rejection and discouragement that leads to these jobs, as well as the difficulty of keeping them once hired, are welcome to try but if you have potential and you know your strength and weakness in this field you can have a great career in this field.
But there is often just as much money and much more demand for those behind the scenes. Can you manipulate camera number six to find the basketball player racing down the court and keep him in the shot until he scores? Can you look at a bank of monitors and decide exactly which camera should zoom in or pan? Can you write interview questions to ask disaster victims; research background information on the Albanian ambassador; create historically accurate knick-knacks for an 1880’s western interior? While these jobs are also somewhat hard to come by, they involve more skill than luck and are easier to keep.
Consider these off-the-beaten-path jobs in broadcasting: Unit manager, technical director, station manager, film librarian, continuity, community relations director, film editor, news director, news writer, floor manager, engineer, technical director, casting director, account executive, and floor manager.
Warning! When searching for jobs in radio, television or movies, always use trade papers or professional Web sites, especially if you are female. Those who advertise for actors and models in the local newspapers, on coffee shop bulletin boards or on general job sites are at best second rate and may not pay, and at worst sexual or financial predators. Most reputable employers require you to have an agent.
In modern times the outlets for communication services have exploded. MySpace, YouTube and many other sites give full range to blogs and videos by ordinary citizens. Inexpensive cameras and editing programs allow even rank amateurs to make and show their own films. It is hard for the talented professional be heard over this whirlwind of voices. But there are legitimate businesses that need writing and other communications for their Web sites. Service providers in education, health and other fields need newsletters, training materials and demonstration videos to keep their customers informed. They may be hard to find, so keep in touch with as many others in your major as you can, as well as professional information sites and publications.You can read more about taking double majors benefits at http://degreesanddebt.com/2014/01/30/it-worth-it-double-major/
Art for Education’s Sake
Making artistic live theater pay is seldom a winning proposition. Shakespeare and Williams play well in a school setting, but the general public is too enamored of their electrical gadgets to pry themselves up from the couch and go to a real play. However, educational theater is thriving.
Schools, health and safety programs, non-profit organizations and even large businesses look to the immediacy of live performance to make their point. Some even have resident theater troupes that they send out to schools, hospitals and clubs. A really good communicator might even be able to assemble a troupe and convince a local library or municipal recreation department to hire them. Often these performances involve audience participation and teaching on the part of the players.
While journalism is a field in itself, there is good crossover potential for competent writers. Newspapers, magazines and the wire services accept a limited amount of freelance work — articles, interviews, and opinion and background pieces. Some writers can make a living as free agents, while others find regular positions by impressing these employers with their skills through the freelance market. Other crossover fields include public relations, education, politics, and social service.
The truth: There are many more applicants than jobs in the communications field. But keep an open mind. Communication is everywhere. It is up to you to find your niche.