Communications & Media

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All organizations, large or small, regardless of type, need to have their message communicated internally and externally. According to the National Association of Colleges & Employers’ 2016 Job Outlook report, 70% of employers are seeking strong verbal and written communication skills in the employees they hire.

This track is appealing to individuals who value a fast-paced, ever-changing environment. In any position within this field, no two days will look exactly alike. Strong communication skills are obviously a must, but it is also critical to enjoy working with teams and to have the ability to manage many deadlines at once.

Career Information

While many CLA students who wish to enter this Career Field major in journalism or communication studies, the educational background needed to pursue a career in this field is extremely varied. Most entry-level positions will require a bachelor’s degree, but major/area of study is not of utmost importance. Employers will often want to see evidence of your communication ability in the form of writing samples or a portfolio.

Job Titles & Descriptions

O*NET, a free online database, provides career information including job duties, salary, and job growth data for hundreds of careers. One challenging aspect of looking for work in this career field is the wide variety of job titles that can vary across organizations. One advertising agency may call a job a “media planner” while another agency calls the same role a “media strategist” and yet another calls it an “engagement strategist”. This variety is one of the reasons that knowledge of the industry is especially important when job searching. Learn more by exploring organizations in LinkedIn and reading job postings on organizations’ websites even before you are thinking about looking for a job.

Job Opportunities

Below is a small sampling of organizations and their positions that have recruited CLA students in the past. For a more comprehensive list of job openings, search GoldPASS.

  • Account Executive, Weber Shandwick
  • Associate, Bentz Whaley Flessner
  • Morning News Producer, WBAY - TV
  • Community Relations Director, Minnesota Twins
  • Designer, Game Show Network
  • Development Director, Project Success
  • Digital Marketing Consultant, Children’s Hospitals & Clinics of Minnesota
  • Editor, USA Today
Job Search Advice
  • Identify WHERE you want to work. Communication professionals can work in virtually any organization. Explore different types of organizations — where you start your career does not need to be where you ultimately end up.
  • Identify what type of role you are seeking within an organization. For example, in broadcast journalism, there is on-air talent and individuals working behind the scenes. In an advertising agency, there are individuals who are in the creative department, media department, account planning, and account services.
  • The application process for a position in this field can heavily depend on showcasing your skills through a portfolio or writing samples. Make sure you are saving examples of your work, no matter how small they seem!
  • Utilize contacts you know in the field for advice on job searching and for suggestions of contacts at other organizations in which you are interested. Don’t have any contacts? Use the advice below to find some!
  • Many advertising and PR agencies hire interns AFTER graduation, and this can be the only way of entering into those agencies. Think of these post-graduate internships as 3-4 month-long interviews, where you get to explore the agency, and they are also training you and determining if you are a good fit for their culture. Very often, interns are hired on full-time after the conclusion of the internship. These internships often have very unique application processes, and traditional resumes and cover letters will not be as useful here.
Job Search, Professional Organizations & Networking Websites
Prepare for this Career Field

Seek out opportunities, such as those listed below, to develop the 10 core career competencies. Innovation & Creativity, Oral & Written Communication, Digital Literacy, and Engaging Diversity are especially valued in the Advertising, Public Relations, Journalism and Communication Career Field.

Pursue Internships
For a more comprehensive list of job openings, search GoldPASS, a free database of internship, volunteer, and job postings for UMN students.

  • Media Intern, McCann Minneapolis
  • Account Management Intern, Fallon
  • Public Relations Intern, Guthrie Theater
  • Marketing Intern, Mall of America
  • Mass Communications Intern, Comcast Communications
  • Development Intern, Minnesota Zoo
  • Production Intern, Minnesota Public Radio
  • Marketing Intern, First Avenue & 7th Street Entry

Join a Student Group
Get involved with a Student Group. Search for student groups using keywords such as advertising, public relations, journalism, television, magazine, and communication. There are a number of student-run journalism outlets that are a wonderful way to gain experience as a student. Some examples are the Minnesota Daily, Radio K, G-TV, and The Wake. National Student Advertising Competition is a student group where you will have the opportunity to create a real advertising campaign.

The Center for Community-Engaged Learning  has advising staff that will help you get connected to one of the 300+ community organizations that match your interests. HECUA is a program that offers off-campus study that addresses some of the most important issues of our time. Semester-long HECUA programs incorporate classroom studies, an internship, and field work. Many non-profit organizations welcome volunteers to help with things such as their social media channels, event planning, and communication tools.

Talk to Professionals
Networking can help you explore a career field; start by doing informational interviews with people who are in organizations that are of interest to you. Find professionals by utilizing the “professional networking” tab on GoldPASS, using the LinkedIn Alumni Tool, and getting connected to professional organizations.

Take Courses
There is not one major or minor that will prepare you for this field as there are many pathways into this profession. Below is information about undergraduate and graduate coursework related to this field. These lists are not all-inclusive.

  • Explore undergraduate coursework from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Communication Studies, English, Marketing (CSOM), Management Minor (CSOM, but open to CLA students).
  • Explore graduate school programs through