Communications & Media Career Field
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All organizations, large or small, regardless of type, need to have their message communicated internally and externally. This Career Field 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 of course a must, but it is also critical to enjoy working with teams and to have the ability to manage many deadlines at once.
Most entry-level positions will require a bachelor’s degree, but a 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.
Click to expand each gray box below for opportunities in this career field!
O*NET, a free online database that provides career information including job duties, salary, and job growth data for hundreds of careers to start exploring careers in this field. 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 on LinkedIn and reading job postings on organizations’ websites even before you are thinking about looking for a job. You can also watch career profiles of professionals in this field, including UMN alums!
Job Titles & Descriptions
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 Handshake, a free database of internship, volunteer, and job postings for UMN students.
Account Executive, Weber Shandwick
Associate, Bentz Whaley Flessner
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
Social Media Specialist, Coegi
Account Coordinator, Avani
Media Services Specialist, Merkle
Reporter, Amery Free Press
Junior Editor, Manzama
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 this career field.
Internships and Part-Time Jobs
Below is a small sampling of organizations and their positions where CLA students have done internships and part-time jobs in the past. For a more comprehensive, search Handshake, a free database of internship, volunteer, and job postings for UMN students or search for on-campus jobs.
Editorial Intern, Tiger Oak Media
Reporter Intern, Star Tribune
Global Communications Intern, 3M
Editorial Intern, The Wake Magazine
Operations Intern, All Over Media
Technical Writer Intern, Graco
Content Creator, Odyssey Online Journal
Events Intern, Do Good Events
Marketing and Communications Intern, Fox Sports North
News Intern, WCCO
Marketing Intern, Minnesota Daily
Writing Intern, Magenta Publishing
PR and Marketing Intern, Vicarious Productions, Inc.
Social Media Intern, The Black Sheep Media Company
Marketing Intern, First Avenue
Summer Intern, Fast Horse
Public Relations Game Day Intern, Minnesota Vikings
Publishing Intern, Greenspring Media
Journalism Intern, The Borgen Project
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 opportunities that address some of the most important issues of our time. Semester-long HECUA programs incorporate classroom studies, an internship, and fieldwork. Many non-profit organizations welcome volunteers to help with things such as their social media channels, event planning, and communication tools.
Consider getting 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. Student groups are typically open to individuals from any major, so make sure to explore student groups outside of your own major for ideas.
Job & Internship Search Advice
Identify WHERE you want to work. Communication professionals can work in virtually any organization. Explore different types of organizations, but know that 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! Things you do for a class or student organization are very valuable examples to share.
People who work in the Advertising, Public Relations, Journalism & Communication fields tend to be very well-connected to others in the profession. 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 & Internship Search Sites
Handshake - search this free database of internship, volunteer, and job postings for UMN students, you can filter by your career interests to find opportunities that connect with your career goals
Building relationships, also known as networking, is another important strategy, click the "Building Relationships" gray box below for advice for how to approach this!
Talk with and Observe Professionals
Networking can help you explore a career field; start by doing informational interviews which is when you set up a time to have a discussion with people who are in organizations or professions that are of interest to you to ask questions about their career path. Then, find opportunities to observe (or Job Shadow) these professionals at work, so you can get a better sense of what that career would be like. Find alumni and professionals to speak with by searching the free to use Maroon & Gold Network which allows students to do highly tailored searches to find alumni and professionals in the community who share their specific career interests. For example, you can browse the network to find individuals who are willing to share insights by industry, college, major, degree type, employer, location and more. You can also find contacts through using the LinkedIn Alumni Tool and professional organizations.
Get involved with one or more professional organizations to gain career insights, search for jobs and internships, attend conferences, and/or connect with people in this career field.
"Lean into the ever-changing industry. The marketing industry is constantly changing as new, diverse voices are becoming more represented and technologies continue to evolve. Be open to new experiences and keep on top of the latest trends, news, and developments to stay ahead of the curve." -The BrandLab representative
"Invest the time and energy to build your personal brand and be confident in your authentic self. Embrace the power of active networking and connection building; Set up informational interviews; Reach out to anyone that may have an industry connection; Use social media to engage with individuals and companies; Attend local networking events." -The BrandLab representative
Below is a list of some CLA courses that may help you explore and/or prepare for this career field. This list is not all inclusive. Please discuss your academic and career interests with your Academic Advisor for guidance.
Nearly all JOUR “skills” courses have some career elements in them.
Advanced Electronic Media Production, COMM 3204
Interviewing and Communication, COMM 3422
Internship for Academic Credit, COMM 3896
Producing for Television: Theory and Practice, COMM 4204
Into to Editing & Publishing, ENGL 3704
Literary Magazine Production Lab II, ENGL 3712
Internship for Academic Credit, ENGL 3896
Screenwriting, ENGW 4205
Internship for Academic Credit, CSCL 3896
Fundamentals of Digital Filmmaking, SCMC 3201
Internship for Academic Credit, SCMC 3896
Editing, Critique, and Style, WRIT 3441
Technical and Professional Writing, WRIT 3562W
Project Design and Development, WRIT 3672W
Internship in Technical Writing and Communication, WRIT 3896
You may also consider taking courses in journalism, mass communication, communication studies, management, leadership, and/or English. There is not one major or minor that will prepare you for this field as there are many pathways.
For a deeper study on a specific discipline within this field, you may want to consider graduate school programs to enhance your expertise, or in some fields open up more job advanced job opportunities. Faculty in your department are fantastic resources to solicit information from. Additionally, you can search for graduate school programs use the Grad School Directory or Peterson's Guide.