In this week’s guest post, Megan Rule gives some tips for individuals interested in pursuing a career in the Communications field.
Written by Megan Rule
So, you want to major in communications in college? That’s great! Majoring in communications was one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made. Hopefully this helps you decide whether it’s for you!
A little background first: I actually majored in journalism at Baylor University, and graduated in May of 2019. I am currently halfway through my master’s program at Georgetown University, pursuing a Master of Professional Studies in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. While I was at Baylor, I served as a communications intern at Lockheed Martin, and found that I enjoyed the public relations aspect of communicating more than I did the journalism aspect, which brings me to my first point.
- You need to enjoy and be passionate about communications if you want to major in it. With anything, it needs to be something that gets you out of bed in the morning and leaves you feeling fulfilled when you go to sleep at night. If doing your studies and going to work feels like a chore, then maybe it’s not the right path for you. There are many days where communicating can be hard, overwhelming and stressful, so if you aren’t passionate about it from the start, those hard days will be significantly harder.
- Get experience however you can. I worked as a staff writer and then opinion editor for my college newspaper, along with communications internships and freelance work to decide what job felt right for me. Had I not had those experiences or tried things out at least once, I may not be in the position I’m in today. Even as I went through job interviews upon graduation from Baylor, I always said I was open to new niches and didn’t want to close any doors to any aspect of communications. You never know which shoe will fit perfectly if you don’t try them all on at least once. It doesn’t have to be a full-time job or internship to help you decide. You could do freelance work or shadow a professional or even chat over a cup of coffee. Whatever you can find that will give a little more insight on what a typical day in communications looks like will help give perspective and help you see if you can picture yourself in that role.
- Relationships matter, and that stems from what I just said – reaching out and making connections to get your foot in the door. In my day-to-day communications job, I always find myself needing to send an email to that one person we worked with a few months ago, or picking the brain of someone else to help guide our strategies and work. Especially when trying to get a message out, having connections and relationships with people in the media comes in handy. Working with someone you have fostered a connection with is a lot easier and more enjoyable than constantly reaching out to people that wouldn’t know you from a hole in the wall. Even in school, crafting relationships with professors and professionals that can help you is so important. You never know when you’ll need a second set of eyes to read over something or a letter of recommendation for a new job. Without relationships, communicating feels like working with a brick wall.
- Never stop learning. Even as you finish your studies in school, there’s always something new to acquaint yourself with. Over the past five years between starting college and today, so much has changed and new schools are being required. When I started college, writing for an online audience was the emphasis. Now, data analytics and understanding the numbers behind communications is the trend. Just because you finish school doesn’t mean your brain stops craving new information. View every opportunity as a chance to learn, and never close yourself off to the new possibilities out there.
I hope this provided some context and clarity for you. Studying communications is exciting and I’m glad I went after my dreams and passions. As you enter this new stage in life, I’ll leave you with my last tip: Be a sponge – absorb everything and don’t be afraid of getting your toes a little wet as you explore the opportunities out there.
Megan Rule is a communications professional located in the Greater New York City area. She is pursuing her masters in public relations and corporate communications at Georgetown University, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Baylor University. While at Baylor, she ran D1 cross country and track, worked for The Baylor Lariat and Focus Magazine, and got involved in the Waco community.