Communications professionals play an integral role in most any organization, be it nonprofit, for profit or governmental. The profession has recently diversified beyond traditional public relations and marketing communications as the need for specialized forms of communication has grown. This is due in large part to innovations in digital communications and environments like social media. But the development of different forms of communication has also been spurred by globalization and the complexities of business interaction and collaboration in the modern world.
The study of communications has also changed as the applications of the profession have expanded. Degree programs such as the Southern Utah University (SUU) online Master of Arts in Professional Communication build on oral and written communication theory and practice, further delving into the many forms of communication pervasive in today's global culture. For instance, coursework in SUU's M.A. in Professional Communication covers subjects like digital messaging, visual media, social media marketing, content creation, modern identity constructs and collective understanding.
Developing literacy across these varied subjects is essential for today's communications professional. Plus, communications professionals must inherently know how to interact with people, understand what those people want or need, and communicate the value of the service or product being offered or promoted. This combination of communications knowledge, contemporary digital literacy and interpersonal skills can qualify professionals for both specialized and managerial roles across industries.
Here are five examples of such jobs for the professional communication graduate:
Communications directors often oversee communications in every aspect of an organization's operations. This mainly includes external communications — what is communicated to the public and how that is communicated through advertisements and marketing campaigns, press releases, customer relations, social media interaction and messaging. It may also include interdepartmental communications and employee training on effective communication to promote collaboration, productivity and staff morale.
According to 2019 data from PayScale, communications directors make an average annual salary of $70,239.
Social Media Director
As social media is perhaps the most pervasive means of communication and marketing today, social media management has become an important role for communications professionals. These professionals strive to understand and capitalize on the development of influence and identity driven by social media communities.
The social media director will manage an organization's social media communications, often incorporating media and market trend research to devise and execute effective social media strategies. They ensure that messaging, interaction and marketing through social media closely align with the organization's overall business plan, goals and desired public identity.
PayScale reports the average 2019 salary of social media directors to be $71,882 per year.
The brand manager directs and controls all messaging and advertising to the public regarding a specific brand. The goal of brand managers is to foster and maintain a positive public image for their brands, building positive customer relationships and loyalty, specifically within target markets and potential markets for growth.
Brand managers make an average salary of $70,704 annually, according to 2019 data from PayScale.
Business Development Director
Business development directors are responsible for various tasks within an organization, depending on organizational structure and goals. Many business development directors are primarily tasked with securing funding such as investments for growth opportunities or corporate sponsorships for benefit events. They also develop business relations and networks with other organizations for collaborative development efforts. They may also work closely with marketing departments and brand managers to spread brand awareness via engagement with the public through pop culture events, product placement and relationships with celebrity influencers. The knowledge and skills of a communications professional can also be applied to the business development role.
2019 PayScale data shows brand managers make an average annual salary of $103,933.
Public Relations Manager
Public relations managers generally devise and coordinate the entirety of how an organization relates to the public. They oversee the organization's public image, how information is dispensed to the media, the naming of spokespersons for various roles, the alignment between corporate image, and all marketing, promotion and public communications.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median annual salary for public relations managers of $114,800 in 2018.
The skills, knowledge and basic traits of the communications professional can be applied to many interesting roles in most every industry. With an advanced education in generalized communication practices and specialized applications to emerging communication media trends, this field affords professionals a great deal of versatility and stability in career options.
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