How to Stand out as a Communications Major

Welcome back! Our last foray into this topic was so fun, that we decided to make it a series!  Today, we are going to put the focus on a major that has been growing in popularity as a degree of choice for Public Relations, Human Resources, Marketing Specialists, and more. That’s right, a degree in Communications can open endless doors for the passionate and driven individual.

If you’re reading this post, you may not be at your end goal yet and you’re thinking, what should my first steps be if I want my 10-year life plan to include a prestigious career as a Publicist or Manager for the next big star. If you want to manage a star, you need to be a star. Join us as we cover some key points in helping you stand out above the rest, whether that be as an applicant to an Ivy League University or a current Communications Major figuring out the next steps in your career. With decades of experience under our belt, Opus is here to provide some tips and tricks as well as offer our services as you continue your undergraduate and postgraduate journey. 

In this post, we will cover:

  • 4 tips for standing out as a Communications Major applicant at top schools 
  • 4 tips for standing out as a Current Communications Major

Standing out as a Communications Major Applicant

It all happened so fast, it feels like just yesterday that you were giving your first class presentation as a high school student. Now, you’re giving some real thought to what life will hold for you after you walk across the stage at graduation. After some research, you’ve decided that a degree in communications sounds like something that would help you reach your goals. However, after further inspection, you’ve realized that the application process and the experiences leading up to it, may not be as easy or as straightforward as you thought. For starters, you’re not alone in the realization that a Communications career sound’s like the glass shoe for your personality. It’s time to step up to the plate and convince the kingdom why you deserve the crown. Fear not, Opus is here to lend you a hand and give you some tips.

As you gear up to take the next big leap in your academic career, please consider these tips to help you get accepted into the school of your dreams:

  1. Extracurricular Activities – We will never be able to say this enough, top schools are looking for students who will bring personal experiences and passions to diversify their incoming class. Have you spent your high school career with your nose to the grindstone in all of your classes? That’s great, but, maybe you should consider taking a step outside the box. Remember, thousands upon thousands of applicants will apply with experiences in student council, debate etc. Admissions committees will be looking to see how your experiences differentiate you from other candidates with similar resumes. The further in advance you think about and strategize your involvement outside the classroom, the more you’ll be able to show the admissions officers that you have a passion and a commitment to making yourself a more compelling applicant. Even better? Starting your own club or activity and involving your peers — admissions committees love to see students take that kind of initiative!
  1. Think Outside the Box! – Whereas the classes for a business major may be more centered around economics and management, a communications hopeful will want to explore more creative solutions when beefing up their transcript. A great example of this is Toastmasters. A quick search will show you that this program is typically geared towards adults, however they do offer junior programs as well. Programs such as these, that focus on developing your soft skills can make you stand out amongst a sea of applicants who may still need refinement in these aspects.
  1. Public Speaking – Yes, we know, public speaking is one of high school’s true trials of social strength, and thus, typically are not looked forward to with unbridled excitement. But don’t worry, by the time you hit your second year at your dream university, public speaking concerns may be a thing of the past, the trick is getting there. Like our last point mentioned, you can even seek out classes to give you the tools you need to make your glossophobia as small as an ant. 

The ability to communicate clearly and effectively with others is a critical factor for this academic path. A communications major may find themself more geared towards large scale Public Relations or maybe they find themselves more invested in Human Resources. Regardless of the direction you chose to take, you will be expected to communicate with others and give presentations to groups larger than your AP Biology class. Practice makes perfect and if you can show this to the admissions offices, you will surely make a strong impression.

  1. Build Your Experiences – Those internships we mentioned above? That experience is priceless! As we’ve mentioned before, thinking outside the box will only help you in your career goals as a Communications Major. Show the admissions office that you are quick to adapt and passionate about marketing by taking the reins on your internship’s social media accounts. Experiences like these not only help you develop your voice and can help you narrow down your goals, but shows admissions that not only do you find the industry deeply interesting, but that you can already see a place for yourself within it. 

Standing out as a Current Communications Major

Maybe you’re just starting your second semester or you’re finishing up your fourth! But, you already feel like you’re ready to start thinking about the next step in your journey to becoming the Head Public Relations Official at that major company you’ve been dreaming about. You’ve had enough classes with your fellow communications peers that you know you are in a pretty competitive graduating class. Knowing this, you’ve already realized how essential it is that you stand out as one of a kind. 

Here’s how Opus suggests you get a step ahead of the rest as you journey through your degree:

  1. How Soft are your Soft Skills? – As a Communications major, you’ve already learned that soft skills are critical for success in your degree. Your classes in marketing, conflict resolution, and business writing have served to teach you that not only are hard skills important, but that soft skills are what makes an individual truly stand out. Your interpersonal communications skills will be an immense factor for your future success. Exercise these skills as often as you can and be sure to utilize them when networking with others. 

A great example of the importance of soft skills is in this article by Forbes:

“Today, as companies increasingly need to become more dynamic, interconnected and flexible, soft skills are critical. According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends report, executives now consider these skills important to fostering employee retention, improving leadership, and building a meaningful culture. In fact, 92 percent of Deloitte’s respondents rated soft skills as a critical priority. They noted that an HR leader’s mission has shifted from that of “chief talent executive” to “chief employee experience officer.”

  1. Make Your Pen a Sword – Since high school, you’ve considered yourself a fairly strong writer, and it’s always been something that you’ve taken immense pride in. That’s great! Now it’s time for you to really showcase it. Consider joining the university newspaper or magazine, somewhere where you can have your writing reviewed and maybe even published. Opportunities like this look great on your resume and will intrigue employers as they seek out strong communications professionals. As you’ve learned, communication is more than just talking to someone. Showing that you can articulate your thoughts and discuss various topics on paper is priceless and will only serve to help you as you seek out future employment. 
  1. Show your Marketing Know-How – You already know how important marketing is, you’re a communications major, aren’t you? Your classes on this very topic have given you insight on the best methods to market a product or service to consumers. This is your opportunity to market yourself to potential employers as the best individual for their available positions. Show interested companies that not only are you a strong marketer, but that you are also a great investment. As mentioned in our Business Major post, be sure to keep your social media content professional and appropriate, you don’t want to stand out for the wrong reasons! 
  1. Network Yourself – The motivated communications major can never have too many friends. Talk shop with your peers, professors, career counseling professionals, everyone! A major factor in this degree path is the willingness and genuine desire to engage with others, whether that be via the written word or through verbal engagement. Like a farmer tending his fields, keep your relationships with people strong and be ready to help those in need. You never know, your dream opportunity may be just an email away!

Need help with any of these points? Opus has consultants ready to assist you. Feel free to reach out regarding a free consultation and additional information regarding our services and allow us to utilize our decades of Ivy League experience to help you make the best of your academic and post-graduate career.

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