Majoring in communications may not require a lot of math and may seem easy, but trust me— you still need to put in work.
You still need to attend class, take notes, do homework, study, etc, as any other student would. As journalists, we are reporting stories and telling people’s truth, so it's very important that we have our "A" game on. Communications itself is a competitive field, so it’s always best to work your hardest to achieve that career job you want. Below are six helpful tips that can help you throughout your journalist journey.
1. Familiarize Yourself with Current Events
No matter what your future career job is, it’s important to know everything that’s going on around you. Journalists know a lot, right? Stay updated with current events. Turn on your television to watch the news, follow different news outlets, radio stations or journalists on social media and download some news apps. I suggest reading articles from “The Associated Press.”
2. Obtain an Associated Press (AP) Stylebook
Speaking of The Associated Press, this book is very important and will help you throughout your journalist journey. If you currently do not have one I recommend you get one. It’s a book that helps with English grammar style and usage so that you can write just like a real journalist. It’s available on platforms like Amazon, E-Bay and Barnes & Noble. However, I would recommend getting the 2018 version! Expect a new one in June of 2019.
3. Read and Write Daily
As journalists, we need to read, read and read some more. Then we need to write, write and write some more. You can read books for pleasure, but read those current event articles, too. The more you read, the better writer you will become. As stated before, “The Associated Press” is where you can read a whole bunch of current event articles and the Associated Style Pressbook is where you can learn the rules of writing as a journalist.
4. Practice Your Public Speaking Skills
As a journalist and communication major, you will have to learn how to speak effectively and speak to large and small crowds. You will or might have already taken a public speaking class in college, but it’s important to start or continue practicing your public speaking skills. Sometimes our nerves tend to take over, but don’t let them become an obstacle. Practice speaking in front of your mirror, with friends or family members or even have someone record yourself speaking and then watch it. That way, you can look at your body language and see what you need to improve on overall.
5. Network Like There’s No Tomorrow
I’m sure many have heard this before, but it’s the truth. It’s not about what you know, but about who you know. Develop relations with people, not just contacts. It won’t do you any justice just by obtaining these contacts. It’s important to develop relationships with people in your field because you never know they can offer you a scholarship, internship or maybe even a job after you graduate. Knowledge is power, but building relationships can help you become stronger and successful.
6. Obtain a Mentor
Everyone needs a helping hand. Find someone who can be your mentor to help guide you. Your mentor should be reliable, trustworthy, honest and someone who majored in communications or works in your future career field. These mentors can help you to gain more knowledge and experience.
Overall, I hope these simple and important tips will do any communication major justice. Follow these tips and you will be on your way to a successful journalism career. Remember, we are telling people's stories, so let's keep our "A" game on. Good luck on your journalist journey!