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Communications degree?


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#1 SlinkyMalinki

Posted 10 February 2013 - 06:42 AM

Do you have one? What did you go on to do?

#2 knittingkitten

Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:03 AM

I did and now work as a technical writer.

#3 suziej

Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:07 AM

I did - mine was a Bachelor of Bullshot (Business Communication) and I went on to work in advertising for a few years until I jumped off the greasy pole of career success and chose other lifestyle options.  It occasionally helps in certain roles I pick up, but if I had a do-over, I would have had a gap year and worked out who I really wanted to be when I grew up first.

#4 farfaraway

Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:13 AM

I became a teacher. Not in media or communications! I think it's becoming a bit like an Arts degree TBH. If you want to work in the industry it is incredibly cut-throat and competitive. The degree will help, but connections, work experience, being prepared to slave away will help more.

#5 kwiggle

Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:13 AM

Yes - I'm a doctor.  I started medical school immediately after finishing "first uni".

#6 ManyHats

Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:14 AM

I graduated with BA Arts in Communication (Public Relations) and I now work in a federal government department. Nothing in relation to my degree but I was able to use the skills I acquired in my degree in this job.

I had initially started looking for jobs in the PR/Media/Marketing field but there's not much, very competitive and the pay isn't great (you're looking at earning in the 40k's if you apply to the smaller agencies as a graduate). Even worse if you're doing Journalism and wanting to be a journalist - so I have HEARD from recent Journalism grads.

Edited by ManyHats, 10 February 2013 - 07:16 AM.


#7 SlinkyMalinki

Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:27 AM

Basically what I'd like to do is freelance writing - maybe copywriting, or online blogging, or working with social media.

I definitely want to work from home (hours don't bother me) or no more than 20 hours a week part time out of home.

I don't need to earn major money, but enough to bring in something.  

Am I dreaming?

#8 mombasa

Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:33 AM

I have a Bachelor of Arts Communication, I worked as a print Journalist for a Regional Newspaper and a Broadcast Researcher for a Metro TV station. I'm now a SAHM, pay was terrible, job worse. I really disliked the media.

#9 Guest_Dinah_Harris_*

Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:36 AM

This is what I do,  Slinky.   I'm doing a Masters degree in Writing, Editing and Publishing as I want to set up a publishing company.   At the moment I write articles and blog posts and edit mostly fiction work.  I don't have a communications degree but I have built up cred in the industry.   It is more about building a good reputation than having a certain degree,  in my experience.
If you want to study,  maybe look at a degree that can be more widely used?

#10 SlinkyMalinki

Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:50 AM

I'm currently in my second year of an Education degree.  I love some of the aspects of it - the subject matter is interesting to me.  I really enjoy the research and writing assignments.  I particularly like creatively planning and writing lesson plans.  

I'm currently petrified of being stuck in a room full of kids.


#11 Cacti

Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:51 AM

I did one, I've worked in a few different jobs using it, the most recent doing internal communications in a large company. I quite like it, but I've been made redundant and I'm not sure if I can get back into it (comms is always the first to go). My degree covered online communications but it was before social media was what it is now, studying it now would be fascinating.

#12 Libertine

Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:10 AM

QUOTE (SlinkyMalinki @ 10/02/2013, 07:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Basically what I'd like to do is freelance writing - maybe copywriting, or online blogging, or working with social media.

I definitely want to work from home (hours don't bother me) or no more than 20 hours a week part time out of home.

I don't need to earn major money, but enough to bring in something.  

Am I dreaming?


If this is what you want to do you DO NOT need a degree to do it. However freelance writing etc is very competitive ( a lot of people have this romantic Carrie Bradshaw dream) but its hard, extremely hard to make any decent money (or tbh any money at all) unless you have good contacts and a folio of work. I'm a sahm just now but I've previously worked at a senior level in communications for several major organizations and lastly for state government. I have no formal qualifications. In this day and age keeping up with social media developments / trends etc would require more immersion than just studying a degree I reckon.

Sorry this is a bit disjointed, very sleep deprived this morning.

#13 dirtgirl

Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:16 AM

I did a postgraduate degree in PR and Communications after I finished my undergrad degrees. Over the last 14 years I've worked in a huge variety of jobs...comms officers for local government, universities, state government departments, private industry, etc, as well plenty of freelance writing opportunities while I stayed at home with my babies.

My advice is to find an area that you can become an 'expert' in, and pitch yourself as a specialist writer.  There is no real need to do a degree if you want to freelance...you'll mainly get judged on your writing, and your ability to deliver reliably to deadline.  However, if you want to look beyond the freelancing years, and perhaps step into a communications or writing role in the future, you may need to consolidate your experience with a professional qualification.

If I were in your shoes, I would probably complete your education degree before pursuing any further education. Many organisations invest in outreach/education programs as part of the communications activities, and the fact that you have an education degree will be very valuable if you choose to pursue a career in communications.  

As far as freelancing is concerned, there is nothing stopping you from approaching publications for assignments. Just make sure you can show them some good examples of the type of writing you would be submitting. Research the publications to find one that you think would be a good fit, and contact the editor with some story ideas.  They may not hire you immediately, but may keep your details on file.

Some people might suggest volunteering some articles...my advice to new writers is to avoid giving your writing away for nothing, as it generally sets a precedent. However, if you feel that you need to build up a portfolio, be strategic about who you write for. Don't write a freebie for a publication hoping that they will pay you for future articles...choose a magazine or blog that will give you exposure or one that doesn't pay at all. That way there will be no expectations, and no disappointment.

Hope that helps OP.

Good luck!

#14 axiomae

Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:26 AM

I have a communications degree as well as an education degree. I used to work for a local paper (ugh, shudder at the memory of it) and I now work as a secondary teacher of English and Media Studies, which I love! I teach students how to write, make films and tell stories. So much fun, so rewarding, and the pay is much better than graduate media jobs.

As an aside, the fear of being in front of a class passes. How did you go on your pracs? Have you had one yet?

#15 Chaton

Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:30 AM

I have an a degree in business majoring in Advertising.  I'm a lawyer (I studied a combined Business/Law degree).

When I grow up, I'd love to work in house as a lawyer for an advertising agency or for the ACCC or Advertising Standards Board.  So I'm not using my communications degree yet, but I hope one day it will help get my foot in the door to my dream job.

#16 SlinkyMalinki

Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:46 AM

I did my first year prac in a child care centre - my major is Early Childhood, and that was the requirement.  It went fine, but an audience of 2 year olds is not particularly daunting.  

My goal was always to work in a 5 day fortnight Kindergarden program.  I do occasionally see these jobs come up in my area, so it's somewhat practical.  

I've just been doing a bit of writing lately for myself, and it feels good, and exciting.  I'm studying part time at the moment (SAHM - 1 year old and 4 year old), and in something of a slump.  In July, it would have been my 3rd year doing uni part time.  

From a practical standpoint, if I were to transfer into the Communications program, 80% of what I've done will transfer over, as Education is one of the minor subjects.

But going buy previous posts, I'm wondering if I should keep plodding through, and keep the writing to a hobby level for the moment.

Either way, I'm obviously not in it for the big dollars.  I haven't had an income for 5 years, so seriously anything would be a bonus at this point.  

I'm not interested in a 'traditional' journalist job.  I know a fair bit about those, as that's what my dad did for 40 years.  I love the idea of my own business, or working from home.

#17 Jane Jetson

Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:38 AM

QUOTE (SlinkyMalinki @ 10/02/2013, 09:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
But going buy previous posts, I'm wondering if I should keep plodding through, and keep the writing to a hobby level for the moment.


Honestly, I would probably suggest that would be the best long-term course of action. Writing is a very competitive, very crowded industry these days, and writing is constantly devalued as people give away content for free - and it becomes expected by publishers that they will do so.

I have a BA (Comm-print) and currently work as an editor. I freelanced for a few years while the kids were babies, and it's difficult though doable - you have to be very persistent, know who you're pitching to and have good ideas. Over the years as an editor I've had a *lot* of pitches that were completely off-target though - clearly demonstrating that the journalist had no clue about the niche I was working in. So on the plus side, if you do your research first and don't do any your/you're errors (for example) in your submissions you're probably well ahead of the pack.

Edited by Jane Jetson, 10 February 2013 - 10:38 AM.


#18 silverstarrr

Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:54 AM

I am self employed designer and often have the need for what you are looking for OP. I would keep it at hobby level but make your self known to small business (e.g. designers like myself or small publishers) who need copywriting for brochures or even editing,proofreading to get your foot int he door.

I work with a couple of PR firms and some medium sized organisations that have internal comms departments. Most of them have comms or journalism degrees (I have no uni qualifications myself) but through persistence and reputation I have built my business.

Definitely find an area you are interested in and follow that.



#19 little lion

Posted 10 February 2013 - 11:10 AM

I agree with Jane Jetson. I'm a magazine editor and journalist. I'd recommend a journalism or comms degree if you want to land a big corporate gig. When I'm looking at freelance contributors, I don't focus on their qualifications so long as the writing standard is there.

It is a tough industry so I don't recommend relying on it for stable income. I like dirtgirl's suggestion of positioning yourself as a niche writer.

#20 SlinkyMalinki

Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:10 PM

Thanks everyone for your feedback, it's given me plenty to think about.

At this stage I'll put it down to pre-practical nerves, and continue the way I'm going, but I'll keep practicing writing on the side.




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