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December 27, 2013
Best of TZM: Want to Work in Communications? Read This.
So you want to work in “communications." Maybe you are in college and starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel called graduation. Or maybe you’ve been out in the workforce for a few years and wish you were actually using your mass communications/journalism degree. I understand that. After all, there is a reason you spent four years studying something, right? I work in HR, so I get to use my psych degree every day.   

To help you figure out how to get that job in communications, I sat down with my friend who is a communications manager at a Fortune 500 company. Funny thing, though — she isn’t really a communications manager. She’s more of a content manager. Two different things…guess I know my friend well, huh?

My friend made the move from communications to content management during the Great Recession, when she picked up a temp job in that area. Four years later, she is a content manager at a Fortune 500 company in an area most communications professionals overlook.   

Here’s the thing. A lot of people want to work in communications, and many of these people tend to focus on the “glamorous” areas of corporate communications, public relations, marketing, etc. Those fields are great, but they are also fiercely competitive. If you are looking to get that first job or want to move into communications, you should look very closely at content management.   

Consider This.
Content management is “the set of processes and technologies that support the collection, managing, and publishing of information in any form or medium.” The “medium” can refer to anything from your company’s intranet to talking points distributed to customer service agents. The newest area, though, is the use of social media and “canned” chatting.

You know those customer service reps you explain your problem to online? They have a script, and communications professionals write that script. Writing scripts that are both technical and customer oriented requires two different styles: technical and creative. Needless to say, that can be a writing challenge.    

The other side of the coin is writing for social media. As our world becomes more social and online, this area of content management will continue to grow as more and more companies race to join the social media space. The plus side is that it is really easy to get experience in this area: open a Twitter account and start writing up clever 140-character sound bites (it’s harder than you think), or set up a website and learn some basic HTML.

Regardless of where your job search takes you, don’t fixate on the marquee job you may or may not get. Instead, do some research to really understand the field and find areas that may be overlooked by other candidates. That could be the key to landing your dream job. 

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Melissa Fairman is an HR practitioner who has worked in multiple industries and HR specialties. Her experience encompasses performance management, global HR systems, and other generalist work. Her passion is empowering people to help themselves in their careers. You can connect with her via her blog, HrRemix, Twitter @HrRemix, or email. http://www.hrremix.com/
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