8 Skills All Communication Majors Must Build

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Obtaining a master’s degree in communication management (MCM) degree can be the first step to succeeding at a high level in a marketing or communications career. However, this degree must be accompanied by a solid skill set. There are several strengths you must start building now to set yourself apart from the other MCMs and ensure your talents are among the best available.


Communication Major Skills for Success

A communication major’s skill set can set the tone for a successful career because it contains a solid mix of hard and soft skills. This combination can allow you to take the lead on a communication project with confidence. It can also enable you to be viewed as a trusted leader.

1. Strong Writing Skills

Building strong writing skills now will benefit your career. Writing is the cornerstone of communication and content is vital in marketing. In addition, the growing importance of content marketing in marketing strategies makes becoming a sound writer a requirement, not an option. While improving one’s writing skills can be intimidating to some — particularly to those who don’t write or blog professionally — there is some good news. There are a large number of free online writing courses to help you hone your skills regardless of your writing level or style.

2. Teamwork

People who can work well as a member of a team are valuable assets to any organization. Team players and leaders have very different skill sets and are equally important in driving the organization toward success. A good leader must also be a team player, guiding and directing a team rather than dominating them. The top qualities of a good team player are transparency, empathy, the ability to take responsibility properly, commitment to the team and being an active listener.

3. People Skills

Someone interested in working in communications must adopt an outgoing personality. As a communications director, you will at some point have to deal with angry, frustrated or just plain difficult people. Being able to turn on the charm will help you deal with all types of situations and all kinds of people, especially in the media. It will also help you create a positive work environment, even when the media isn’t looking.

4. Leadership

When you’re in command of a volunteer or paid crew that needs someone to learn from and look up to, being a good leader is essential. You must be clear-sighted, command and give respect and be able to motivate your team. These communication major skills will multiply your effectiveness many times over. The top three suggested strengths to develop are:

  • Developing clear, purposeful communication
  • Understanding your target audience, both internally and externally
  • Staying aware of relevant developments in your political or industry environment

Until you can learn to inspire people to accomplish great things, you’ll always be limited in how far you can lead them.

5. Creativity

Creativity is the currency of communication culture. If you can become a strong, creative communications manager, your chances of success will instantly multiply — especially when dealing with crunching deadlines and limited budgets.

If you’re already creative, hire someone who instinctively understands budgets or scheduling — two non-creative areas you may be lacking. If you’re a numbers person, a sound strategy is to hire more creative people. Building a team of experts who have diverse strengths and skills is an effective way to ensure you are never lacking in creativity.

6. Public Speaking Skills

Communication professionals are often the “face” of a business or organization since they interact with the media and the public. Because of this, it’s important to develop a strong voice. This involves speaking clearly and in an engaging style. If you mumble or speak as if you’re not interested in what you’re saying, your audience likely won’t care what you have to say regardless of the content or message.

It’s also important to know your audience and adapt your speaking style to fit their needs. Strong writing skills go hand in hand with public speaking, as you may need to prepare by writing and rehearsing what you will say in public.

7. Research Skills

It’s not uncommon for communication professionals to present information, products or services that are unfamiliar to them. While it’s perfectly fine to not know everything, it’s critical to appear knowledgeable and well-informed to an audience. Strong research skills can efficiently fill knowledge gaps and make it possible to present information from a position that displays a foundational level of understanding. Several skills dovetail with research skills, such as strong attention to detail, solid note-taking and time-management competencies.

8. Media/Marketing Experience

Skills can be honed and cultivated by putting them into practice. For communications professionals, one of the best ways to cultivate competency is to gain experience in a marketing or media role. This will not only allow you to strengthen the writing, creative and people skills needed for a communications job, but it may also bring a media or marketer’s perspective to your role, which could potentially help you understand certain audiences better.

Become a Communicator Who Leads

The well-developed skills of a communication major can allow them to deliver substantial results to an organization. They can use their skills to develop strategies that motivate others and shift how the public perceives their business. It’s a powerful skill set to possess, which ultimately makes it satisfying to develop.

USC's online masters in Management degree program can help you develop skills that can make a profound difference. Our program is designed to not only help you gain expertise in essential competencies, but also help you develop the instincts to deploy them in real-world situations for success.

Learn how we can help you hone your skills to shape the future of communication.


Recommended Readings

Communicating a Business Strategy Externally

How to Target an Audience

Using Audience Analysis for Better Marketing Communication



The Balance, “Important Public Speaking Skills for Workplace Success”

Forbes, “How a Communication Professional’s Toolbox Can Enhance Leadership Skills”

Indeed, FAQ: Why is Creative Thinking So Important in the Workplace?

Indeed, “7 Examples of Important Teamwork Skills”

Indeed, “What Are Research Skills? Definition, Examples and Tips”

Indeed, What Does a Director of Communications Do at Work?

Oracle, What is Content Marketing?

The Report, [2022] “175+ Free Online Writing Courses to Improve Your Skills”