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Working As a Communications Specialist

  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $44,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Communications Specialist Do

Public relations specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent. They design media releases to shape public perception of their organization and to increase awareness of its work and goals. 

Duties

Public relations specialists typically do the following:

  • Write press releases and prepare information for the media
  • Respond to information requests from the media
  • Help clients communicate effectively with the public
  • Help maintain their organization's corporate image and identity
  • Draft speeches and arrange interviews for an organization’s top executives
  • Evaluate advertising and promotion programs to determine whether they are compatible with their organization’s public relations efforts
  • Evaluate public opinion of clients through social media

Public relations specialists, also called communications specialists and media specialists, handle an organization’s communication with the public, including consumers, investors, reporters, and other media specialists. In government, public relations specialists may be called press secretaries. In this setting, workers keep the public informed about the activities of government officials and agencies.

Public relations specialists draft press releases and contact people in the media who might print or broadcast their material. Many radio or television special reports, newspaper stories, and magazine articles start at the desks of public relations specialists. For example, a press release might describe a public issue, such as health, energy, or the environment, and what an organization does concerning that issue.

Press releases are increasingly being sent through the Internet and social media, in addition to publication through traditional media outlets. Public relations specialists are often in charge of monitoring and responding to social media questions and concerns.

Public relations specialists are different from advertisers in that they get their stories covered by media instead of purchasing ad space in publications and on television.

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How To Become A Communications Specialist

Public relations specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree. Employers prefer candidates who have studied public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business.

Education

Public relations specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business. Through such programs, students produce a portfolio of work that demonstrates their ability to prospective employers.

Training

Entry-level workers typically begin by maintaining files of material about an organization’s activities, skimming and retaining relevant media articles, and assembling information for speeches and pamphlets. After gaining experience, public relations specialists begin to write news releases, speeches, articles for publication, or carry out public relations programs.

Other Experience

Internships at public relations firms or in the public relations departments of other businesses can be helpful in getting a job as a public relations specialist.

Some employers prefer candidates that have experience communicating with others through a school newspaper or a leadership position in school or in their community.

Important Qualities

Interpersonal skills. Public relations specialists deal with the public and the media regularly; therefore, they must be open and friendly to maintain a favorable image for their organization.

Organizational skills. Public relations specialists are often in charge of managing several events at the same time, requiring superior organizational skills.

Problem-solving skills. Public relations specialists sometimes must explain how a company or client is handling sensitive issues. They must use good judgment in what they report and how they report it.

Speaking skills. Public relations specialists regularly speak on behalf of their organization. When doing so, they must be able to clearly explain the organization’s position.

Writing skills. Public relations specialists must be able to write well-organized and clear press releases and speeches. They must be able to grasp the key messages they want to get across and write them in a short, succinct way to get the attention of busy readers or listeners.

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Communications Specialist Jobs

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Communications Specialist Career Paths

Communications Specialist
Editor Consultant Marketing Manager
Regional Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Editor Project Manager Marketing Manager
Marketing Program Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Editor Manager Marketing Manager
Brand Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Owner Marketing Director
Director Of Marketing And Public Relations
6 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Senior Account Executive Public Relations Manager
Manager Of Corporate Communications
7 Yearsyrs
Account Executive General Manager Marketing Director
Vice President Of Marketing & Communications
12 Yearsyrs
Communications Consultant Communications Manager Communications Director
Director, Corporate Communications
10 Yearsyrs
Specialist Systems Administrator Web Developer
Web Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Communications Consultant Communications Manager
Internal Communications Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Consultant Office Manager Communications Manager
Communications Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Communications Consultant Public Relations Manager Public Relations Director
Public Relations And Communications Director
7 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Writer And Editor Staff Writer
Public Information Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Marketing Specialist Marketing Communications Manager
Content Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Managing Editor
Publications Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Staff Writer Social Media Manager Strategist
Senior Strategist
8 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Public Relations Specialist
Media Relations Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Staff Writer Managing Editor Content Manager
Digital Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Marketing Specialist Marketing Manager/Project Manager
Marketing Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Marketing Specialist Marketing Consultant Social Media Manager
Marketing Strategist
6 Yearsyrs
Public Relations Specialist Public Information Officer
Public Affairs Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Communications Specialist
Internship 11.6%
Cashier 7.5%
Editor 4.2%
Reporter 4.2%
Manager 3.5%
Volunteer 2.9%
Top Careers After Communications Specialist
Manager 5.0%
Cashier 4.4%
Owner 4.3%
Internship 4.1%
Consultant 4.1%

Do you work as a Communications Specialist?

Average Yearly Salary
$44,000
Show Salaries
$29,000
Min 10%
$44,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Median 50%
$66,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Chevron
Highest Paying City
Seattle, WA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
3.2 years
How much does a Communications Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Communications Specialist in the United States is $44,637 per year or $21 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $29,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $66,000.

Real Communications Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Communication Specialist Activate Strategy Inc. New York, NY Dec 31, 2016 $137,800
Communication Specialist Activate Strategy Inc. New York, NY Nov 21, 2015 $137,800
Trade Communications Specialist Nitron Group Corporation Greenwich, CT Jan 18, 2016 $120,000
KN Communications Specialist McKinsey & Company, Inc. United States Waltham, MA Sep 27, 2015 $103,202
Technology Communications Specialist JP Morgan Chase & Co New York, NY Aug 11, 2016 $103,000
Media and Communications Specialist Headspace, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Oct 31, 2016 $100,000
Communications Specialist 99 Cent Only Stores Los Angeles, CA Jul 09, 2015 $92,061
Communication Specialist Brazilian American Systems Inc. New York, NY Nov 23, 2016 $88,150
Communications Specialist Admerasia, Inc. New York, NY Jun 17, 2015 $86,902
Multimedia Communications Specialist PCH International USA, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 02, 2015 $84,000
Communications Specialist Research Foundation of Cuny New York, NY Sep 01, 2016 $82,299
Communications Specialist Research Foundation of Cuny New York, NY Jan 09, 2016 $82,299
Online Careers Communication Specialist Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Mar 08, 2016 $82,000
Communication Specialist Showpad, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jun 06, 2016 $80,000
Communications Specialist Yoshimoto Entertainment USA, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Jan 12, 2015 $58,430
International Business and Communications Specialist Consortium Tours of North America New York, NY Sep 19, 2015 $58,000
Communication Specialist E Focus Inc. Industry, CA Feb 22, 2016 $57,408
Communications Specialist Taiwan Center Foundation of Greater Los Angeles Rosemead, CA Dec 24, 2015 $57,408
Communications Specialist East West Bank Beverly Hills, CA Nov 12, 2015 $57,408
Media and Communications Specialist Coquette Productions, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jul 15, 2015 $57,200
Communications Specialist Italian American Chamber of Commerce Chicago, IL Sep 25, 2016 $57,096
Scientific and Medical Community Specialist Epibone New York, NY Oct 14, 2015 $56,000
Communication Specialist BBI Law Group, P.C. Herndon, VA Sep 23, 2015 $44,891
International Communication Specialist BEDD Group, LLC Washington, DC Sep 30, 2015 $44,891
International Communication Specialist BEDD Group, LLC Washington, DC Sep 29, 2015 $44,891
Communications Specialist Hasna, Inc. Washington, DC Aug 17, 2015 $44,891
Communications Specialist Healthcare Business Intelligence Solutions, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Aug 17, 2016 $44,845
Communications Specialist Rosemont Property Management LLC New York, NY Jul 23, 2015 $44,824
Communications Specialist (Film) Unite Here New York, NY Sep 28, 2016 $44,818
Communications Specialist BUEI, LLC DBA Mentora College Washington, DC Feb 18, 2016 $44,741

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Top Skills for A Communications Specialist

  1. Web Content
  2. Press Releases
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Managed retail marketing collateral including retail packaging, in-store point of sale brochures/catalogs, direct/digital marketing campaigns and web content.
  • Generated and distributed press releases, media messaging, published articles and website content for internal and external industry communication.
  • Maintain relations with current clients, ensuring a high-level of customer service and providing education opportunities around new technology options.
  • Monitor direct emergency alarms, answer non-emergency calls for assistance, and monitor several complex public safety radio frequencies.
  • Created internal branding/marketing communications materials and utilized intranet communication to promote organizational-wide initiatives.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Communications Specialists

  1. Virginia
  2. District of Columbia
  3. Oregon
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Idaho
  6. Alaska
  7. Washington
  8. Arizona
  9. Utah
  10. Ohio
  • (872 jobs)
  • (320 jobs)
  • (276 jobs)
  • (83 jobs)
  • (68 jobs)
  • (39 jobs)
  • (476 jobs)
  • (358 jobs)
  • (237 jobs)
  • (766 jobs)

Communications Specialist Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 25,907 Communications Specialist resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Communications Specialist Resume

View Resume Examples

Communications Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

52.7%

Male

38.4%

Unknown

8.9%
Ethnicity

White

62.9%

Hispanic or Latino

14.7%

Black or African American

12.2%

Asian

6.7%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

57.6%

French

12.6%

Italian

4.5%

Portuguese

4.2%

German

4.2%

Mandarin

2.4%

Chinese

2.4%

Arabic

2.4%

Japanese

2.2%

Russian

1.4%

Korean

1.2%

Carrier

1.0%

Hindi

0.7%

Tagalog

0.7%

Swahili

0.5%

Vietnamese

0.5%

Albanian

0.5%

Swedish

0.4%

Romanian

0.4%

Dutch

0.4%
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Communications Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

22.4%

Strayer University

5.7%

Michigan State University

5.1%

University of Maryland - University College

5.0%

Arizona State University

4.6%

American University

4.5%

Pennsylvania State University

4.2%

Liberty University

4.1%

Temple University

3.9%

Ashford University

3.9%

George Washington University

3.8%

University of Maryland - College Park

3.8%

Webster University

3.7%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.7%

University of Texas at Austin

3.7%

Florida State University

3.7%

Ohio State University

3.7%

West Virginia University

3.6%

New York University

3.6%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.5%
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Majors

Communication

18.4%

Business

18.0%

Journalism

7.6%

English

6.4%

Criminal Justice

5.8%

Public Relations

5.8%

Marketing

5.1%

Psychology

4.6%

Management

3.1%

Political Science

3.0%

Graphic Design

2.7%

Education

2.6%

Nursing

2.4%

Health Care Administration

2.4%

Writing

2.3%

Computer Science

2.1%

General Studies

2.0%

Liberal Arts

2.0%

Information Technology

1.9%

Electrical Engineering

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

44.5%

Masters

20.8%

Other

18.2%

Associate

9.5%

Certificate

4.5%

Doctorate

1.4%

Diploma

0.9%

License

0.3%
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Updated May 19, 2020