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Professional Communication after Graduation: Alumni Share Secrets to Their Success

Submitted by krystle.monahan on Mon, 01/02/2017 - 2:06pm

"Figure out who you a want to be as a Communications professional, find a company or organization whose culture appeals to you, and take any position you can to get your foot in the door."

That was the advice given to a class of COMS 463 students by a group of Communications Industry Professionals during a panel presentation on the challenges of being a technical and professional communicator in today's fast paced world. COMS 463 is a class on rhetorical communication in online environments. In addition to studying and rhetorical theory and using it to analyze online communication, students are also responsible for creating a fictitious organization, identifying a culture for that organization and then developing a website and a social media presence that promotes that organization’s purpose. Throughout the semester students see how important it is to combine the critical thinking and writing skills with some of the hands-on skills associated with technical and professional writing.

Dr. Lisa Stowe, who teaches COMS 463, sees the course as an opportunity to continue to develop students' critical and analytical skills while also introducing them to the kinds of professional responsibilities they might have while working in communications industries. To help students see how they might fit into the world of professional communications once they graduate, Dr. Stowe organizes a ‘professionalization’ panel in 463. The panelists discuss everything from transparency and ethics in professional communications to the skills needed to write for a specific audience. COMS 463 student Lauren Philips appreciated the opportunity, saying, “As a Communications student, it's so valuable to talk to professionals. Not only does it give you an opportunity to understand how your skills can be applied to a work environment, but it also provides insight on the diverse range of career possibilities a degree in Communications brings."

Left to Right (front row):
Christine McGregor, Director, Business Operations and Pricing 
Calvin Seaman, Director of Communications, ATB
Melanie Zens, Project Director, Chaordix