In this Article
Are you looking for a career in communications? In this article, you will learn about the key duties and responsibilities of a communications officer as you embark on this creative and dynamic career path.
How to become a media communications professional
Communications officers are involved in all communication activities of an organisation. From marketing to public relations (PR), these communication specialists create and distribute content to promote their brand, product or project. Swinburne Online’s Bachelor of Media and Communication – Media Studies will set you up for a successful career in the fast-paced world of communications.
As a communication professional, you can work in almost any industry and company all over the world. If you like speaking and listening to others, writing content and coming up with creative solutions, this might be the right career for you.
Communications career path
In Australia, over 74 per cent of all public relations professionals have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Typically, that’s a degree in media, communications, marketing, public relations or journalism, which takes three years of full-time study or the part-time equivalent. Interning at a company during your degree gives you even more practical experience and an edge over other applicants.
On your way to becoming a communication officer, you may first work as a communication assistant, supporting higher-level colleagues and coordinating PR events before moving on to a communication associate role. As an associate, you will work on communication strategies, content coordination and build a network with media contacts. The next step would be the role of communications officer. Of course, this is just an example and your road to ‘comms’ officer may look a lot different.
Career support at Swinburne Online
After graduation, the Swinburne Careers and Employability Centre offers a range of alumni services that will aid your career long into the future. You also become a member of Swinburne Alumni – a network of over 215,000 past students in more than 140 countries.
- SwinEmploy is a career hub that advertises vacant (graduate) positions, apprenticeships and traineeships.
- Career Start helps you build professional resumes, cover letters and your LinkedIn profile.
- My Career Toolkit allows you to create and store employment documents, learn from employers and read the latest industry reports.
- A Career Consultation means you can chat about your career goals and how you’ll achieve them. Book appointments with Swinburne’s Career Consultants over the phone or via video.
Communications salary in Australia
According to Seek, the average yearly salary for a communications officer can range from $75,000 to $95,000, with an average of $85,000 per year. It’s important to note that your salary is dependent on several factors like experience, education, company size and location.
As soon as I finished my course I was given a pay rise and then not long after I moved into a new position [in the publishing industry working as a Social Media Strategist]. I don’t think I would be where I am now if I hadn’t studied this degree. — Alice, Bachelor of Media and Communication graduate
What are the most important qualities of a communication officer?
As a communications officer, you must have the ability to communicate effectively with your audiences and stakeholders. These include: investors, customers, other companies, the media, the public and the (local) community.
Helping managers and employees to communicate with people is the essence of your role. In doing so, you play a key part in creating and upholding your company’s reputation.
To become a great communication officer, you need these qualities:
- Writing and editing skills: You must be able to write and edit copy for quality and consistency. They should also have a strong understanding of accessible writing techniques.
- Communication: It may be obvious, but no less important, that you need strong written and oral skills. Since communicating is not a one-way street, you also have to be a good listener and able to ask helpful questions.
- Creativity: Using your imagination to create content yourself or oversee the creation of content that helps to maintain your company’s image.
- Critical thinking and judgement: You think about multiple ways to solve a problem, weighing their positives and negatives, before choosing the best option.
- Social skills: Understanding people’s behaviour and reactions is an essential quality of a good communication officer. You require those skills to develop positive professional relationships with your stakeholders.
- Organisation: Since you will take on many tasks, your organisational skills will help you to divide and delegate tasks, manage your time and prioritise the right projects.
Become a media communications professional with Swinburne Online
Both our Bachelor of Media and Communication – Media Studies and Media and Communication – Public Relations incorporate a project-based unit to provide you with the practical skills to succeed come graduation. In this unit, you choose your own ‘product’ to design and implement while being supervised. This could be a game, a video, a website, a short film or a podcast, just to name a few. Alternatively, you could undertake a work experience.