You asked about what kinds of qualifications companies are looking for
when they search for a communications manager. Here's what I found,
and what I know as a communication major :).
Before getting to sources of additional information you can look at, I
can tell you about the two main tracks of corporate communication, and
what kinds of people typically fill those positions.
Throughout the communication discipline there are some basic skills
everyone must have:
1. Strong writing skills
2. Strong Interpersonal skills
3. Strong Small groups communication skills
4. Public speaking ability (can be refined :) ).
In other words, you need to be a good communicator! Good communicators
can not only present their message convincingly, they also know how
well the recipient receives and understands it.
While some would disagree, my alma mater (The University of Hartford)
had two tracks for corporate communication majors. The first was
studying the internal (organizational) communication, and the other
dealing with external (public relations).
In a nutshell, organizational communication looks at how a particular
organization communicates with itself. It conducts a 'communication
audit' which is used to direct corporate strategy. Communication
audits investigate the various communication channels at work in the
company, such as who says what to who, and makes recommendations to
improve processes. Communication audits even try to study the human
components of the gossip grapevine! Most importantly, the goal of a
communication audit is to devise ways to have information flow in two
directions. If managers at the top can receive and process
communication from the bottom of the hierarchy, they're able to better
assess the implications of their decisions. Successful managers in
this field focus their education on both communication and business.
Public relations takes these same strategies and applies it to
communication outside the organization. A good PR department will set
realistic, measurable goals, define the 'publics' they wish to reach
with their message, and develop a plan of execution. Writing skills
are crucial in PR work, as the entry level positions almost always
involve writing press releases, fact sheets, articles, or editing the
work of others. Journalism students are often able to easily
transition into the PR field. Leave your objectivity at the door!
Now onto the sites I was able to find which will explain things in
much greater detail than I can here.
I first suggest you take a look at the National Communication
Association's website, especially their 'Pathways to Careers in
Communication' article. It does an excellent job of giving a basic
overview of various communication related careers. You can find the
[ http://www.natcom.org/Instruction/Pathways/5thEd.htm ]
Next, take a look at the American Communication Association's site.
Their well organized homepage has a section devoted to those in
business communication. This site focuses mainly on students already
in a communication program, but it can give you a good idea as to what
you can expect in the field. The business communication page is
[ http://www.americancomm.org/studies/businesscomm.html ]
There's even an association of business communicators! They have
chapters located throughout the world. Their US page (with links to
other countries) can be found here:
[ http://www.iabc.com/members/finder/alpha_usa.htm ]
I hope these resources, plus my very brief summary, help you
understand what being a communication manager is all about! I'd be
happy to better clarify my answer with any specific questions you may
Before I go, here are some of the search terms I used:
1. I first went to Google and searched for 'Communication Careers'
2. I then wanted to see what sites were related to the National
Communication Association. Google can search related sites by simply
clicking the 'similar pages' link on the search results. You can
search for sites related to the NCA by searching here:
Best of luck! Don't forget to follow-up to my answer if you'd like
more specific information.
Request for Answer Clarification by
13 May 2002 08:57 PDT
Thank you for answer and comment. However, what I am looking for is
the feeling of experienced people about "managers" in public relation
(PR), knowledge management (KM), advertising, even journalism and so
on... Is there something in common between a KM and a PR manager ? If
yes, then what are these qualities, what is this particular stuff that
make people able to shift from one very particular job (KM) to another
one (PR, journalism) ? What about their training ? But if you think
there is no common point, or that these jobs belongs from specialist
(and no "managers"), then explain why... This is a typical question
that requires a human search, and that's why I'am trying Google