Consulting has made a major comeback as a career since the downturn of the mid 1990’s. Communications consultants can earn a great living by assisting organizations on how best to communicate with their internal employees and external clients.
Communications consultants typically go into an organization and perform a communications assessment and audit. They also interview employees, customers, and top executives. They spend a lot of time up front diagnosing the communication challenges and figuring out what the goals of the organization is.
Communication problems can be internal (employees), external (customers) or a combination of both. Many companies procure the services of a communications consultant because they want to change the image of the company, create a marketing and communications plan for a new product or service, or improve internal communications processes between employees and management.
Communications consultants can work within the organization they assist or work for a consulting company that assists multiple clients. Typically communications consultants who work for an outside consulting agency work in teams when assisting clients.
Communication consultants obviously must be strong communicators in a one-one-one and group setting. They also must be very organized, detail oriented, and analytical. Much of what they do is data analysis of the results from the communications audit they perform.
They also must be very good at presenting in groups. Much of what they do is present findings and give recommendations to management on how to solve the organizational communications challenges.
Communications consultants have diverse educational backgrounds including journalism, communications, leadership, business, public relations, and marketing. It is not a requirement to have a master’s degree, but is helpful when applying for higher level positions with prestigious firms.
The career field for communications consultants is expected to grow faster than the average occupation according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salaries vary greatly depending on education level, experience, organization, and location. It is not uncommon for top consultants to earn six figure salaries.
Students who are considering a career as a communications should work on their group presentation skills. They should also be proficient at Power Point. An internship at a communications firm is helpful for experience and often results in obtaining a permanent position as a consultant after graduation.