In the past few months of being a college graduate I have been doing freelance work in what is deemed as a part of my field, but was never taught in college. Granted school is not going to teach you everything the real world will, but there are some things that universities really should start working into their curriculum for communications students. I mean – we are the future of major companies, right?
Basic HTML Coding.
It is slightly astounding how many job descriptions I’ve seen include this skill. The world of communications is expanding into the digital age, yet the only thing that universities seem to deem important is the media aspect. Being out of college, I have now helped build and design three websites and all I can say is that Google has become my best friend… but I really wish I had learned how to code in college.
Just like HTML, it is becoming almost mandatory for people applying to communications-based employment to know their way around InDesign and Photoshop. I have never had a class on designing, but during one of my first real-time jobs I had to design posters and banners for company use just about every day. I didn’t even know what kerning was until a year or two later. With publications including posters, banners, flyers, brochures and the like – design is a must-know for communications students.
Personally, I was lucky enough to take a journalism and law class with one of my favorite professors (shout-out to Dr. Ron Bishop if you’re reading this) and it really opened my eyes to the things you can and cannot do when it comes to writing a story. Unfortunately, not everyone gets this gem in their academic career. I have read a multitude of articles written by peers that ignore some of the basic rules of privacy and integrity – I hate to tell ya guys, but that will just not cut it. In the real world, you could be fired, or even sued, if you aren’t mindful about the details to which you are writing.
Honestly, this one should be a given – however, it is not. You can claim to be a grammar Nazi all you wish, but until you can prove to me that you know the AP Style Guide from cover to cover – I won’t believe you. Even the best make some mistakes, yet they are fortunate enough to have editors to fall back on. If you cannot go through a day at work without being constantly reminded how title case works or when it’s appropriate to use a semicolon – or God forbid you mess up their, there, and they’re – then you really should re-think your field. Or blame school for not rigorously ingraining editing in you. Either works.
This is a bigger issue for females than for males, but either way the point still stands. Every communications major is taught how to publicly speak; rightfully so, seeing how presentation is a big part of the our field. But what we are not taught is how to control the level of our voices when we get anxious, excited, frustrated, or nervous. When you’re pitch goes up, you sound unsure and immature which leads people to doubt your confidence or experience. The same cannot be said for voices going too deep, but going soft is another problem as well. Throughout your speech all you need is a consistent pitch (and a killer speech), but that is not something you will learn you need until it’s too late.