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Communications Specialist: Job Description

 A note to readers: This post was totally revamped for relevancy on March 10th, 2017.
smartphone, laptop, typing stockphoto


An intro from Mark Evans, Author of Storytelling for Startups; Startup Marketing Consultant at markevans.ca

A Communication Specialist is an integral part of creating and delivering information, both inside and outside of a company. In a fast-moving marketing landscape, a communication specialist needs to be agile, flexible, strategic and tactical. In my experience, they need to have a strong grasp of strategic goals, as well

Mark Evans, author and consultant at markevans.ca

as the ability to tactically execute. In other words, they need to look at the big picture while taking care of day-to-day operations. A Communications Specialist also needs to be open to learning skills to stay effective and relevant. They need to be looking for new tools, services and ways to be more productive and efficient.


Recommended Skills

The following are skills and past experience to look for in a Communications Specialist, dependent on the role the person will play in your company. You’ll want to taper the list to provide a concise description of the position.

As a job seeker, aim to use these phrases as keywords when describing your previous roles and experience, and use the following list as a starting point to round out your skills.

  • Editing
  • Public Relations
  • Corporate Communications
  • Marketing Communications
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Copywriting
  • Project Management
  • Technical Writing
  • Research
  • SEO
  • Web design
  • Graphics design
  • Advertising

Portfolios are especially important in Communications roles: ask to see writing samples in different mediums (press releases, blog content, announcements, emails, etc.) to get an idea of the person’s style, affect, and flexibility.

An Entry-level employee (Coordinator) will typically have 1-2 years’ experience in a similar role, whereas a Mid-level employee will have 2-5 years’ experience, and a Senior generally 5+ years. Executives and Upper-level Management roles (Communications Directors) will likely have 10+ years’ experience, dependent on the size of the company and what their role will involve.

Education

Communications professionals generally have a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations, Communications, Journalism, or a related field. They also may also have a Marketing background, specializing in communications through their career choices.

As a job seeker, utilize MOOCs and online courses from sites like lynda.com, kahnacademy.com and coursera.org to add to your education and enhance your career opportunities.

Payscale

The median salary for a Communications Specialist in Canada is $53,533 as of 2017, according to Payscale.com. This varies from $40,533 – $71,605 dependent on experience level and skill set.

Questions to Ask When Hiring for a Communications Specialist

  • What do you see as your strengths?
  • What do you see as the position’s responsibilities?
  • How will you establish strategic and tactical priorities?
  • How do you determine the success of your work?

 

Ready to hire a Communications Specialist? Post a job with Canada’s top marketing and creative job board now.

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  • sthrendyle

    Hmmm… in my experience, much of what you describe is more like a ‘Coordinator’ – the job trail – not that any two companies are the same – goes coordinator/specialist/manager/director/VP. Most companies also want top notch research, writing, and editing skills – as well as (these days) – SEO, social media, branding, and even some web design and HTML skills. But as I said, every company is different.

    • Good point. The article was written based on compiled information from several sources and companies. You’re right that each company may have a slightly different job description – as their needs and wants change.

  • This description would make more sense for an entry level coordinator. A specialist is a step up – they are more involved with strategy and planning as opposed to doing more of the legwork and research, which is what a coordinator would do.