As a comm major (advertising!) who finds herself about to graduate next semester, I've felt the need to make a list of the essential advice and tips I wish I'd known as a freshman. Applying for jobs has made me feel old and wise, so let me have my moment and share the knowledge and information I've collected from my past 4 years. I know that I've still got a lot to learn, but here's what I've picked up so far!
Make friends with your advisors
Your relationship with your advisor can be a wonderful thing, and getting to know them can make your experience in comm SO much easier! Remember, we're also here to develop communication skills, so actually communicating with your advisor is a great place to start! Also, they're people too, so ask about their day and their family! A little politeness goes a long way. And who knows? Maybe when you've got a problem that they can fix, they'll be more willing to expedite some paperwork if you told them to send your love to her puppy!
Pick up a minor
People underestimate picking up a minor! As someone with three minors, (yes, you read that right, I have THREE minors) it's totally worth it to take up one if you don't want to double major, or if you feel that a minor will complement your major with the job you want. My personal example is that I'm an Advertising major, and one of my minors is Media Studies, and I chose that because I want to work in social media marketing! So if you can find a minor to take up, do it! It's not a lot of extra work, so don't freak out or think that you won't be able to graduate in time or have to take a billion extra classes!
Don't be afraid to change your major
I know that changing your major can seem daunting, but if you suddenly find yourself as an Advertising major who now wants to go into Film, then go for it! Of course, talk to your advisor and your family about making a change, but if you really want to do something other than your current major, even if it means switching into a different academic college, then you gotta do it!
Take classes that will teach you things you need to know for the job you want
This one sounds long and may be a bit confusing, but I'll explain. Oftentimes, you'll have choices from a list of courses that will fulfill certain requirements for your major. Choose classes that will teach you skills that you will need for the job you want! For example, if you're a journalism major who wants to work in sports journalism, it'd be a lot more useful for you to take Advanced Sports History than Intro to PR, even though the intro class may be easier. If you still don't know what class to take, then refer to my first point and ask your advisor!
Talk to career services
We all need jobs and internships, so speaking with career services, even early on, so you can discuss your options and what kind of career you'd want in communications is essential. Once it comes down to applying for jobs and internships in your junior and senior years, you'll be ready to dive right in!
Join a group chat with students in your major
If there isn't one that you know of, then start one! It's a great way to ask around for peer advice on classes to schedule and professors to take, so include students of all grades and levels of experience. Plus, if any of you are in the same classes, you can study and work together!
Find alumni on LinkedIn
A great way to do this is to make a list of companies in your field of study that you'd be excited to work or intern for. Then look them all up on LinkedIn, and whenever you find a company with alumni from your university, look to see if any of them have a job you'd want. Connect with them and send them a message, something short, but make sure to reach out and let them know who you are and why you've connected with them! This is a great way to network in companies you want a job with and learn about the details of the job you want!
Join a communications club/organization
Joining a comm club on campus, whether it's an advertising club or a journalism organization, is a great way to start getting some experience and to get a feel for what jobs and positions in communications that you like, as well as ones that just aren't a fit for you. And if you can join more than one, all the better! Just make sure that you choose wisely, and try things that interest you.