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How to Become a Communications Director

If you love PR, have great communication skills, and are able to see both sides of the equation when it comes to a company and the public, you could be an excellent fit for a communications director. Communications directors are the liaison between the company and the public. They handle all communication, which may include press statements, newsletters, website copy, social media profiles, crisis communications, fundraisers, panel discussions, public interviews, and more.

Communications directors will need to have plenty of experience in the field and often have a background in PR. You should possess excellent verbal and written communication skills as well as strong interpersonal skills. You should be up to date on recent trends and be familiar with PR statements.

Sample job description

[Your company name] is in need of a communications director for our facility. As communications director, you would be responsible for supervising all means of communication between our company and the public. This position requires strong written and verbal communication skills, excellent people skills, and strong leadership skills. Our communications director will be a leader responsible for overall communication strategy & marketing campaign development related to assigned initiatives and segments across multiple portfolios, business units, and product segments. This individual will serve as a strategic partner to the rest of our executive team.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Create and implement multi-channel communications strategies 
  • Create and distribute the communications department budget
  • Lead the communications department
  • Prepare and manage all communications material
  • Develop and maintain brand image

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in journalism, english, marketing, advertising, communications, or another related field
  • 5+ years of professional experience

Required skills and qualifications

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Driven leadership skills
  • Familiarity with social media platforms, Google Analytics, and Google Ad Words
  • Proficient in technology
  • Experienced leadership skills
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Project management skills
  • Highly sociable
  • Creative skills
  • Well articulated

Preferred qualifications

  • Proven communications experience
  • Master’s degree in related field

Typical work environment

The typical work environment for a communications director is inside their company’s office building. They spend a lot of time in their personal office space along with conference rooms where they’re meeting with team members. They also spend quite a bit of time traveling to press conferences, media appearances, product launches, and other corporate events.

Typical hours

Communication directors work a typical 40-hour workweek. They may occasionally have to work overtime whether it be late nights, weekends, or even some holidays. Company deadlines are very important in the communications field. Special cases like a company crisis don’t wait for holidays or weekdays. Communication directors are essentially always on call for such scenarios. 

Available certifications

Certifications are an excellent way to increase your knowledge and boost your marketability as a communications director. While there are several to choose from, here are just a few of the available options:

  • Accredited Business Communicator (ABC). The ABC showcases that you are a communications professional. Obtaining this requires at least two years of education or training after high school and a minimum of two years of work experience. Candidates must pass the exam and recertify every 12 months.
  • Certified Advertising Specialist (CAS). Communications directors are important marketers, and the CAS will set a candidate apart from the rest. This certification requires a minimum of two years of education or training after high school and at least two years of work experience. Candidates must pass an exam. Certification renewal is required every three years.
  • Certified Resume Specialist: Public Relations and Marketing Communications (CRS+PR). If you’re working in PR or marketing communications, this is truly the best certification you can get. Not only will it help you hire new individuals, but it will also help you create the best resume for yourself. The CRS+PR requires candidates to pass an oral or written exam. Recertification is required every five years.

Career path

The most logical first step to becoming a communications director is obtaining a bachelor’s degree in a related field. This is an upper-level position that will require higher education. Many directors will obtain a master’s degree on top of their bachelor’s in marketing, communications, or business. Once finished with school, gaining the required work experience in the communications field is imperative. You’ll need anywhere from five to ten years of experience.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 27-3031

2020 Employment272,300
Projected Employment in 2030303,400
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 11% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift31,200 increase

While the marketing field has shifted from traditional marketing methods to more technologically advanced methods like social media and other avenues, the field of marketing itself isn’t going anywhere. As long as there are consumers, there will be suppliers. And as long as there are suppliers, there will be a need for marketing.