Communications Assistant Job Description
Communications Assistants are primarily responsible for creating and publishing content, brainstorming ideas, overseeing office activities and putting together newsletters and other publications. Oftentimes, they will also need to write press releases, monitor media coverage and attend both internal and external events.
Communications Assistants can work for any organization with a communications department. This can include universities, magazines, nonprofit foundations, large corporations, real estate agencies and tech startups, to name just a few. Most of their work takes place in an office environment, although they may also be frequently required to attend interviews, press conferences, meetings and fundraising events. Communications Assistants generally report to a higher-level member of staff, such as a Communications Manager or Director of Communications, while simultaneously collaborating with a number of colleagues.
Communications Assistant Duties and Responsibilities
Communications Assistants regularly perform a variety of tasks to keep internal operations running smoothly and uphold their company’s external image. We analyzed multiple online job postings to identify these core duties and responsibilities.
Manage Social Media
In today’s world, companies are taking their online presence more seriously than ever before. To ensure that their company is active and well received on social media, Communications Assistants will need to create and upload content to various platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or the company blog.
Communications Assistants are regularly asked to write articles, interviews and short blurbs for their organization’s newsletter, email campaign or publication. This involves conducting research, writing pieces of content, editing that content and submitting it for release.
In most cases, the Communications Assistant will be expected to contribute to brainstorming sessions within the communications department or the entire organization. These sessions might be focused on marketing, fundraising, advertising or public relations.
In order to assess the status of their company’s public image, Communications Assistants will need to regularly collect and assess data and analytics across a variety of digital platforms. Then, based on their analysis of that data, they will make recommendations for expanding or improving both public image and online presence.
Pitch and Interview
Depending on the size of their company, Communications Assistants may be asked to pitch stories to local and national media networks and conduct interviews with donors, executives, business partners and other important figures.
Oversee Office Functions
Typically, Communications Assistants will be asked to assist with general administration in the communications department. This can involve answering calls, scheduling meetings, preparing presentations, gathering materials for conferences, processing mail and making travel arrangements.
Communications Assistant Skills
Successful Communications Assistants are calm, cool and collected individuals who have an eye for detail and thrive in a fast-paced environment. They are just as comfortable interacting with single individuals as they are with presenting to a large group of people, and they tend to perform excellently under pressure. In addition to these general personality traits and abilities, employers are looking for Communications Assistants with the following skills:
- Organization: Since they’ll be handling a number of logistical details and juggling several different types of projects, it’s no surprise that exceptional organization and fastidious attention to detail are important skills for Communications Assistants to have.
- Interpersonal Skills: Given the sheer number of people who they’ll have to interact with on a daily basis, it’s essential for Communications Assistants to have great interpersonal skills and be able to seamlessly carry a conversation.
- Strong Writing: In order to produce clear, concise and professional press releases, articles, blog posts and email campaigns, Communications Assistants need to have solid writing and editing skills.
- Ability to Multitask: Having the ability to multitask is crucial for Communications Assistants, since they’ll often find themselves bouncing between administrative work, meetings, writing and public relations events.
- Customer Service: Employers often prefer candidates who have experience in customer service, since the skills they learn in that field can easily carry over to those needed to perform the duties of a Communications Assistant.
- Teamwork: Most of the things that a Communications Assistant will do, from scheduling meetings to writing press releases, will be a collaborative effort which will require input from multiple sources. Because of this, Communications Assistants need to be great team players.
Communications Assistant Salary
According to data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for Media and Communication Workers, which includes Communications Assistants, is $45,220. The lowest ten percent make $23,910 per year, while the highest paid can make up to $91,420 per year. Communications Assistants in the District of Columbia, Alaska and Colorado enjoy the highest median annual wage in the United States, earning $65,500, $60,000 and $57,800 per year, respectively.
Communications Assistant Tools of the Trade
If you’re planning on pursuing a career as a Communications Assistant, you should make sure that you’re familiar with the following:
Standard Office Equipment: Communications Assistants will need to operate standard office equipment such as copiers, printers and fax machines on a regular basis.
Telecommunications Systems: In order to speak with colleagues, journalists and interviewees, Communications Assistants use both mobile phones and landlines.
Recent Versions of Microsoft Office Software Suites: The programs included in Microsoft Office, such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Publisher, are essential to the work of a Communications Assistant.
Recent Versions of Adobe Software Suites: In some cases, Communications Assistants will need to contribute to video and design projects. Photoshop and Premiere Pro are often required tools for doing so.
Communications Assistant Resources
We put together the following list of resources to help you continue exploring your career as a Communications Assistant.
Ragan Communications Inc. – This website is chock full of articles on internal communications, public relations, social media, writing and editing, speechwriting and so much more.
Holtz Communication + Technology Blog – This blog features regular updates on industry news.
CEB Blogs – If you’re looking for frequent articles about all the ins and outs of corporate communications, this is the place for you.
Public Relations and Communications Professionals – With nearly 300,000 members, this LinkedIn group is the perfect place to connect with other communications professionals.
Corporate Communications – This LinkedIn group has almost 125,000 and is dedicated to the discussion of all things having to do with corporate communications.
National Communication Association – The NCA publishes 11 academic journals, hosts an annual convention and offers a plethora of courses and programs.
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