Arun Chitnis, Corporate Communications and Media Relations of JLL India talks to The Afternoon D&C and sheds some light on the world of corporate communication...
As the name suggests, corporate communication or ‘CorpComm’ is basically about communication - and while communication itself is a pretty vast concept, in this case, it is quite specific. You communicate on behalf of a company. This can mean many things and includes (but is almost never limited to):
- Writing press releases and disseminating them either yourself or via a PR agency or newswire service.
- Writing internal communications, speeches and press briefings on behalf of the senior stakeholders in the company.
- Dealing with the media on a pretty regular basis and ensuring that the company is quoted often and favourably.
- Training people within the company in good communication skills and protocols.
Two things stand out here- media/press relations and writing.
In other words, a background in journalism can be a major asset for someone looking for a career in CorpComm. This is because a reporter, almost by definition:
- Has attained a more than cursory proficiency in writing
- Knows how the media world works and has contacts in it.
- Is used to coordinating with people to gather accurate information quickly.
- Understands and respects deadlines.
This is not to say that a journalistic background is an absolute prerequisite for a career in corporate communication, but you get the idea. Primarily, your language skills both- verbal and written will determine how successful you become in this field. Other must-have qualities are:
- The ability to focus sharply on a task at hand even while juggling multiple tasks.
- A very good knowledge of social media (you will be doing a lot of it on behalf of your company).
- A high level of comfort with the Internet, computers and MS Office or similar programs, and
- A researcher’s temperament.
Depending on the size and prominence of the company you are applying at, your interviewer will expect to see some or all of the following features reflected in your CV:
- A degree in Mass Communication and/ or Public Relations
- Some experience in journalism, research or as a CorpComm professional in a previous firm
- Skills such as proficiency in social media, MS Office suite programs and Internet research
- Links to your personal blog or your posts on blogs you write for and articles published under your byline.
The interviewer will consider the manner in which your CV has been composed as the first and foremost evidence of your writing skills. He or she will also subject you to more tests to gauge your writing proficiency and quiz you extensively about your understanding of or and connections with the media. Your social media skills will also be tested.
Finally, remember that corporate communication is not a glamorous job in the usual sense of the word. It is not your job to look good yourself – it is your job to make others look good. If you manage to do that consistently and exponentially, your rewards in terms of remuneration, job satisfaction, and internal acknowledgment will be quite satisfying. If you love this work, it will love you right back.