Communications is often seen as an art, and communicators will bend to all manner of tasks. There are wide-ranging career opportunities in communications, and the dreams that they evoke are just as colourful. But what do students of communications ultimately become when they graduate, and what kind of work will they do? I was given the opportunity to learn about this enigmatic job description of communications in my busy summer as a communications trainee at VTT, and at the same time to develop my own skills in the field of communications.
The early winter is the most stressful time for many students; sending out applications for summer work is in full swing, and studies still weigh heavily on their shoulders. This year the coronavirus brought an unwanted addition to the application process, and many applicants had lucrative traineeships yanked away from under their noses. I was one of the lucky ones and snagged a communications traineeship with the VTT communications team, and I have been immersing myself into the mysterious world of communications since May.
From social media experts to communications gurus - What will students of communications do when they get a job?
Over the years I have often been asked what a student of communications can do after graduating - will we all become journalists, social media wizards, or communication gurus, perhaps? A beginner in communications could fall into an identity crisis for much less, as there is no single clear answer to that question. But this is exactly what makes the field of communications so great. Communicators work for businesses, newspapers, organisations, and in the public sector as specialists, consultants, planners, and directors. There is media communications, working community communications, marketing communications and online communications – plenty to choose from in other words.
Science also needs its communicators, and VTT is a great place to communicate from an angle of science and research. At VTT communications is an important tool in the development and implementation of the strategy of the entire organisation. Communicating about work that is meaningful for the creation of a better future offers limitless opportunities for students of communications to learn new things and to develop. This is what makes communications at VTT so inspiring and so special - knowing that the work is effective and significant. Communicators at VTT also get to engage with their internal researchers in different tasks, in which there is plenty of space for brainstorming and creativity.
Interesting tasks and versatile experiences
My own traineeship at VTT has offered great perspectives and has been a lesson on all the things that are part of work in communications. I have been given the opportunity to do diverse work at tasks involving both internal and external communications, from drafting articles and updating the intranet to the design and creation of social media channels. Alongside managing social media, I have also become familiar with sustainability communications and work community communications. In addition, I have been responsible for my own projects, for example, the summer trainees’ Blossoming summer of science campaign on VTT's social media channels.
I was given enough responsibility and opportunities for independent work, while keeping in mind that I am a trainee, which meant that I did not immediately have to step into the shoes of a full-fledged communications professional. I have received awesome support from my colleagues, and they have made it possible for me to learn new things and to develop my own skills by giving me different kinds of tasks that were sometimes quite challenging. The best moments and the challenges of communications lurk in the fact that each working day is different, and you can never tell what the day will bring.
Although I still cannot give a comprehensive answer to the question of what we communicators will do when we grow up, and I probably never will be able to answer that, I am glad about the diverse career opportunities and dreams offered by the field of communications, also in science.
The writer is a master's student at the University of Vaasa, majoring in digital media. She is working at VTT as a trainee on the communications team.