A communications officer writes, edits and publishes information about a company to both external and internal audiences.
The communication officer plays a major role in how employees and customers view a company.
The communication officer job can be found in many areas of a company: corporate headquarters, major divisions, marketing, human resources, public relations, international and so on. The communication officer works with people across the organization and must be able to manage large and small projects.
Communications officers must demonstrate strong writing and editing skills; understand and be fluent in the use of software applications, such as Word and PowerPoint; understand and be able to apply Associated Press and Chicago style guides; have the ability to multi-task and set priorities; manage time efficiently; prepare and manage project budgets; demonstrate strong teamwork skills; manage and work with internal and external business partners and vendors; maintain project calendar; and deliver communications within assigned deadlines.
Generally, a B.A. degree is required. The college degree can be in any discipline, but English, journalism, marketing, communications, business, liberal arts or human resources are most common. Some universities, such as College at Florham, Madison, New Jersey, and Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, offer degrees in organizational communications. A graduate degree is preferred for senior-level positions.
The International Association of Business Communicators offers accreditation to career communication officers. In addition to communication skills, the process reviews applicant's time management, goal setting, problem solving and management skills.
Depending on the geographic area and industry, salaries for junior officers start around $30,000. Salaries for senior officers are more than $100,000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, annual wage for a marketing manager ranged from $55,000 to $148,000, and median wage was $108,580 as of May 2008 (the most current statistic available).
According to a 2008 survey of Fortune 200 companies conducted by Korn/Ferry Institute, average compensation for a chief communications officer was $1.099 million.