All change for your IC career?

Are you happy in your current internal communications (IC) job? Are you thinking of going freelance, back in-house or changing company? At this time of year, thoughts turn to the upcoming 12 months and traditionally it’s the time for thinking about your career.

On Tuesday 11 December, @theICcrowd is hosting a social event in London. We’re expecting around 100 professional communicators, the majority of whom work in-house. It is being sponsored by Engage Group and VMA Group and is an informal opportunity to network and make new contacts, which could potentially lead to future work. There are literally a handful of tickets left, so do reserve yours now.

I regularly match people in my network with each other as I hear about vacancies and am approached by internal comms professionals who are looking for work. With the continued decrease in recruitment budgets and increased desire for internal comms professionals to develop themselves, people seem keen to move, but want to be sure before they make the change.

The broadness of our profession means that now more than ever IC pros can choose if they would like to specialise in a certain area, such as digital. This week I read a report from David Ferrabee at Able & How called The Uncertain Future of Corporate Communications. If you’d like to read the document in full, you can request it by contacting them directly.

Shaken and confused?
It states: The future of Corporate Communications is not at all clear. In fact, this analysis suggests that it is very much in doubt… Corporate Communications functions appear to be shaken and confused. However, even in the face of changes that have not favoured the function, there are opportunities. The skills and capabilities that many communicators possess are being put to use in helping to bring about change.

However, the analysis wasn’t all doom and gloom, there were some reasons for optimism too: “There are changes taking place that should provide more than a little solace for the worried communicator: new budgets for specific disciplines. In discussing the future with Directors of Communications in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and Asia we found that many of them were able to ensure new funding for certain areas of work. These new areas are not necessarily that new for the Corporate Communications function. They are things like digital communications, change management, corporate responsibility and thought-leadership.”

David Ferrabee of Able & How says: “Directors of Communications are developing business cases for the delivery of these areas. And they are being heard. In most cases it’s not just the idea of a ‘business case’ that is taking communications people out of their comfort zones. In order to make a case for these areas of specialisation, people have to show skills that they may feel uncertain about. To make the case communicators have to wander into parts of the business where they may not feel too welcome.”

What do you think of the findings? The report goes on to highlight three main trends: Doing more with less, Dropping down the line and Areas of specialisation. It also identified an area ‘where Corporate Communications can add a great deal’ –  effective communication of organisational change.

David adds: “More than 30 years of research shows that change seldom delivers the intended value in organisations. The same research shows that the consistent failure of change programmes can be increasingly addressed by successful communications and engagement. And Corporate Communications can open that door. The skills needed for many of these areas of specialisation are still held in Corporate Communications functions. However, people in these roles need to learn how to build the relationships, arguments and capabilities to deliver what the business needs.”

What skills do you think are critical for internal communicators? The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted what it called the ‘must-have job skills in 2013‘ – for any role – as: clear communications, personal branding, flexibility and productivity improvement.

I regularly write about internal comms careers on my blog. I’ve had a look through my archive and thought I’d highlight some of them again here to help you think through your options if you are thinking about changing your current situation:

Diary of a freelancer – Kim Borrowdale highlights what it is like to
Survival of the fittest – by David Broome, VMA Group
Working your way in the freelance economy – by Joe O’Shea
Why being an internal communicator in 2012 is a good thing – by Wayne Renolds
Between a job and a hard place – by Euan Gillies
Bursting out of the IC bubble – by Kim Borrowdale

CIPR Inside is holding two career path events, on 8 and 10 January and free tickets are available. Find out more information.

If you are thinking about changing your career in 2013, I wish you the best of luck. If you have any thoughts on the report I’ve mentioned above or any of the articles, tweet me @AllthingsIC or feel free to comment below. If you’re coming to @theICcrowd social, do say hello, Rachel

Post author: Rachel Miller


  1. Rachel,
    Thanks for writing about this and adding your point of view. There are changes happening in every profession, so we should not feel that we are the focus of something special. In fact, we may want to look at it as a challenge that we are uniquely qualified to respond to.

  2. Thank you for your comment David and for sharing your report, Rachel

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