Besides anchoring news or working in a busy newsroom, journalists have several other alternative careers. With the right skills and experience, there are various alternative jobs for journalism graduates. These careers enable journalists to fit well in the competitive job market even after one exits journalism.
As a journalist, one can work for a television, radio station, or newspaper company, or you can get a contract working as a freelancer. But, if for any reason you don’t get a job as a journalist, or you want a better-paying job with more hours, here are many careers for you.
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Best Alternative Careers for Journalists
1. Marketing managers
A marketing manager is one of the best alternative jobs for journalism graduates. A marketing manager ensures a company’s products and services are marketed well by creating awareness and executing strategies that help meet consumers’ needs. The career entails managing internal teams, overseeing the promotion of products, and advertising products on different media platforms.
To qualify for this career, one needs to hold a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or a related field. One should also have excellent verbal and written communication skills. You also need strong decision-making, multitasking, and project-management skills.
The average annual base salary of a marketing manager is $67,689 with the top earners making more than $101K a year.
2. Public affairs specialist
Many companies hire public relations officers to deal with bloggers, community members, influencers, and journalists. This career requires someone who can communicate well with people and understand the social and political dynamics of the organization.
A journalist who doubles up as a true public servant and looking for an alternative to working in the newsroom can be well suited for this job. The ability to research, analyze, communicate, and develop a good relationship with sources of information is key in this career.
The average base salary of a public affairs officer is $76,054 per year, with the highest salary being $112k
3. Market research analyst
Being a market research analyst is also one of the best alternative careers that pay well for journalists. This career calls for someone who can help companies market their services and products and help them to maximize their profits.
Since journalism is about researching and analyzing information, putting the pieces together, and then coming up with the best, one can fit well in any organization as a market research analyst.
4. Content marketer
A content marketer is involved in the creation and marketing of multimedia and written content for a product or brand. This serves as a marketing strategy to help create awareness resulting in higher demand for a service or product.
Rather than making a direct sale, content marketers aim at educating and giving information to customers, which helps build brand awareness. As a content marketer, one can work as a freelancer, in-house, or as part of a company since they have their bylines.
To qualify for this job, one needs to be good at editing and content creation and understand sales funnels. You also need to have excellent planning, research, and SEO skills. A bachelor’s degree in marketing or any related field qualifies for this job. Having experience in technology or business as a journalist is an added advantage.
The average salary of a content marketer is $53,234. It is one of the best alternative careers for journalists, with the top-paid experts earning more than $81k a year.
5. Social media manager
Most organizations seek professionals to serve as their voice across social media platforms. Being a social media manager is among the best alternative jobs for journalists as it requires a combination of design & writing skills and the ability for creative thinking.
Besides being great in communication, you will also need to be efficient and have top-notch organizational skills. A degree in public relations, marketing, or a related field will make it easier to land a well-paying job.
6. Customer success manager
A customer success manager is responsible for identifying problems in a company or business before they happen. They are concerned with ensuring that customers are happy and satisfied with the products and services they purchase.
A good customer success manager possesses excellent organization and presentation skills, empathy, and industrial knowledge. One should also have great leadership qualities to lead their customer success team.
To qualify, one needs a degree in public relations, marketing, or a related field. The average annual salary for customer success managers is $70,486, with the highest-paid taking home more than $111k a year.
Every business requires a person or team that provides professional advice for maximum output. If you’re a journalist and have expertise in a particular field, this job is among the alternative careers that pay well. A consultant helps a business or firm identify problems and offer suitable solutions.
With great communication skills, expertise, and deep industry experience, one can secure a job with major companies. A bachelor’s degree in business administration, finance, accounting, or business management helps qualify for a career as a consultant.
Industry specialization gives one an upper hand in the job market. The average salary for a government consultant is $67054 per year with the potential to earn more than $80k a year with experience and niche specialization.
8. Public relations associate
A big overlap between journalism and public relations associate makes this one of the best alternative jobs for journalists. The job entails planning, managing the company’s social media presence, communicating, and advertising on behalf of the business. Having good communication skills and a strong writing portfolio helps one acquire a job as public relations associate.
A bachelor’s degree in marketing, public relations communication, business, or any other related field gives you an edge over other candidates. The average annual salary for public relations associates is $46,509 and the top earners make more than $62k a year.
9. Technical writer
For a journalist who translates documents on complex or technical subjects and makes a copy easy for the general audience to understand, getting a job as a technical writer might be an ideal alternative. A technical writer in a company prepares how-to guides and manuals to help their customers understand and interpret difficult information.
Specialization in a particular field can help one secure a job in a niche-specific company, which means you get to earn more as a result. To be a technical writer, one needs to have the ability to use technical writing tools, an interest in technical subjects, great writing skills, proofreading skills, and be systematic.
This career does not necessarily require a degree in technical writing but in communications. The average salary of a technical writer is $61,553 per year. The top-paid experts earn more than $89k a year and the job is one of the high-paying jobs for writers.
10. Communication Specialist
Journalism and communication specialist can be viewed as two sides of the same coin. While a journalist collects information, a communication specialist relays information. The career involves the management of public relations, press releases, information output, and social media. They also represent a business to the outer world and plan press conferences and events.
You need to have acquired a bachelor’s degree in journalism, public relations, communication, or any other relevant field to become a communication specialist with leading companies. You also require excellent verbal and written communication skills, computer literacy, and experience in content writing.
The average annual salary of communication specialists is $54,851 per year and the top-paid experts earn more than $78k a year.
This video can also help if you have a journalism degree. Credit: Lucia Montes.
Skills to transition from journalism to alternative careers
With the right skills, qualifications, and experience, it is quite easy to transition from journalism to an alternative career. The following skills are helpful;
a). Excellent writing and editing skills
Writing is one of the most crucial skills that make it possible for one to move from one industry to the other. Great writing and editing skills will make the transitioning process smooth.
b). Ability to meet deadlines
A competent journalist can work under tight schedules and meet strict deadlines. One is also able to handle criticism and use it to better themselves. Such skills also make it easy to transition from journalism to other career worlds.
c). Creativity and critical analysis
Journalism involves being creative and having the ability for critical analysis. These qualities help one to smoothly transition to other alternative careers for journalists. If you can retell old stories or interestingly narrate new ones and simplify difficult topics to your audience, you can easily transfer your skills to closely-related careers.
d). Great communication skills
A journalist cannot make it without possessing great communication skills, which is also crucial in other fields. One ought to have the ability to communicate with ease and clarity.
FAQs about alternative careers for journalists
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about alternative careers for journalists;
a). What challenges do journalists face?
According to a health literacy study done in 2021, about 13.9% of journalists cannot differentiate between fiction and fact when dealing with elections and politics. About 30% of journalists also have difficulties contacting their sources while working from home.
b). What can I do instead of journalism?
Several career options exist where you can put your communication and creativity instead of journalism. These alternatives include working for broadcast and media companies, magazines, television, and radio stations.
c). Is a career in journalism worth it?
Yes. A career in journalism is worth it as it allows you to meet new people each day and learn various topics. It is also quite fun and fascinating, covering many stories. One can easily transfer services to other fields after leaving journalism.
Several alternative jobs for journalists exist that are worth and better paying. With the right academic qualifications, skills, and experience, one can never go wrong. while pursuing a course in journalism, it is necessary to know the requirements for other alternative careers for journalists.