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USC is a leading private research university located in Los Angeles – a global center for arts, technology and international business. As the city’s largest private employer, responsible for more than $8 billion annually in economic activity in the region, we offer the opportunity to work in a dynamic and diverse environment, in careers that span a broad spectrum of talents and skills across a variety of academic schools and units. As a USC employee, you will enjoy excellent benefits and perks, and you will be a member of the Trojan Family - the faculty, staff, students and alumni who make USC a great place to work. Think you’ve got what it takes to join us? We invite you to search our open positions and apply!

Senior Communications Specialist

Strategic Communications Los Angeles, California

The University of Southern California (USC) is one of the world’s leading private research universities. An anchor institution in Los Angeles, a global center for arts, technology, and international business, USC is also one of the largest private employers in the City of Los Angeles.  We are searching for exceptional individuals to help us fulfill our mission: Developing individuals and society as a whole through the cultivation and enrichment of the human mind and spirit. 

Job Summary

The Senior Communications Specialist supports operational and project-based communications for the HR organization by keeping employees aware of important items like benefits, performance management, learning and development opportunities, talent acquisition, and other key HR-related programs. The Senior Communications Specialist is responsible for partnering with HR leaders across the organization to produce engaging and accessible content for a broad range of internal and external campus stakeholders, as well as the public. This role supports the execution of the communications plan and provides expertise and best practices towards communications and campaign strategies. The Senior Communications Specialist defines measurement approaches, conducts regular evaluation of communications tool effectiveness based on best practices, reports results and refines practices as needed. This role will execute USC’s vision while championing USC’s culture and values.

Minimum Qualifications

The candidate for the position of Senior Communications Specialist must meet the following qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, business, public relations or another related field.
  • Seven or more years of experience in one or more of the following fields: public relations, HR communications or another related field.
  • A concise and compelling writer.
  • Collaborative work ethic with superior organizational skills.
  • Creative flair, originality, and attention to detail.
  • Strong visual sense of design and typography.
  • Experience writing for a multitude of communication channels including spoken, written, video productions, social media, and web.
  • Experience developing content for HR services and strategies.
  • Ability to distill complex HR-topics and content into personable, easy-to-understand information.
  • Experience executing communications strategy for similar or larger audiences using old and new media.
  • Comfortable with communications technology and complex environments.
  • Ability to manage concurrent projects, prioritize competing assignments, and work under pressure with tight deadlines and frequent interruptions.
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment in making decisions with minimal supervision and discretion with confidential information.
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills with the ability to produce quality copy on a tight schedule.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and relationship-building abilities.
  • Ability to work strategically and collaboratively across departments.
  • Experience working in diverse, cross-functional teams.
  • Excellent analytical skills and the ability to think strategically and creatively.
  • Demonstrated data-driven mindset and instinct for extracting insights from metrics for informed decision-making.
  • Experience with content management systems.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint).
  • Design experience with Adobe tools such as Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, etc.

Preferred Qualifications

The ideal candidate for the position of Senior Communications Specialist has the following qualifications:

  • Advanced degree in communications, journalism, business, public relations or another related field.
  • Ten or more years of experience in one or more of the following fields: higher education, executive communications or another related field.
  • Demonstrated interest in working with diverse, multicultural communities and/or in international settings.
  • Executive communications and speech-writing experience.
  • HR Business Partner or Generalist experience.
  • Experience in leadership and people-building roles.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively communicate with senior leadership.
  • HR systems and program fluency (including benefits, performance management, L&D, HRIS implementation and management, talent acquisition initiatives, etc.).
  • Design experience creating assets for digital environments (WordPress, social, search and display advertising, etc.) including HTML and CSS, Adobe Creative Suite, etc.

Job Responsibilities

The candidate for the position of Senior Communications Specialist will be responsible for:

  • Possessing a broad understanding of HR functions to inform communication policies and procedures. Ensuring that clear, engaging, and accurate communications are produced for and delivered to USC HR stakeholders. Developing communications plans and content to articulate important items like benefits, performance management, learning and development opportunities, talent acquisition, and other key HR-related programs.
  • Developing and refining style guides for HR and communications staff, ensuring they are aligned with University brand guidelines and HR Senior Leadership style preferences. Supporting efforts to streamline messaging by providing consultation support to HR departments. Assisting the communications team with presentation deck graphics, visual assets, and all things digital from web pages to internal social posts. Working within established brand and style guidelines. Developing executive content including speeches, talking points, and collateral.
  • Establishing benchmarks and creating achievable targets to increase customer engagement with and understanding of communications. Responding effectively to the reactions and positions of others. Developing different strategic approaches to address various HR customer’s present and future needs. Demonstrating sensitivity to audience diversity with various levels of HR knowledge.
  • Encouraging open expression of ideas and opinions. Demonstrating highly specialized written and verbal communication skills for executive HR messages. Providing direction, guidance, and counsel to junior members of the communications team. Exchanging complex ideas and information in a concise and logical manner. Demonstrating the ability to effectively navigate high stakes conversations, presentations, and speeches.
  • Supporting continuous improvement by gathering data on stakeholder feedback and outreach initiatives and measuring the impact. Providing insight throughout strategic communications and planning processes. Assessing, developing, and innovating on leading-edge communication channels. Adapting to a fast-paced environment; switching from one project medium to the next quickly and efficiently while maintaining accuracy of details.
  • Prioritizing projects from concept to review and completion. Meeting deadlines and working in an environment with changing priorities. Advising the communications team on priorities according to the communications plan. Determining the best medium to communicate critical HR content to a broad and diverse range of stakeholders.
  • Telling honest and transparent stories. Contributing to an inclusive environment by building and maintaining collaborative relationships with team members, peers, and leaders across the HR organization. Upholding the principles of the USC Code of Ethics.
  • Facilitating alignment on objectives, strategies, and plans by assisting with the review and approval process for internal and external communications.  Maintaining awareness of shifting organizational priorities and adjusting communications accordingly. Demonstrating, through words, actions, and ideas, alignment to USC’s Strategic Plan and the HR Organization’s Strategic Plan.
  • Performing other related responsibilities as requested and when necessary. The University reserves the right to add or change duties at any time.

The University of Southern California is an Equal Opportunity Employer


Oversees and reviews content creation and development, ensuring clear, engaging communications. Manages structural leadership on objectives, strategies, and plans, aligning messaging and supporting needs for change and transition initiatives. Leads development efforts regarding documentation, intranet, and social media presence. Manages departmental public relations efforts, maintaining customer-experience continuity and consistency for a school or division’s brand.


REQ20093230 Posted Date: 10/01/2020

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