When I interviewed for Hawk Communications (Hawk) during my sophomore year, I knew that it would be a rewarding experience, yet I was unsure just how much it would prepare me for my future. Recently, I was offered an entry level position at Zito Partners, a public relations and marketing firm in Warren, NJ. If not for the agency’s opportunity to work with various clients to strengthen their endeavors in public relations over the past few years, I do not believe that I would have gotten the job.
Though I graduate this semester, I did not plan to start my job search until after graduation, for I knew that it would be difficult to get a job with the unfortunate circumstances of the pandemic. My priority was finishing my last semester of college strong. However, when I received an email from Bond Benton, a professor I had for previous public relations courses that informed me about the position, I knew I had to jump on the opportunity and use the skills that I gained from the internship–like course to sell myself for the role.
I sent my resume and cover letter, which contains my experience in Hawk relevant for any job in the public relations field, to Deborah Kostroun, a Managing Director at Zito Partners. After she indicated she wanted to set up a phone interview, I started to prepare by reviewing my accomplishments in the course. I also researched Zito Partners and uncovered that the firm takes the time to become familiar with its clients, to know their personalities, to understand their culture and to share their objectives so they can partner with them and help them succeed. Since Hawk also has the mission of familiarizing itself with clients so that the students can successfully help them attain their goals, it was paramount to discuss my public relations efforts for the clients that I worked for with Deborah.
I have worked on several accounts in my time at Hawk, such as the Montclair Art Museum and the Garden State Winegrowers Association, but the organization that I had the most enduring impact on is New Jersey Warriors Hockey (NJ Warriors). In the interview, I highlighted my achievements for the organization, such as generating earned media coverage on CBS New York and Sports Illustrated as well as posting content three to four times a week on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I described the gratifying feeling that I felt from helping the organization and how doing so gave me a newfound passion for public relations. Deborah was thrilled as caring for clients is a necessary quality for a career in public relations.
While she was excited by my enthusiasm for the field in general, I firmly believe that my experience in pitching to the media earned me the job. In addition to contributing toward the NJ Warriors receiving media hits on well–regarded outlets, Deborah was stunned that I had any experience pitching at all. She expressed how it was challenging to find candidates who had pitched before, so she was excited that my experience involved reaching out to at least three outlets every week, professing how it would be a crucial asset to the Zito Partners team.
I had no skills in pitching preceding taking Hawk, so I am unable to fully show my gratitude toward the instructor of the course, Professor Keith Green, for giving me the chance to work with different clients and ultimately better my communications expertise. I am confident that the experience I gained in Hawk was a big factor in Deborah choosing me for the role, so I thank everyone who I worked with in the agency that helped me reach my career goals. For anyone looking to pursue a profession in communications, I highly recommend taking this course as it helps you obtain skills that considerably prepare you for one. While I will miss Hawk dearly, I look forward to the next chapter of my life.