By Erin DeVito
When registering for classes for my senior fall semester, I needed a 400-level requirement course. After looking through the limited options, I chose a Special Topics-Media Activity. After reading about Hawk Communications and even after seeing some friends in the class I wanted to learn more. I remember Professor Green had us introduce ourselves and share why we took this course, reassuring us that it was fine to be honest. So, I stood up stating that it was a requirement, but I was excited for what was in store. After listening to what Professor Green had to say about what was expected throughout the semester, I left the class feeling excited, interested, but most importantly overwhelmed.
Once we were assigned our clients and we were able to meet with them to discuss what we would be doing for the semester, I felt relieved. I had the pleasure of working on the Garden State Wine Growers Association with Tom Cosentino, and promoting the Hawk Communications agency with Professor Keith Green.
When working with clients you adapt to their workstyle, expectations, communication skills, and personalities. I quickly learned from both clients that constant communication is key. I get nervous reaching out and contacting my boss or professor when I am not 100% sure about something. I would rather ask three other students before my professor. So, with this constant communication and updating our clients I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and it paid off. I have never had a problem with communication, but this has really helped me in the next steps of my life when it comes to the professional world.
I worked on social media for both of my clients. This was a lot of fun but at times stressful. The GSWGA was a group of eight of us, all working on social media. We teamed up to get a look that matched the association’s Instagram page, received client approved and waited to see if it was published since we did not have those privileges. This client uses a draft website called Hootsuite, which I had never heard of this prior to working with them, so this was a bit of a challenge to learn. But by practicing and asking my team for guidance, our work was successful. There were many soft skills I learned, such as communication, problem-solving, teamwork and content creating. I consider myself very lucky to have worked with my account team and Garden state Wine Growers Association.
For my second client, I oversaw creating Instagram content. Working for Professor Green on Hawk Communications was amazing. I pushed myself in ways I never knew I could. I had limited experience with social media graphics but I was able to create and upload them every week this past semester. My account team hosted a headshot day for our classmates. This was so successful because everyone in the class was able to use their headshots for their LinkedIn profile, resumes, and for any future jobs. It was also extremely fun to capture everyone’s awesome pictures. I then used the pictures from our headshot event, to post “Meet the Team” on Instagram every week. I made graphics with each account team’s logo and their headshots for Instagram. I was able to raise the following and the engagement was awesome this whole semester on Instagram. Being in full control over this social media account was huge for me and I learned so many new things on content, time management, and communication.
To have the opportunity to work with both clients has been the most rewarding experience I have had in my college career. I was able to have a sneak peek into the professional world and know just a little bit of what is expected. But I also have a long way to go, and that is OK. I know I could improve by speaking up more in meetings. I tend to doubt my opinions, but nobody will ever hear my ideas if I do not learn to voice them. Leaving this course, I am feeling more prepared for the workforce and that is way more than I could’ve said in September. I will end this with course feeling grateful, more confident and knowing I am capable of more have more than I thought.