PRSSA members host NHL PR professionals
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 07:10
Members of the Pittsburgh Penguins public relations team visited campus Monday to share their experience with members of the Public Relations Student Society of America.
The team shared stories of working with the hockey team and gave students insight to becoming successful in the world of sports communication.
"My first year as a director, we won the (Stanley) Cup," said Jennifer Bullano, director of communications for the Pittsburgh Penguins. "It was really incredible to celebrate with the guys and to have that experience".
She recalled a time when one of the players was traded to another team – a difficult scenario for Bullano because she had worked with the player for several years.
"One of the biggest challenges of this job is that we become part of the team; it’s our home away from home", she said.
Jason Seidling, Manager of Communications for the Penguins, had some advice to give students.
"I started young and early, and you never know what connections you will make," he said.
Seidling spoke adamantly about the importance of making connections and networking. He used a personal story that told of how he was able to use his connections to land his current job with the Penguins.
"That connection that I had made five years earlier came back and got me the job", he said.
Bullano also stressed how essential an individual’s network can be for someone looking for a first job.
"You need to promote yourself – volunteer and network. I know it’s hard sometimes, but you can’t get discouraged," she said.
Bullano also emphasized the importance of experience, and said academic performance isn’t the first or only thing employers look for.
"We look at internship applications and see GPA and almost laugh," she said. "We aren’t saying your classes aren’t important, but GPA is not everything – experience is."
The PR team for the Pittsburgh Penguins hires three interns every semester. Students must be juniors or seniors and have some type of relevant sports experience, such as communications, journalism or sports management.
In addition, Bullano said prospective interns should be able to explain why they want the internship.
"We don’t want to know that you want a career in sports, we want to know why you wan to work in sports and why it is the profession for you," she said.
Interns for the Penguins get to do a lot of hands-on work, Seidling said.
"We actually allow the interns to do a lot of the writing in the game – and this is something they can add to their portfolio and call their own," Seidling said.
"If you want to get in with communications and sports, writing is the way to do it."
Bullano said the acquisition of internships such as the one offered by the Penguins is an essential building block for one looking to build a career in sports communications.
"The internships you get in sports shape the career you will have."