Being a student and having to choose a career path or internship can be a very daunting task. Fortunately, communication majors had the chance to hear from Kean alumni currently immersed in the world of public relations (PR). Representatives from Coyne PR came to share their experience and expertise to students on Tuesday, Nov. 19.
Coyne PR is known to be one of the top 10 independent PR firms in the country. Additionally, they were titled the 2019 North American Creative Agency of the Year. The agency is headquartered in Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ with an additional office location in New York City on Broadway. Three representatives from this company came to speak on a panel for the annual School of Communications, Media and Journalism (CMJ) Fall PR Symposium, which took place in the North Avenue Academic Building (NAAB), Room 507.
The first representative from Coyne PR was Stacey Cooney who is a senior account executive. She graduated from Kean in 2015 and has worked at Coyne PR for about four years. Cooney explained that she works with consumer health and beauty brands.
Jaclyn LaSpata, a senior social media manager for Coyne PR also represented her five years working with the company in the healthcare realm. She explained how she works on social media strategy and influencer relations.
Account Coordinator Tori Brown was also present to give her input on working for Coyne PR. She had unique point of view as she has just recently been hired in July 2019 after graduating from Kean.
After an introduction and peek into what the company does, the three participated in a question and answer forum with the audience. This was led by Professor Jeremiah Sullivan, who is also the faculty adviser for the Kean chapter of the Public Relations Students Society of America (PRSSA), director of the undergraduate public relations option and internship coordinator. During their undergraduate years at Kean, Cooney and LaSpata were influential in creating the Kean PRSSA chapter.
Students eagerly raised their hands as they wanted to know all about internships and entry level jobs, competition and the PR industry as a whole.
Students were very curious on how to prepare for interviews, whether it be for an interview or entry level position. The guests said that it is vital to know about the company that one is interning for, as well as tailor one's resume to PR, whether that be through experience or classes that one took.
LaSpata said, "Sell yourself, but also sell your passion for PR and the company."
Other advice that was given to students was to never have downtime when at work, even if it means volunteering to do a task that no one else wants to take on. This will show one's hard work and dedication to their team or supervisors.
The panel was also asked about making mistakes on the job, since they are bound to happen one way or another. The panel responded that the most important tip is to not make excuses. Instead, ask how one can fix it and what can be done better next time to avoid the same situation. Also, it was noted that one should be accountable for their actions.
Cooney said that when she started at Coyne her supervisor told her, "You can never bring a problem to the table without a potential solution, so even if you know your solution isn’t going to work,if you made a mistake, try and think of a way to fix it first before you go to your team."
Overall, Cooney, LaSpata and Brown gave good insight into how to apply oneself in the PR field, as well as their own experience in it. Students went away with a greater knowledge and understanding of the world of PR.