Guy Behind the Guy: Breaking In

Tuesday, 08.13.2013 / 10:30 AM
Mike Sundheim

On July 18, we posted a job opening in the Carolina Hurricanes Media Relations department. This is the third season we’ve had our Media Relations Coordinator position, a part-time, graduate-assistant-type gig in which the primary responsibilities include game notes and assisting with the @Canes_Gameday Twitter account.

Despite the fact that the job has irregular hours and a salary that requires an additional form of income, we received nearly 300 resumes in just a few days.

It’s a stepping stone job – more involved than an internship, but not a full-time, salaried position. Last year, after a year as an intern with the Hurricanes, Pace Sagester served in the role. This summer, Pace joined the Washington Capitals in a full-time role as Media Relations Manager. That’s pretty much the playbook for how we want the job to work – a launching pad to full-time sports PR employment.

Ultimately, we narrowed the candidates to five and then hired Brian Verdi for the job. Brian had all the qualities we were looking for: an extensive writing background that included a degree in journalism, experience writing game notes for multiple sports franchises and a strong knowledge of hockey. He spent this summer interning for the New York Yankees, after previously completing internships for the St. Louis Rams and Charlotte Bobcats and holding a full-time job with the Sporting News.

I am asked fairly often about careers in sports, and how students can best prepare to work in the field. After completing this hiring process, I wanted to share some general thoughts for those of you who are in high school or college and want to break into the industry:

This post is not meant to discourage anyone who wants to sit in my office someday. I love what I do, and if you are dedicated to being a part of this field, you can as well. That being said, in choosing Brian to fill our open position, we honestly did not care what his GPA was or even where he went to college. (It was SUNY Cortland, and I had to glance at his resume just now to remember.) Brian got the job because he has shown complete devotion to being a part of this field – holding internships in three different states and volunteering for events in several more – and his references from those positions unanimously agreed about his professionalism, character, ability and work ethic. That’s how you break in.

And if you’re a junior or senior at N.C. State, UNC, Duke, Shaw, Elon, Campbell, NCCU or anywhere else within driving distance of PNC Arena, we’re looking for interns right now.

Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeSundheim, and feel free to tweet at him for information about internships in the Hurricanes media relations department.

Email Back to top ↑