Five Ways To Make a Gutsy Transition From Student To Professional

Comfort Zone

This post is part of a series of “Lives of New Professionals” guest posts for Progressions.

New to the working world or preparing to make the leap from public relations student to professional? Besides joining PRSA’s New Professionals Section, there are several ways to make the transition seamless, exciting…and even gutsy.

To get gutsy, you need to step outside your comfort zone to reach your goals. As a new professional, you’ll likely find yourself outside your comfort zone more than you’re inside it, but don’t worry! Outside your comfort zone is where big things happen to help you grow and find your place in your new career.

Here are five ways to make a gutsy transition from student to professional.

1. Create a support group. Being a new professional can be challenging and you won’t want to navigate the murky waters alone. Find a core group of trusted friends who you can use as a sounding board for common questions or concerns about everything from lesser-talked about topics like salary, dealing with bad bosses and tricky colleague situations.

2. Plan “informational interviews” within your company. Continue learning about public relations and how other areas of communication like marketing, advertising and social media play a role in impacting a company’s bottom line by setting up meetings with other members of your organization. Create a goal to schedule one meeting per month to grow your network and learn more about the field. This will help you get familiar with how your organization works and develop relationships with senior leaders who may be able to mentor and guide you throughout your career.

3. Don’t be afraid to disconnect. As a new professional, there’s a lot of pressure to prove yourself. Many young professionals think that means being constantly “on” and connected to work. When I asked my first boss about adding my work email to my smartphone, she advised against it. I quickly learned that she respected me the most when I kept my work confined to the hours of 8-5 p.m. Of course, there will always be exceptions, but for the most part, get the work done and disconnect. I promise, you will avoid burnout and excel more at your job when you embrace your personal time.

4. Find a passion. After four years of interning, classes, constant meetings and more, when I graduated, I was shocked by the amount of free time that stretched ahead of me after my 8-5 job. For a while, I struggled to find something meaningful to fill that gap, but eventually discovered running. And then blogging. And then yoga. These passions all shape who I am, contribute to my personal brand and help me maintain that elusive work/life balance.

5. Strike a balance between confidence and cocky. Confidence is key; you earned your position and you certainly have much to offer the company you work for. Congratulations! Don’t be afraid to share your ideas and opinions. But remember to stay humble. Always remember that you still have a lot to learn from others and striking a balance between confidence and cockiness will truly elevate your reputation as a young professional.

Do you have other tips on transitioning from student to professional? Share below in the comments below.

Jessica Lawlor is the marketing and communications coordinator for Visit Bucks County, the official tourism promotion agency for Bucks County, PA. She serves on the PRSA New Pros executive committee as a PRSSA liaison. In her free time, Jessica is a freelance writer and blogs at about getting gutsy-stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals. You can connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.


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