Conference Preview: A Q & A With Hosts of Transition to the Real World

The PRSSA 2015 National Conference in Atlanta is now only two weeks away. After reviewing the program, one session every student should be looking forward to is one hosted by members of the PRSA New Professionals Section on Sunday Nov. 8. The following is a question and answer of this session with Brian Price (BP) of Edelman and moderator Jessica Noonan (JN) of Burson-Marsteller.

1.What “sneak peek” can you offer students about your session at National Conference and why should students attend this session?

Brian Price

Brian Price

BP: It’s going to be a lot of tangible, replicable advice from four professionals who were students not that long ago. Our goal is for students to walk away with a window into the world of entry-level public relations and how we found jobs we enjoy.

JN: Our panel is made up of former PRSSA National Committee members, so we were all in your place just a few years ago. We’re going to discuss how to start your career with key tips we’ve learned as new professionals.

2. What is one way you prepared for you own “transition into the real world?”

BP: Keeping up with my network. National Conference and Regional Conferences are great experiences, but if you don’t keep up with the people you have met, they don’t enter your network. Your network will be useful in landing a job but will also be useful to prepare for interviews and starting on the right foot.

JN: I took two weeks between school and work to get myself organized, things like cleaning up my inbox and moving in. It really helped set me up to focus on my work and new schedule.

3. What was your transition like after graduation?

Jessica Noonan

Jessica Noonan

BP: I was going through interviews for a of couple positions as school ended. Once I came to Chicago to work, it was a big transition to learn internal systems, team protocol and client background. I’m still learning and trying to be patient with myself while doing as much as I can to learn.

JN: At first it just felt like it did interning (I went back to work at Burson-Marsteller where I had interned), but with more responsibility and consistency. I had great mentors from my intern days who helped guide me and made the transition into working daily smoother. I picked up a number of best practices and tips from them to keep myself organized and get my career started on the right track.

4. How did PRSSA and PRSA help with your transition?

BP: PRSSA helped me land internships that prepared me for full-time work. Leadership positions in PRSSA gave me credibility with recruiters and PRSA is helping me navigate the start of my career and the unique challenges you don’t think of as a student.

JN: Following graduation, I immediately joined my local PRSA Chapter and the New Professionals Section. Both helped me connect with local PRSA members to build my local network. Coincidentally, I met both of my roommates through PRSSA National events.

5. What is one reason you would give students to encourage them to join PRSA right after graduation?

BP: If you’ve moved to a new city, PRSA is your chance to start building connections and acquiring resources in a new place. Don’t wait, because once you start taking advantage of its offerings, you’ll wish you had access sooner.

JN: Right when you start working is when you get to set your career to be the way you want. You’ll also, in most cases, have more time than you will in the future so it’s a good opportunity to start to establish a base network. It’s also great to get advice from PRSA members. In addition, PRSSA member can take advantage of the PRSA Associate Membership discounted rate.

6. What can students expect from this session?

BP: Expect the panelists to be honest. Expect us to answer a lot of questions from the audience. Overall we want to hit on methods we used to get jobs (and I want you to copy us), then leave plenty of time for question and answer.

JN: We’re looking to keep the session pretty open ended so come with questions about everything you want to know and we’ll answer them honestly.

7. What level of involvement do you have with PRSA and PRSSA?

BP: In PRSA I’m a member of the Board of Ethics and Professional Standards, the New Professionals Section executive committee, the Section Model Task Force, PRSA Chicago’s PRSSA liaison and a co-chair of Champions for PRSSA. In PRSSA I served as the 2013–2014 National President and on the National Committee the year prior, and was a member of the Northern Michigan University Chapter.

JN: Within PRSA I’m the chair-elect of the New Professionals Section. In PRSSA I served on the National Committee, National Conference Committee and was a member of the American University PRSSA Chapter.

What question do you plan to ask these new professionals?

This Q & A was compiled by Emma Finkbeiner, the PRSSA 2015–2016 publications editor in chief. She attends Northern Michigan University and was a former editor in chief of the student newspaper The North Wind. Connect with her on Twitter @efink101 or LinkedIn.

Brian Price is an assistant account executive at Edelman’s Chicago office. He served as the PRSSA 2013–2014 National President. He is active in PRSA, serving on several national boards and one board for his local Chapter. Follow him on Twitter @BrianDPrice.

Jessica Noonan is an associate in Burson-Marsteller’s corporate practice based in New York. She provides strategic communication and media relations support to numerous corporations in various industries. She is the 2015 chair-elect for the PRSA New Professionals Section. Follow her on Twitter @jess_noons.

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