The other night I found myself in a nontraditional lawn mowing situation. I have a riding lawn mower and my son, who is now six years old, has enjoyed mowing with me since he was three. However, this time was different because he mustered up the courage to ask me, “Why don’t you ever let me drive?” I knew the answer, but how does one tell an impressionable child that his way of doing something isn’t exactly the routine way of accomplishing a task?
APR: Accredited in Public Relations's archives
Since graduating college and entering the public relations industry in 2008, obtaining my APR had been a career objective. As I approached my fifth year post graduation, the decision to go for the APR made sense. I figured it would be a great way to fine tune my public relations skills and demonstrate that I had the necessary knowledge and competencies to handle any type of public relations challenge to my industry peers, as well as my current and future employers.
Since earning the APR designation, several of my colleagues have been inspired to start their own APR process. While some jump right in, others share very valid concerns that stop them — whether they don’t have enough time to study or they’ve started, but found the Readiness Review process overwhelming. At one time or another during my own study, I experienced these same obstacles, so I’ve crafted my top 10 tips (or bits of insight, rather) to provide clarification on the front end that can help candidates navigate the Accreditation journey.
Earning my APR has been a very important and rewarding professional achievement for me, and I really look forward to seeing others achieve this impressive credential. Let’s get started!
My journey to APR was a long process (at least in my mind) that was interrupted by my youngest child (what an awesome surprise) and that culminated in March 2013. While my path was different than most, although not unique, it consisted of a “self-study” plan.
My “self study” syllabus included:
- Chapter readings — “Effective Public Relations,” 10th edition.
- Using social media tools (blogging, tweeting, pin boards, etc.).
- An online study course (for group study).
- Audiobooks (of myself) reciting the APR Study Guide to listen to.
- Commissioning a graphic artist to create two “one-pager” infographics to help prepare (Readiness Review, CBE).
What to Expect at the Readiness Review
- Be comfortable, yet be powerful.
- Think 50 percent job interview, 50 percent big presentation.
- Just because APRs are leading it, they don’t know everything about public relations. You can teach them something new and/or give them a new strategy/tool/tactic to employ.
- Remember, you have a shared vocabulary (the KSAs), but we all bring something unique to the table.
What to Expect From the Computer-Based Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations
- Three hours and 45 minutes can seem like a long time and a short time (weird).
- Your mind will wander because you’ve been reading voluminous amounts of text.
- You may begin to wish the Examination was “over already” so you just get your score.
- You will begin to wonder, “Why didn’t I study that more?”
- After you submit your Examination, the screen will go blank; and those are the longest 30 seconds of your life. (I felt my heart beating in my chest waiting for the results.)
- Finally, if you’ve lived the APR Examination, you will pass. If you went at it half-heartedly or you aren’t humble, you will fail — it’s as simple as that.
When I saw that I’d passed, the first thing I did was send a tweet … seriously — then I called my husband. Crazy, I know. But I’d made this process so public that I felt that I should share my results publicly as soon as possible.
The webinar Accreditation Power Play: The How-To of Accreditation is now available on-demand. This public relations accreditation training sesssion is free to PRSA members.
Some people earn their APR to impress their boss — or the boss they want to have. I did it to impress my students — to encourage them to be the public relations professionals I want them to be.
I have taught public relations full time since 2007. An APR after my name, I believed, would allow me to speak more authoritatively to students about their need to keep exercising their minds long after they walk across the stage at graduation.
But first I had to go back to school myself.
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