In times like these, professionals need to stand apart from their peers more than ever, so there is no time like now to earn your APR.
The APR designation did not just confirm what I already knew; I learned a great deal throughout the process. It strengthened my proficiency in a number of topics and allowed me to demonstrate the strategic perspective, skills and abilities necessary to practice public relations.
I wanted to earn my APR for personal and professional development, but also to help advance my career and show dedication to the profession. However, I found it also provided great networking! I built relationships with others going through the process as well as with my local APR chair, study session hosts and Readiness Review panelists. These new contacts learned about my experience and credentials, and it set me apart as someone who takes action and gets results.
The APR Study Guide was invaluable, and to supplement my studying, I chose two books from the recommended list. For me, it was imperative to develop a strategic study plan with specific deadlines to reach each milestone in the process. This included working on the questionnaire, completing my portfolio, working on the Readiness Review and studying for the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations. I carved out time on my calendar to focus on a new topic or project each week as part of an aggressive schedule to complete the process in four months. This allowed me to make the best use of my time and be extremely focused to ensure I was successful and could move on to other goals and projects.
The APR process was very time intensive and a lot of work, but it was worth it. I learned a lot, built great relationships, strengthened my credentials and felt a huge sense of accomplishment once it was completed. If you do not have your APR yet, what are you waiting for?
By Dawn McKenzie, APR, assistant regional communications manager, General Motors Corp. Dawn has eight years’ experience in the profession, earned her APR designation in 2008 and is on the board of directors for PRSA’s Los Angeles Chapter and Western District.