I set out to achieve my Accreditation in Public Relations with a goal of learning public relations best practices and what it would take for me to be the best practitioner I could be. Most importantly, so I thought, I wanted to prove to myself that I could accomplish an aggressive personal goal.
As I glance at my APR certificate on the bookshelf in my office, I realize the process helped me learn a little more about myself than I initially bargained for:
- Meeting a personal goal within my allotted time frame. Check.
- Studying best practices and gaining knowledge and skills to become a better practitioner. Check.
- Feeling more confident in what I’ve already accomplished in my career and a sense of pride in what I’m capable of accomplishing in this wonderful field. Double check!
From the start, when I filled out my application form, this process helped me put the pieces of my personal public relations puzzle together — something that I probably wouldn’t have done on my own. Taking the preparatory courses, I learned what others had done in their careers and shared my experiences with them proudly. When the time came for me to complete the Readiness Review questionnaire and present to the Readiness Review panel, I had a solid understanding of the four-step process of public relations and how I’d accomplished each in the case study I presented. I was confident when I sat for the computer-based Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations that my experience and studies would serve me well.
When I received the letter earlier this year stating that I’d passed, I was elated and proud. It was a culmination of a lot of achievements — both old and new. The congratulations I’ve received from family, friends, bosses, co-workers, clients, PRSA members and others has been great. But most importantly, I’ve been able to better serve my company, my clients and my students. I’ve already been able to proudly use the APR credential for the betterment of the profession.
I strongly encourage other practitioners who want to challenge themselves to be the best they can be to look into Accreditation. Is it a lot of work? Yes. Is it worth it professionally? Absolutely.
And who knows, you just might learn a few important things about yourself in the process.
Jim Cyphert, APR, is a senior account supervisor at Innis Maggiore in Canton, Ohio.