Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
August 30, 2010

My No-Excuses Year for APR

For too many years I watched from the sidelines as my peers went through the APR process. I, too, wanted to attain this career goal, but it never seemed like the right time. You name it, I had a roadblock for it.

Take the peer study sessions that my local Chapter, PRSA Orlando, holds for APR candidates. The sessions were held on the same evenings my husband taught night classes. The extra dollars in babysitting expenses held me back.

The Readiness Review would also be a tough one. I wasn’t sure the Readiness Review panel would believe that my portfolio, containing a career’s worth of my best work, was stolen from my car by a petty thief. (Note to others — do not ever leave your portfolio in your automobile.)

What about the computer-based Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations preparation?  The last standardized test I took was in college at the University of Texas back in 1993. I was a little rusty in the testing department.

My biggest roadblock was the one familiar to all moms and dads in the working world. I would need free time to read, study and prepare for the APR process. Since becoming a mother, the phrase free time left my vocabulary. If I managed to squeeze in one free hour to myself in a day, I certainly did not want to spend it reading about public relations theory.

I eventually tired of the voices in my head, so when my spouse’s night classes ended, I decided that 2010 was going to be my no-excuses year for APR. If I reached a roadblock, I resolved to pummel through it headfirst with fists flying. I was pleasantly surprised that most — if not all — of the roadblocks had been only in my head.

I learned that the Readiness Review portfolio should not encapsulate a candidate’s entire career, but rather one or two public relations plans that best demonstrate knowledge of the KSAs (knowledge, skills and abilities) covered in course materials. I could handle that. My long-lost portfolio was probably outdated, anyway.

I learned that the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) has a 20 question practice exam online which mimics the types of questions to expect on the computer-based Examination. Coupled with a very thorough online APR study guide and copious flash cards from note taking, I was back in study mode. It was helpful to take the online practice exam both before I began my studies and when I thought I was ready for the Examination, to gauge improvement.

Finally, I re-discovered free time. I found a way to carve out one hour a day to read the suggested textbooks and apply models of communications and public relations theory to current events. Big thanks, BP and Tiger Woods! Sure, my children watched a little more television than I would usually allow. I’m not sure it’s okay for a two-year-old to quote entire scenes of “The Clone Wars,” but his older siblings and I had great discussions about mommy’s profession and the importance of lifelong learning.

It’s not too late to make 2010 your no-excuses APR year.

Lorie Parker Matejowsky, APR, communication manager, Hunton Brady Architects, P.A., is a PRSA Orlando member. Connect with Lorie on LinkedIn and on Twitter @LoriePM.

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