As the public relations and marketing manager of PKE Marketing & PR Solutions, I recently achieved my Accreditation in public relations, and since then many of my peers have been asking for advice about the APR process. I’ve been asked whether I think getting Accredited would benefit their careers, what my study methods were and tips I have for passing. I thought this blog would be the perfect place to share what worked for me.
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I have been involved in PRSA since the student Society at San Diego State University — longer ago than I care to mention. I began volunteering for the San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter in some capacity the summer after I graduated, and have been on the board of the Chapter since 2008.
For years, APRs on our board would rant and rave about the Accreditation process. I never thought it pertained to me, and did not think it would be useful. I knew what I was doing! I knew public relations! I did not need a lapel pin and some initials after my name to prove I knew my stuff! I was far too busy trying to establish my professional reputation to have time for some certification process! For years, I balked at the program and my colleagues’ insistence on Accreditation.
However, as I advanced in my career I began realizing perhaps there was, in fact, more I could learn to take my career to the next level. I was in an organization with limited advancement opportunities, but I was hungry for more. I became dissatisfied professionally as I tried to figure out what my next steps would be. Then one day, one of my colleagues talked about the APR, and something in me clicked. Years of colleagues’ passionately advocating for the APR finally made sense, and I knew this was just what I needed to do.
I completed the application, the Readiness Review Questionnaire, put together my portfolio and prepared for the Readiness Review. Immediately after I was Advanced through the Readiness Review, I began studying for the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations. I was fortunate enough to have attended San Diego State University, and studied with one of the authors of “Effective Public Relations,” Dr. Glen Broom. I was going to nail this thing!
As soon as I started making plans, life happened.
Last July, I received my APR pin from the PRSA National Capital Chapter. When fellow PRSAers ask how the Accreditation process went for me, I wish I could answer with a brief recap of how everything fell into place, just as I had envisioned. That was certainly not the case. In the end, however, I can say that the process was worthwhile and rewarding. Perhaps my story can be encouraging for those whose Accreditation doesn’t quite go as planned …
For all of the young public relations professionals out there who were just like me and looking for something to propel you into the next stage of your career, the Accreditation process may be just what you’re looking for … maybe.
Now that I’ve sufficiently got your attention, let me say that I recommend anyone and everyone who is thinking about earning their Accreditation to start the process immediately and DO IT!
The Accreditation process will give you a new appreciation and understanding of the practice of public relations, in addition to the confidence to go out into the industry and scream from the rooftops that you’re a professional and you know what you’re talking about.
It appears I am a “lifer” in the agency world, having passed my fifteenth year in the profession and beginning my fifth agency job. My latest position is not just any public relations post, however, as I’m now newly in charge of the Atlanta office of Cohn & Wolfe. As Spider-Man’s uncle would say, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
There are several reasons why I am an exceedingly happy agency guy. For one, I love collaborating with smart, talented people. I also enjoy variety and frequently change gears from big-picture planning, to tinkering with details. Overall, I like to stretch both my business and creative mind, and my agency’s cultural mantra to “Dig Deeper, Imagine More” is spot-on.
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