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.
APR: Accredited in Public Relations's tag archives
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 …
I remember what crossed my mind the first time I heard about the APR process and I shook my head thinking, “Who has that kind of time?” I was about to embark on a massive public relations campaign at work and my experience from past projects told me I’d barely have time to do much else.
Although I knew the benefits were obvious: An accredited public relations professional holds significantly higher weight in a world full of self-proclaimed public relations people. Fundamentally, the certification represents separating the best from the rest. All companies only want to hire and retain the best, and so it was an easy sell to the C-suite.
However, even after I achieved approval to proceed, I hesitated. In many cases, journalists, colleagues and the C-suite do not understand our world at all. I never had formal public relations training, so naturally I had self-doubt. What if I really don’t know what I’m doing? What if I don’t pass the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations? We can’t always produce neat and tidy Excel spreadsheets in communications. Some people think I post everything I eat on Twitter or that I get to go do all the “fun” stuff because they only see the end result of strategic effort or a tactic in the vast arsenal of public relations tools.
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?
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