A colleague asked me the other day if I earned my APR to be more competitive in the market or for personal achievement. I decided to pursue my APR for a variety of reasons, primarily because I remain active in PRSA and believe strongly in continuing education.
Aside from the updated knowledge gained from preparing for the Readiness Review and computer-based Examination, the most rewarding part of the process was building new friendships with my study group — some of whom I had served with on the PRSA National Capital Chapter board. We met almost weekly last fall reviewing the study guide exercises and speaking with other APRs.
Sharing best practices and working through case studies was an excellent opportunity to take a fresh look at PR. Revisiting communications theories that I had not thought about since graduate school was intellectually enriching and provided a new frame of reference for current PR problems. While only two of the five us have taken both the oral and written Examinations (both earning our APR), we continue to provide support to one another for the APR process and workplace challenges.
Regarding the computer-based Examination, I was surprised at how many of the hypothetical scenarios resembled situations I had experienced on the job. My challenge was to answer the question based on the theories and principles of the APR, not what actually transpired.
I wish I could say that the APR translated into a higher salary, a new job or a differentiator in selling consulting services. In the three months since I’ve added APR to my e-mail signature and business cards, not one non-PRSA person has commented on the accomplishment.
However, I am exceedingly “pleased and proud” to tout my APR credentials. It’s an accomplishment I’ve had on my goal list for some time and it’s resulted in new perspectives and colleagues.
After completing the process, I wrote a blog post with tips for studying for the APR.
Tracy Schario Johnson, APR, is chair of the PRSA Mid-Atlantic District and principal of Schario Johnson Communications, a strategic communications consultancy specializing in sustainability, social media and issues management. Connect with Tracy on LinkedIn and Twitter @tasj.