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.
From the beginning, the process is a rigorous one that requires a lot of your time — and even more brainpower. Having just gone through it, I thought I’d provide one tip for each stage of the Accreditation process:
Readiness Review questionnaire — Take yourself out of the situation and start thinking at the 30,000-foot level. You need to see the big picture, and then the pieces will start to fit together.
The Readiness Review panel — This can be an intimidating experience, but as Karen Mess Frashier, APR, told me, they are there to make sure you’re ready for the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations, not to prove you aren’t.
Review Sessions for the Examination — The good news here is that PRSA provides guidance and resources, so take advantage of both. Here’s an added piece of advice — don’t just review the case studies, immerse yourself in them and figure out the “why” of the situation, not just the “what”.
The Examination — If you’re like me, you hate tests. But once you realize that you’ve reviewed all you can review, and you’re as ready as you can be, take a deep breath and go in guns-a-blazin!
When you have finally earned those three letters that you’ve been staring at for weeks or even months, there’s a sense of pride that is simply indescribable.
What the Accreditation process, and ultimately earning my APR, has done for me is provide a stronger foundation from which to work to effectively approach the ever-changing landscape of public relations.
The process gives you the tools to be a better public relations professional and help advance the industry, ultimately making you, and what public relations professionals stand for, more valuable.
Travis Claytor, APR, is the communications manager at Tampa Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau