You’ve likely heard the clever catchphrase, “What Would Jesus Do?,” also known as WWJD, and found on beaded necklaces, charms, etc. Well, for the APR certification process, I coined my own extremely helpful version of that phrase: “What Would APR Do?,” or WWAD.
First, a little bit of background. I spent the majority of my professional life working as a radio and television news reporter. When I left the news business in 2002, I took on several governmental/political roles with some public relations functions. Now, working in my own business for nearly six years, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to practice nearly every type of public relations discipline — from outreach to crisis communications. When I decided to pursue the challenge of obtaining my APR, I felt ready.
However, I quickly realized there was so much more to learn …
The computer-based Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations was the biggest challenge for me, and this is where WWAD came in handy. I did earn my master’s degree later in life, but still was extremely out of practice when it came to multiple-choice test taking. Also, although I have years of practical public relations experience, the theoretical aspect of public relations was new to me.
During preparation and the computer-based Examination itself, I would run into an unfamiliar situation or one that I felt I may have handled a bit differently due to limited budget or resources. This is when I asked myself, “What Would APR Do?”
Of course, in order to know WWAD, you must commit to many hours of preparation. I started by signing up for our local study course conducted by our Accreditation chair. The materials and guidance from the course, along with the official APR Study Guide, were invaluable during my preparation for both the Readiness Review and the computer-based Examination. I also read several of the suggested textbooks listed on prsa.org, including Cutlip and Center’s “Effective Public Relations,” which I believe is a must-read for anyone planning to go through this process.
No matter what your study methods are — WWAD or not — I would take advantage of one of the many resources available for those who wish to pursue Accreditation, whether it’s an online or on-location study course, or the APR Boot Camp, which has become very popular where I live in Houston.
I highly recommend the APR process to all public relations practitioners. The process really puts everything into perspective and adds to the great pride I have in my profession.
Lisa Dimond Vasquez, APR, president-elect of the board of directors for the Houston Chapter of PRSA, is co-founder and principal at DoubleDimond Public Relations, LLC. You can find her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.