The holidays are over, the new year has begun, and you’re still on track with your new year’s resolutions, right? No? Already fell off the wagon? Well, I’m not a big fan of setting new year’s resolutions. I’ve tried it and have learned I am more successful meeting my personal and professional goals when I adjust them throughout the year. That is the art and science of being successful in PR — is it not? Surveying our environment, recognizing issues and opportunities, creating goals and objectives, evaluating and adjusting, if needed. As I reflect on professional opportunities and challenges ahead of me in this new year, I am feeling optimistic and hopeful. I haven’t always felt this way, however.
My journey to become Accredited in Public Relations began with a feeling almost two years ago — nonchalant. I was in a phase of my career, after working for the same employer for more than a decade, where I needed to push to the next level, but I wasn’t sure how to do it. My inner being craved something more. One day I read about the APR in an email from my local PRSA Chapter. That was it! Why didn’t I think about it sooner?
As I began that journey, my unfamiliarity with many aspects of public relations became clear. I had mostly been a tactician and realized there was more to practicing PR than news releases and events. I met several credential-minded colleagues at a PR Boot Camp sponsored by my local PRSA Chapter. We had all recently been approved to sit for the computer-based Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations, so we created a study cohort. During study sessions (and over email), I forged friendships, was challenged by my peers and came to deeply respect each of them as people and professionals.
I passed the Examination in December 2015, well within my two-year goal, and I’ve found that receiving my APR sparked within me a new passion. I am noticing that I am more confident in my career. No longer nonchalant, I am noticing opportunities to improve existing practices, set strategic goals and measurable objectives, and include evaluation feedback into my day-to-day work. Working toward receiving my APR has been one of the most challenging and rewarding goals I’ve ever set in my career. Don’t delay; take that first step toward becoming Accredited today!