“Why did you decide to pursue Accreditation?” That was the question that surprised me the most in my Readiness Review interview. This was not a question I expected. It was not listed in the APR Study Guide as one to prepare for, and it had nothing to do with the public relations plan I had just presented. But it is a most relevant question to consider in seeking an APR.
I have been thinking about that question ever since.
After years of contemplating seeking my APR, I had only recently decided to make the commitment to myself, my career and my profession. Why?
I sought to codify the experiences I had accumulated over the past 20 years. I wanted to demonstrate to myself that I had achieved a level of competency in my profession. While often fluid, sometimes chaotic and rarely the same from one day to the next, our public relations profession has a generally structured process, criteria and standards, and a recognized set of knowledge, skills and abilities.
To use an analogy from the homebuilding world, I was looking back on a solid foundation of public relations positions and experiences. For me, the APR was an opportunity to build on that foundation, to frame the future of my career in the profession.
Now that I have my APR, I still don’t know exactly how the rest of my career will come together, or what the house will look like when and if it is ever completed. But, with my APR, I know I have the tools I need to frame the rest of my career. And if I don’t have all the tools at my ready disposal, I know what they are and where I can get them when I need them.
Mark LaVigne, APR, is the deputy director of the New York State Association of Counties. He has held a range of positions over the past 20 years including newspaper reporter, congressional aid, campaign manager and communication director. He is Accredited in Public Relations (APR) and holds a master’s degree in communication from the University at Albany, a State University of New York.
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