Before you embark on your APR journey, you must be determined to succeed! It took me almost 10 years in the public relations world before I felt ready to pursue my APR. I know that may sound odd to people considering there is no set amount of years required to go for your APR, but in my tenth year as a public relations pro is when I finally felt ready to go for those coveted three letters.
After talking to my husband to ensure he supported what was sure to be many months of studying, I joined my local APR study courses. I immediately secured a book from Amazon and reviewed the syllabus for the course — marking all-important dates. Before I walked into the first study course, I brainstormed a timeline for myself. And like any good public relations person, I vowed to meet all of my personal APR deadlines.
First deadline — complete my Readiness Review document. Although this seemed daunting at first look, I really enjoyed walking through my experience, program and public relations knowledge base. I proudly and methodically completed all 18 pages of it.
Second deadline — prepare for the dreaded Readiness Review presentation. I practiced in front of seven of my co-workers (even my boss). Even with practice, I shed a few nervous tears before walking in and rocking my presentation with an almost perfect score!
Third deadline — study and sit for the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations. I studied for three weeks straight (on lunch breaks, nights and weekends), everything from recommended books to study session notes to the APR study guide.
I found the most value in the APR Study Guide, which provides exercises to test your skills. It also provides case studies and helps you to think like an APR. I also met with other people pursuing their APRs, and worked through exercises with both my study session teacher and boss (both are APR, CPRC).
My three biggest tips for pursuing your APR are to (1) be determined (2) set up a timeline for yourself, and (3) do as many case studies as possible. For me, case studies brought all of my experience and APR studies to fruition. Although the reading, studying and even stressing are all part of the process, these three things were most valuable to my APR success! Without determination, deadlines and case studies galore, I wouldn’t now be Laura Puerto, APR!
Laura Puerto, APR, has served as the public relations specialist at Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) for the past 10 years. Puerto earned her bachelor’s degree in communication from Florida Gulf Coast University. She’s volunteered her time for 10 years with the Southwest Florida Chapter of FPRA, including serving on the board of directors for ten consecutive years. Puerto was honored as the FPRA Rising Star in 2007, Chapter Member of the Year in 2009 and Unsung Hero in 2013.