One woman’s spiel on the public relations profession

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As I considered writing a blog about PR, I hesitated. What would I write about? What would be my “personal brand”? Crisis communications, media relations, executive visibility, social media, writing, public speaking, managing people/projects/sanity….

Would I have to write something every day? Who would be my competition? Not surprisingly, it’s seems to be mostly men blogging about PR when it’s mostly women in the work force.

If I could convince colleagues and clients to blog, why am I sitting on the sidelines?

For the near term, I expect to be writing about public relations from the vantage point of preparing for the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) examination. However, first, I thought it best to start with a little bit of research. I discovered that the debate about the value of APR continues unabated. RepManBlog.com calls APR “worthless” (July 24). PRSay.prsa.org responded a few days later defending the need for a formal credentialing process and continuing education.

I must admit that my opinions about APR are mixed. First, aren’t institutions accredited and individuals certified? But CPR after your name would be confusing. Will an APR designation make me more competitive in the job market? Help me earn more money? Based on anecdotal feedback from colleagues with an APR and a review of job announcements, APR is not required. For the one job announcement I did find listing “APR preferred,” the hiring manager, as you would suspect, was Accredited in Public Relations.

So why study for my APR? I’m an award-winning practitioner. And I really didn’t want to spend $100 on a textbook that will collect dust in a few months.

I find myself with the desire to reflect on the PR profession and the knowledge and skills needed to excel in a Web 2.0 world. Reviewing communications theory and planning models might be useful. Memorizing the PRSA Code of Ethics, studying relevant case law and applying the code to hypothetical scenarios might influence my future decision making.

I know an APR won’t get me my next job. I’ll have to rely on my KSAs (Knowledge/Skills/Abilities), tenacity and charm. Yet, an APR may be helpful in demonstrating my commitment to the profession and help set me apart from the competition. It’s a personal choice – not unlike a master’s degree. But I already have one of those.


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