I recently had the pleasure of speaking to members of the Raleigh Public Relations Society about ways to advance in a public relations career. I shared a few nuggets of wisdom that have served me well over the years, but primarily I was there to talk about how working toward your Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) can be great for professional development. One topic we discussed that I want to share is something I wished I had done many years ago – bookmarking those projects you know are something special along the way.
Since the group was primarily comprised young people in their twenties just starting out in their careers, I made the point that while the APR can be an important achievement, you really need a few years of experience on the job before beginning the process. The most important thing to understand is what the APR process entails, so you can set aside components, plans, supporting materials, etc. for those projects throughout your career that really stand out as top notch. You can simply create a separate folder so the materials are easy to access and all in one place. Then, if and when you decide to pursue your APR, you are one step ahead when it comes to preparing your portfolio and readiness review materials.
I really wish I had done this. And I can’t tell you how many candidates over the years have told me they worked on a really great campaign but can’t remember all the details, or where to find the plan. When it came time to prepare for my readiness review, I spent weeks trying to remember all the projects I had worked on over the years and then finding the supporting materials for the one I chose. Even if you never go the APR route, no doubt something will come up down the road where this would come in handy.
So next time something in your gut tells you this project/campaign/event is worth setting aside – do it!! You will be so glad you did.