Whether you aspire to a career in public relations or already work in the field, are you all that you can be? No one is, which is why continual learning and innovation are great. After all, stagnation does lead to change—the bad kind of change. To ensure you are on the top of your game, read the following four tips.
1. Find Educational Programs That Work for You
Before, you used to have to settle for educational programs; you would have to contort your schedule around them and try to force an unnatural fit. No more, as this GW Online article explains. Online learning programs abound; you can go for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in public relations or in related fields such as marketing, communications, political management, and tourism. You can get an actual degree or take a small grouping of courses. You can even do MOOC courses.
2. Ally Yourself with a Mentor
Even established professionals can benefit from a mentor, although if the term “mentor” makes you uncomfortable, you can certainly use another label such as “troubleshooting partner.” Mentors serve numerous benefits such as:
- Expanding your professional network
- Assessing your resume and cover letter
- Helping you break into PR or delve further into PR
- Cultivating ideas and strategies
- Analyzing your strengths and weaknesses
- Smoothing over career transitions
In fact, a mentor could be exactly what you need if you feel stuck in a rut. For example, suppose you want to get further education in a field related to PR but are not sure which to choose. Politics appeals to you, and so does tourism. You ally yourself with mentors in both fields. After spending a month with these people, you realize that politics is what you want, and go on to earn a degree from a school such as GW. (Learn more about their political management degree online.)
Now, suppose you had chosen another strategy such as relying solely on class availability to choose; a costly and time-consuming mistake could have had you spending as many as two years on a degree you end up not being passionate about.
3. Cultivate New Interests
Bringing outside interests to work is a proven method of helping PR professionals better understand consumers. If you have not sought out new interests in a while, now is the time. Think about areas such as volunteerism, sports, travel, cooking, art, and language. There’s bound to be something you want to do.
4. Become a Mentor
What’s interesting is that no matter the stage of your career, you can become a mentor. For example, if you are a newly minted college graduate, a middle schooler might find a lot of value in partnering up with you. If you are a seasoned professional, lending a helping hand to a new person at your company serves benefits such as making you feel good and updating you more on current technological trends. Your network of professional contacts also grows. Mentors benefit from these relationships almost as much as mentees, if not just as much.
Gaining an edge in PR requires that you pursue your educational goals strategically. You should also make efforts to always learn and develop as a person.