Charlotte Donn, Associate Vice President, Marketing and Communications for YMCA of Greater Miami
Here’s what Charlotte has to say about the process. She offers some practical advise for professionals who are interested in obtaining their APR:
How important for you was it to obtain your APR?
It was important to me personally so I could prove to myself that I actually do know something about Public Relations. I am not university trained, and joined PRSA 8 years ago on the advice of my CEO when I admitted I didn’t know anything about PR. He suggested PRSA as a way to learn. Between PRSA, working in PR for the Y, and working together with some great PR firms, I final felt I had the experience necessary to sit for the exam.
What was the experience like?
I waited a long time to consider it. As I am a “client” I didn’t think APR was intended for me. It seemed it was for people in PR firms. So I went to the orientation and asked, and was assured that it was appropriate for me as well. Sandra Fine, APR was there, and offered to help anyone who needed it. I did reach out to her on several occasions through the process, from the Readiness Review and Panel Presentation, to how much to worry about the book study. I also posted a couple questions to the PRSA’s national web site and accreditation groups. I did not do the online study course, instead using the free resources, 2 books on the list I purchased used on Amazon.com, and one book from the library. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, just be resourceful. From start to finish, I took about 6 months. I took the week off from work before the exam to do intense study after several months of reading and note taking. I finished the exam with plenty of time, and they give you initial results as soon as you complete it. The whole process was reassuring, and I learned a lot about the planning for and scope of public relations.
Any tips and recommendation for anyone interested in pursuing their APR?
Take it seriously, and take your time. Don’t count on the books for the digital / technology parts of the exam. Books are very outdated on this subject. Use the Readiness Review as your learning process for the bulk of the exam. If you nail that, you are half way home. In a professional world where jobs are still being lost, take every opportunity for an edge on your competition. APR is one was to put yourself ahead of the rest.
Original Post found on PRSA Miami Chapter Blog