4 Ways to Keep Growing Outside Your Job

By: Andrea Gils
Feb. 1, 2020
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A colleague in higher education recently shared with me that she feels stuck. She has gone above and beyond in her current role and taken advantage of all professional development opportunities within her organization, but she doesn’t feel challenged. She wants to do more. 

Many people can relate to this story, regardless of their level of experience. Without compromising the quality of work and commitment to your additional responsibilities, such as volunteering with local PRSA Chapters, there are a few things you can do to avoid the feeling of stagnation that can impact your levels of motivation for your work and your own career. Here are five ways to bring a fresh perspective to your current role and organization:

1. Get a new credential.

One way to set yourself apart and test your PR history and industry knowledge is by preparing for the APR credential. Becoming Accredited in Public Relations demonstrates your understanding of ethics and PR strategy, and it signifies a commitment to your continued development. It is recommended to have five years of experience, but you can start preparing for it early and find a mentor who can guide you through the process. 

If you don’t have the time to embark on the APR journey at the moment, then PRSA has many other opportunities you can take advantage of such as Certificate Programs in Content Marketing or Measurement and Analytics.

Also take a look at PRSA’s selection of on-demand online courses and webinars, many of which are free, as well as the in-person workshops, which count toward your APR maintenance credits.

Another option is continuing education. Many universities have short-term courses that are designed for working professionals who need to continue to grow, learn new things and brush up on their skill sets. 

2. Research award winners.

To stay relevant and be effective in our work, we have to do research and stay abreast of trends. You probably look at news and industry publications daily, if not hourly. However, when was the last time you looked at PRSA’s Silver Anvil case studies

These offer excellent ways to gain inspiration and understand what makes a campaign award-worthy. Give yourself time to think methodically and frame your campaign in a similar way to those winning entries you are reading about. It’s one of PRSA’s hidden gems — and the access to these is free!

3. Mentor someone.

Mentor your intern, a young professional in your organization or a PRSSA member who you don’t currently know — anyone committed to learning can benefit from learning about your expertise and diverse experiences.

PRSSA recently launched its first Diversity & Inclusion mentorship program and is looking for mentors of diverse backgrounds who can advise the upcoming PR generation. If you are interested in inspiring young professionals, then contact PRSA's vice president of Diversity & Inclusion at vpdiversity@prsa.org.

4. Serve on a national board or committee.

Sometimes our current role doesn’t encompass all the areas or causes we are passionate about. Many nonprofits have limited resources to get counsel or leadership advice. Approach the president or a current board member of an organization you are interested in, and offer your time to support its mission and people. 

You should explore leadership and service opportunities with PRSA’s Diversity & Inclusion National Committee or within PRSA’s Professional Interest Sections. If you want to support the Diversity & Inclusion National Committee, then reach out to me. The more minds we have working together toward the same purpose, the greater our influence can be not just within PRSA but in all of our respective organizations.

There are many other ways to partake in professional development — attend local networking events, conduct workshops or presentations at your local Chapter, or teach a communications class at a university. No matter what you choose to do, make sure that it keeps pushing you to learn and grow as a person and a PR professional. 

photo credit: shutterstock