How the APR Helps You Get Where You Want to Go

April 2024
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Lawyers have the bar exam and doctors have a host of professional credentials they must fulfill to practice medicine. But, what about communications pros? How can we demonstrate our PR expertise to potential employers, especially for those of us who came into the profession from educational backgrounds other than communications?

For me, the APR made a huge difference. Earning Accreditation in Public Relations facilitated my transition into communications from an unrelated field, and later helped open the door to other previously out-of-reach opportunities, including teaching PR writing at the university level.

Demonstrating comms skills

I started my professional life as an airport planner. After about five years, I realized it was not the career for me. Following much self-reflection, I decided to move into PR/communications. 

Although I had gained solid professional communications experience in my airport planning roles, it was a challenge to demonstrate the full breadth of my comms expertise to employers on a résumé that had only planning-related job titles.

To make the switch to communications, I joined PRSA, where I heard about the APR. Through self-guided study and a drive to get it done, I earned the APR credential in six months.

Soon after achieving the APR, I landed my first communications-focused job, working as a PR account executive for a marketing agency, and becoming PR director for the firm within two years. The APR made the difference. 

On my résumé and in job interviews, I was able to demonstrate that I was more than an airport planner who also was a skilled writer and public speaker. I now could show that I knew how to prepare and implement a strategic communications plan and how to measure the results — all topics covered in the APR.

By sharpening my knowledge of communications theory and best practices, the APR also made it possible to achieve other dreams. When the opportunity arose to teach an upper-division undergraduate PR writing class at the University of Washington Tacoma, the APR credential helped me to become a part-time lecturer, with only a B.A. in an unrelated field (geography).

Setting myself apart 

The APR also helped me land my current position — leading internal and external communications for one of the busiest courts in Washington state. Based on information I had gathered in my first round of interviews, using my APR-sharpened skills I prepared a brief strategic communications plan for a major project the court was implementing.

During my second round of interviews, one of the questions that the court’s chief presiding judge asked was: “What would be your three-month plan of things to accomplish?” 

Being able to respond by showing her a tangible communications plan that was specific to her court’s needs is what I believe set me apart from other candidates and landed me a job that I am still loving five years later. 

Learn More

April is Accreditation Month at PRSA. It’s a time to learn about how becoming Accredited in Public Relations can help advance your career. Look for posts on the PRsay blog and each month in The Pinnacle, PRSA’s monthly newsletter offering insights on Accreditation. Learn more about earning your APR by visiting

Return to Current Issue Professional Growth | April 2024
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