In the recent PRSA Tactics article, Career Development for ‘Accomplished New Professionals,’ Hanna Porterfield shares insightful options for new public relations pros to help build their careers.

Here’s a summary of Porterfield’s strategic tips:

  • Do pro bono work.” If you are interested in exploring a sector of public relations other than the one you work for, then consider doing pro bono work for a deserving organization. While you’ll learn new skills that perhaps you might not be utilizing in your current job, and adding such experience to your resume, you’ll also be helping an organization in need. Porterfield also suggests taking on a communications chair position on a nonprofit board.
  • Apply for professional awards.” There are many organizations that honor the hard work of young professionals. Aside from PRSA campaign awards, you can look into competitions related to the professional boards you’re involved with, awards recognizing a specific area in communications you have experience in and recognition from your alma matter.
  • Pass along your knowledge as a mentor.” If you have international experience, gained unique skills at job interviews or negotiated a compensation package at your first job, then you should consider mentoring a college student. Porterfield also suggests considering “reverse mentorship,” a concept that entails pairing older workers with younger ones to teach experienced professionals how to use new tools, usually technology-related.
  • Further your education.” The PR profession is ever-evolving, so it’s crucial to be on top of new developments. Consider looking into online learning by taking free or low-cost classes on websites like Coursera and Lynda.com, as well as professional certificate programs from a university of your choice. If your aspirations include specializing in a specific sector or teaching classes one day, then you should also consider graduate school.
  • Start to earn your letters.” If you want to show other professionals you speak the language of the PR practice, and are committed to your field, consider earning an APR certification. You can apply for the certification after reaching the five-year career mark. After earning your APR, you’ll find more opportunities for continued learning and participation at industry events.

Stay tuned…

Hanna Porterfield is chair-elect of PRSA’s New Pros Section and a senior account executive at Development Counsellors International in New York.

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