In Silicon Valley, we love our acronyms. As for abbreviations that come after a last name, not so much. It doesn’t take an advanced degree to drive innovation, launch a startup, or have a successful career in PR. So why, after nearly 40 years practicing PR, am I going for my Accreditation in Public Relations (APR)?

I wasn’t sure it would help me do a better job running c3PR, the boutique PR and marketing agency I founded in 1982. And I didn’t have anything to prove to my peers – you elected me president of the Silicon Valley Chapter, so you must have confidence in my professionalism.

After listening to PRSA’s free webinar How the APR Can Boost Your Career,here are ten reasons that resonated with me:

  • Become a better leader
  • Keep pace with PR developments
  • Think about strategies differently
  • Be able to better deliver on proven methodologies
  • Strengthen areas in which I don’t practice
  • Hold myself to a higher professional standard
  • Earn a distinguishing mark that garners respect
  • Learn more about myself by going through the process
  • Refresh my knowledge of the history of the profession
  • Use APR as a conversation starter with prospective client

A lot of why I’m going for my APR comes down to personal pride. While the certification isn’t particularly important in Silicon Valley, if you’ve attended a PRSA International Conference, you know about “red ribbon envy.” So I signed up.

The first session challenged many of my preconceived ideas about the value of an APR. It also gave me more insight into the considerable time and effort required. We started with five candidates. By the second session, we were down to three very dedicated professionals. Last week we were on a roll, engaging in lively discussions about our KSAs (knowledge, skills and abilities).

If you decide to earn your APR, you’ll have plenty of online resources. There are monthly posts on PRSA’s blog ComPRehension from fellow members about the process and the benefits. PRSA’s online APR study groups are starting up all the time.

You’ll also have support from your PRSA Silicon Valley Chapter and North Pacific District, financial and otherwise. In future blogs I’ll describe in detail what it’s like to prepare for and go through the APR Readiness Review. After I take the computer-based APR exam, I’ll share my results with you, even if I have to take it multiple times.

By the end of my journey, you’ll have a better idea about whether or not if you want to pursue your APR. Perhaps like me, you’ll finally have an answer to the nagging question, “If not now, when?”

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