Let’s talk PR professional development.
You’ve dreamed of getting that job in PR for months, maybe years.
You did all the right things: Networking, writing, reading, learning, etc.
And now, you have it.
You landed your dream job in PR.
After the excitement of getting something you’ve wanted for so long has died down, you may find yourself in a “what now?” state.
Of course you are excited to start your new job in PR, to learn everything there is to know about it, to meet and connect with your colleagues, boss, and clients.
However, if you’re not careful you’ll soon be sucked into the daily routine.
I am not saying you shouldn’t be excited about the job you’ve worked so hard on getting.
What I am saying is you need to have a plan, a “next” goal.
Now that you have your dream job in PR, what’s next for you?
This leads me to today’s topic: PR professional development.
Too often we see bright PR pros launching with enthusiasm in their new job, only to find themselves overwhelmed, stressed, and without a target mere months later.
Working in PR is not easy, it’s stressful, it’s challenging, it’s a 24/7 job.
Yet, you love every minute and you wouldn’t change it for the world.
How do you avoid getting stuck or losing your enthusiasm?
Better yet, how do you avoid burnout?
It All Starts with a Plan
It all comes down to having goals and a plan for your career.
I always say you should treat your career like a business.
And I say it for various reasons: It makes you look at the big picture, not only the next couple of years, but your entire career.
It forces you to think hard, to sit dawn and draw a plan for your career.
Instead of letting chance guide it, you take your career into your own hands and decide what’s next for you.
No more excuses, you’re the only one responsible for your career.
But how do you do it?
I mean, you work almost 24/7, you have a lot of things to do, everyone wants a piece of you, and, above all you have only 24 hours in a day.
I very much like this saying from Gini Dietrich: “Work on your business, not only in your business.”
It holds so much truth, and it can be easily applied to your job in PR.
Work on your career, not only in it.
That means invest in your PR professional development.
Make a plan for the year ahead.
If you haven’t started in January, make a plan for what’s left of 2017.
You don’t have to wait for next year to take action, do it now.
Don’t waste time when it’s your career at stake.
For years, PR professional development meant attending a few networking events per year, being part of an association, and working day in, day out in your job.
With the advent of the internet, that changed, for the better.
You can now connect and network with people all over the world, take online courses, learn how a particular crisis communication was handled on another continent, etc.
The way we connect has changed.
Therefore, the way you look at your PR professional development should change to.
PR Professional Development in a World of Information Overload
How do you approach PR professional development in this world of information overload?
Let’s take them one by one.
Building relationships is at the core of the PR profession.
That hasn’t changed, nor will ever change.
If it does, then most likely the PR profession as we know it, will cease to exist.
Jim Rohn famously said, “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.”
Whether online or offline, you have to make a conscious effort to spend time with those people you can learn most from.
Those people you look up to and you’d like to be like when you grow up.
It’s very easy to say, “I’ll do that tomorrow.”
While I am not saying you shouldn’t spend time with friends, family, colleagues, I do want to emphasize having on your daily agenda to connect with at least one new person every day.
Whether it’s someone in your company or not, get out of your comfort zone and connect with leaders in your industry.
Bonus tip: If you want to skyrocket your learning and career, once a month, go to your clients’ networking events and connect with people in those industries.
Listen to them and learn about their struggles (not PR related), what are they trying to achieve, etc.
You will learn a ton, you’ll be able to better understand your clients’ business and help them, and you’ll be even more valuable to your company.
Invest in PR and Business Development Programs
It’s hard to find great courses and programs that will help you step up your PR game.
I know, I’ve been searching for them for years.
Only to end up with the same fluff, lots of promises, little content.
How do you know what program to choose?
I have a not so secret formula for you.
Go to the best of the best in the industry.
Look for what they are doing, what they are offering.
See what others have to say about them.
But most importantly, are they walking the talk?
Read their content regularly.
Do they deliver value through their content?
What did you learn from them in the past couple of months that you applied in your job?
Do they have webinars with industry experts you admire and respect?
These are questions you should be asking yourself before deciding on a PR and business development program.
Investing in your PR professional development shouldn’t be complicated.
If you connect with the right people, online and offline, if you have a monthly, quarterly, and yearly PR professional development plan and stick to it, it will be a piece of cake.
You still have to do the work, but you know what I mean.
It will become part of your routine and in matter of months you’ll be a totally different, smarter PR pro.
Invest in your career, choose you, and you’ll be more valuable to your company, and have a higher value on the market as well.
What will you do this month to invest in your career?