National Capital Chapter

Level Up Your Learning

By Laura Ambrosio and Carly Coaty

Learning shouldn’t stop once you have your degree in hand – it should be a lifelong journey. The communications industry is ever-evolving and public relations professionals need to be willing to stay up to date on the changing media landscape, new communications channels, audience preferences, and more. 

Whether you want to learn about the latest tools to make your job easier or give yourself a leg up in a competitive job market, there’s a professional development opportunity out there to help you achieve your goals.

Build out your technical toolbox

We typically think of skills like writing, public speaking and media relations as core skills for public relations professionals. Technical skills can complement these traditional skills and level up your career. From social media and websites to video editing and data analytics, there’s an abundance of topics to learn about and plenty of ways to sharpen your tech know-how. 

PRSA has a full catalog of both on-demand and live webinars and courses – many of which are free or discounted for members. You can learn about a variety of topics from podcasting to graphic design for social media at your convenience. Other resources such as LinkedIn Learning, General Assembly, HubSpot, Hootsuite, Meltwater and Udemy also have training opportunities focused on in-demand technical skills.

Cultivate lasting connections

Networking is an essential skill that every PR pro should have in their toolbox, but like most skills unless used regularly, it may need to be sharpened. 

Although networking may look a bit different in the post-pandemic era, there is nothing quite like a face-to-face meeting, whether that is in-person or via video conferencing, to establish a good relationship. Building rapport is one the most impactful ways to learn about new opportunities both in and out of the workplace. Remember – networking could help land your next job or create a new partnership!

A great way to make new connections is to join the free monthly coffee chat to discuss current issues that are affecting public relations professionals. As the nation’s largest group of public relations professionals, our members represent a variety of specialties within the industry and are a wealth of knowledge. Join our members-only LinkedIn group to network and share information and expertise with fellow members.

Level up your leadership skills

Being a leader isn’t reserved for a specific title or position. It is important to learn how to lead, even informally or as a volunteer. No matter how much experience you have, learning to lead collaboratively can make a positive impact on your career. Volunteering as a committee chair or for our board of directors are both great options for building leadership skills.

Mentoring can also be a great way to hone your leadership skills. Mentoring relationships enable professionals to learn from each other, share career advice, network, develop coaching skills, and practice giving and receiving feedback. Learn more about becoming a mentor.

Step outside of your comfort zone 

Taking initiative and getting outside of your comfort zone is one of the best ways to grow. Volunteering for new tasks or challenging projects is a great example. People will remember that you were willing to take on something new and are more likely to consult you about future opportunities. 

Never stop seeking out new opportunities for growth. Regardless of what career stage you are in, professional development is a lifelong path that can help you be better equipped in your career, keep up with the latest industry trends, and ultimately better serve your organization, client, or business.

Laura Ambrosio serves on the Board of Directors for PRSA-NCC and is Chair of the University Relations Committee. She is a communications professional working at the Consumer Technology Association.

Carly Coaty serves on the PRSA-NCC University Relations Committee and is an International Program Analyst at ICI Services Corporation.