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Posted on 06.11.2014

Professional Development: Make Time Because It Matters

You've saved, invested and finally purchased your dream home, which includes every high-end finish and furnishing you've imagined. Unfortunately, you can never seem to find time for its upkeep and maintenance. You ultimately delay necessary repairs or ignore them altogether. You're just too busy!

This sounds absolutely crazy, right!? Coincidentally, this scenario reflects a reality for far too many PR and communications professionals when it comes to professional development. The asset that is your communications and public relations expertise can depreciate in value and fall into a state of complete and utter disrepair unless you make time to keep your skills honed.

As a lifelong learner, I've always managed to carve out time for professional development, despite what sometimes seems like insurmountable family and daily work demands. Admittedly, it's partly due to my unquenchable thirst for all things breaking news, hot topics and new pop culture trends. (Look no further than my ever-growing stack of reading material and personal library of books for confirmation of my obsession!)  LEARN

However, my propensity for continued growth is spurred more by passion for my work and a desire to improve the quality of the product and services I provide my clients every time. I am forever seeking ways to stay current in my profession, from networking and attending relevant Meetups (my most recent curiosity is learning about SEO) to memberships in professional associations and mentoring relationships. (Disclosure: I am both a mentor and mentee!) I'm not necessarily wanting to reinvent the wheel, but simply trying to build a better mousetrap.

Sure, staying up on the current industry bells and whistles can quickly get costly. However there's a lot out there that's completely free. Some of my go-to resources are PRSay, PR Daily, PRNewser, PRWeek, Poynter, ComPRehension, PR News and Daily Dog.

One of my very favorite Maya Angelou quotes is, "When you know better, you do better." To "know better" requires dedication and commitment to perfecting your craft through pursuit of lifelong learning and development, thereby equipping you to ultimately "do better" for your clients!

Here are some of my tips to get you on the path:

  • Talk to both new and seasoned communications professionals about trends they see emerging.
  • In the true spirit of a Tennessee native - we're known as the "volunteer state" - I can't help but recommend volunteering or consulting on a pro-bono basis for a favorite non-profit organization. Not only would leadership welcome your participation, which saves scarce financial resources, it offers the chance to meet individuals who share similar interests and are willing share nuggets of wisdom.
  • Meet for coffee with others in the communications industry or attend a PRSA or IABC luncheon to share ideas, receive helpful hints and hear about industry trends.

Are you making time for professional development - whatever your industry? Please share your own tips for keeping your skills honed.

 

Andrea Ewin Turner is a Senior Account Supervisor at Lovell Communications. You can view more of Andrea’s blogs here.  Connect with Andrea at Andrea@lovell.com  or @aewinturner​

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