9 ways to keep learning as a PR pro

9 ways to keep learning as a PR pro

I may be alone in this, but I love back-to-school season. Even though I don’t have any semesters to prepare for anymore, this season brings back exciting and jittery memories.  

While students are getting ready for another year of school, working professionals may be asking themselves: what can I do to stay ahead of future trends related to my work? How can I continue to be a student while having a full-time job?

We don’t have a ton of extra time with our schedules, but here’s how PR pros can integrate more learning opportunities into their day-to-day.

Time commitment: Minimal

  • Read more trend stories and industry blogs. While scanning the news, reading more stories about industry trends and incorporating more industry blogs as resources is an easy way to stay relevant with what’s happening in the industry. Knowledge adds up incrementally throughout the week.

  • Set up networking meetings to learn from friends or industry professionals. When you get together with friends who work in the same industry but in different companies or functions, talking about the office is inevitable. These conversations can be helpful in thinking about different tools or solutions you can implement at work. You can also pick up on opportunities you may not have known otherwise.

  • Subscribe to educational resources. Instead of searching for information, you can have it sent to your address, email, or phone. Magazines, e-newsletters, and podcasts are easy to access and digest and there’s a resource for almost everything you’re interested in learning more about.

Time commitment: Medium

  • Attend conferences or events. Taking a day (or night) off to attend a relevant--or sometimes tangential-- event can provide learning opportunities that can be incorporated into your work or inspiration for creativity.     

  • Plan an educational program for your team. Putting together a lunch and learn, happy hour, or training session that includes an educational program on whatever topic is relevant to your team is a great opportunity to learn more about it and help your team be more successful.  

  • Attend company events or get involved in company committees. They’re a great way to become more connected to your company and you’ll likely learn something you didn’t know before.  

Time commitment: Maximum

  • Take classes. With the prevalence of MOOCs and tutorials on YouTube and other video sites, education has never been more accessible. One of the questions I often get asked when I guest lecture is how to learn more about financial communications in order to break into the field. I recommend taking a class on finance to gain a fundamental knowledge of how business runs--it was something I did when I was in grad school through a MOOC.

  • Get involved in “extra-curriculars.” Remember when you were in the planning phase of applying to college and people recommended having a well-rounded resume including AP classes, after-school activities, sports, and volunteer activities? It doesn’t have to end now that you’re out of school. Continue to volunteer your time, be involved in intramural sports, and work on hobbies.  

  • Start a side hustle. Write for an industry blog or join the board of an organization--these are just examples of ways you can continue to grow your skills, build your personal brand, and learn a ton through a side hustle.

How are you planning to go "back to school" this fall? Let us know!

Julia Sahin works in financial communications at one of the largest PR firms in New York and is a monthly contributor to Muck Rack. She plans on doing big things. Connect with her on Twitter. All opinions should be seen as her own and do not reflect her employer’s.

Photo via Pixabay

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