PR Moment: You must constantly update your skills to thrive in modern public relations

Do you need any qualifications to succeed in PR?

Well, of course, they aren’t mandatory, but they can certainly help. And this doesn’t mean getting a PR degree or gaining a PR qualification just at the start of your career, but constantly updating your skills.

After analysing top communications professionals throughout Europe, the European Communication Monitor findings suggest that making the effort to continue gaining knowledge will benefit your career.

David Alexander, managing director at agency Calacus Public Relations: “When I moved from journalism to PR, I knew that there was plenty to learn about the role of gamekeeper. Being a poacher was, in my mind, a lot easier and that was part of the attraction of moving into PR.

“But it’s dog-eat-dog in a lot of bigger agencies and billable time took priority over personal development, even if it would ultimately benefit the company as much as the employee.

“I took it upon myself to learn as much as I could and over the course of time, there is now a lot more in terms of resources for PR newbies to learn from. 

“I also committed to taking the CIPR Chartered Practitioner qualification and worked hard to ensure I passed it first time. There’s certainly an argument that practical experience trumps academic study, as I have seen myself with some PR graduates who know theory but have no idea how to do the basics of PR, but we work in an ever-evolving industry and continuous professional development is key.

“I would like to see the larger agencies do more to support their staff to undertake professional training on a regular basis. Clients, staff and indeed our very industry demands it if we are not to get left behind by other disciplines that could eat our lunch.”

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