9 ways PR pros can increase their skill sets

You don’t have to be a full-time student to increase your knowledge and gain experience that you can apply to your current work projects. Here’s how you can continue to grow.

School is in session, even if you’re no longer in college.

PR pros looking to stay ahead of future trends related to their work can continue to be a student while balancing a full-time job.

Even if you don’t have a ton of extra time in your schedule, here are ways to integrate learning opportunities:

Time commitment: Minimal

1. Read trend stories and industry blogs.

While scanning the news, read stories about industry trends and incorporate industry blogs as your go-to resources. It’s an easy way to stay relevant with what’s happening in the industry. Knowledge adds up incrementally throughout the week.

2. Network to learn from friends and other communicators.

When you get together with friends who work in the same industry but in different organizations or functions, talking about the office is inevitable. These conversations can help you think about tools or solutions you can implement, and you can identify opportunities you might not have previously known.

3. Subscribe to educational resources.

Instead of searching for information, 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.

Time commitment: Medium

4. Attend conferences or events.

Taking a day (or night) off to attend a relevant event can provide learning opportunities that can inspire creativity become fodder that you can incorporate into your work.

5. Plan an educational program for your team.

Put together a lunch and learn, happy hour or training session that includes an educational program on a topic is relevant to your team. It can be a great opportunity to learn more and help your team succeed.

6. Attend your organization’s events or join a committee.

Doing so can help you become connected to your organization, and you’ll probably learn something new.

Time commitment: Maximum

7. Take classes.

With the prevalence of massive open online courses and tutorials on YouTube, education has never been more accessible.

If you’re trying to break into the financial communications field, take a finance class to gain a fundamental knowledge of how businesses run.

8. Get involved in extracurriculars.

Remember when you were applying to colleges and people recommended having a well-rounded resume including AP classes, after-school activities, sports and volunteer activities? It doesn’t have to end after you graduate. Continue to volunteer, join an intramural sport or get a hobby.

9. Start a side hustle. Write for an industry blog or join an organization’s board of directors to grow your skills and build your personal brand.

Julia Sahin works in financial communications at one of the largest PR firms in New York Connect with her on Twitter. All opinions should be seen as her own and do not reflect her employer’s. A version of this article originally appeared on Muck Rack, a service that enables you to find journalists to pitch, build media lists, get press alerts and create coverage reports with social media data.

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This article originally appeared on PR Daily in September of 2017.

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