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Are you on course to be top PR talent? How to keep your development on track

22 Aug 2016 by Sarah Leembruggen.

PR is a demanding and competitive industry, and with a constantly evolving job market it’s important to make sure your skillset is growing – not only for you to stay on top of your professional game, but also for your own satisfaction in your career. Here we share our top five tips for maximising your professional development.

1. Set your goals

An obvious but important place to start. Identify what you want to achieve in your career, including a realistic timeframe, and what skills, experience, mentorship and training will help you to get there. Ask advice from your peers as they may have some ideas you hadn’t considered. Research industry options such as the CIPR and PRCA and have a conversation with their teams. Also, discuss your career so far with a specialist search firm in the industry to gain bespoke advice just for you.

2. What formal training is there?

What training options does your employer offer? Is there a structured plan in place? Set up a discussion with the relevant person and find out what options you have – whether it’s now, or six months down the line, it’s important to know what your employer can offer you. Also, are they offering you what you want or something slightly off the mark? If so, can they offer you alternatives? Adopt a lateral approach and make sure you’re maximising the potential to get what you want from the training – don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Your employer will only be impressed with you for wanting to develop and grow your skillset.

3. Be consistent

Keeping up a continuous flow of training and skills development is a vital part of your employability – even if you’re not considering moving right now, your situation might change in six months or a year. If professional development is important to you and your employer isn’t adding a string to your professional bow, it might be time to consider another avenue – whether finding an organisation that supports your needs, or seeking out options independently.

4. Get proactive

Always, always make sure you’re improving your knowledge and skills by taking a proactive role in your own knowledge and skillset from an informal perspective. The further your career is progressing in the PR sector the more you will learn about the relevant industry publications and which of these will give you the most relevant insights in your specialist area. Ask your peers or seniors for further ideas and recommendations. Not only should you be keeping up to date with current news, trends and industry knowledge, but you should be considering wider ideas too – and also don’t forget your specialist skills interests, whether that’s mentorship, management training or something else. And don’t forget to show off your knowledge whenever you can! This reminds employers of your value.

5. Make time

One of the biggest challenges in the world of PR and communications professionals is to really have the time to review development and achievements, evaluating your training and how you’ve developed in a given timeframe, and furthermore to set the goals for your future. But it’s important that you make the time for this on a regular basis in order to achieve the outcome you ultimately want in your career path and really stand out in the PR crowd.

How do you manage your professional development? We’d love to hear – tweet @theworksrecruit.

The Works Search specialise in placing mid to senior level PR and communications talent in leading PR agencies and in-house organisations across London, on both a contingency and executive search basis. For our latest roles visit our jobs page, or contact the team on 0207 559 6690 to discuss your career in confidence.

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