By Gabrielle Sirois
In today’s world there is so much information available to us that it is impossible to learn everything in our classes. This is especially true in an industry such as public relations where things are always changing and evolving. There is always going to be something new to learn, and it is so important for us to constantly develop our skills, whether it be now as students or when we become working professionals.
Here are some of the best ways for you to continue being a student and learning outside of the classroom:
1. Read, read, read
Reading is always one of the best ways to learn new things, and you can find articles about almost every subject online. Especially for public relations, there are so many industry-specific websites and blogs that will help you become a better public relations practitioner. Websites such as PRWeek and Ragan Communications can keep you up to date on what is happening in the industry and also offer tips on how to improve your skills.
You can also learn a lot from reading articles written by other students such as here on the UA PRSSA blog, Platform Magazine or Progressions, the national PRSSA blog. Add to this list the large amount of company-run blogs, and you have a nearly unlimited amount of information you can use to better yourself.
2. Utilize video courses
If you are the kind of person who prefers to learn by watching and listening rather than just reading, there are countless online video courses you can watch. If you are looking to teach yourself a completely new skill, especially technical ones, these videos can be a great place to start.
You can find online courses that teach you how to develop and improve your hard skills (such as the Adobe Creative Cloud, HTML and photography), as well as your soft skills (such as time management, productivity and effective listening).
There are plenty of options for where to find these video courses. You can invest in paid learning libraries such as Lynda and Skillshare, but YouTube is also a great free option that has tons of tutorials.
3. Listen to others and ask questions
In my opinion, the best resource we can utilize for learning is the people around us. Whether it be your peers, professors or industry professionals, there is always going to be something they know that you don’t. You should view every relationship as mutually beneficial, where you can each help each other learn and improve. Make sure that you really listen to other people when you are having conversations because you never know what you could learn. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, either — people won’t think less of you for not knowing something!
Overall, the best professionals are not those who believe they know everything; they are those who don’t and who constantly take steps to better themselves. I hope you keep this in mind and utilize the resources that are available to you to help you improve and keep learning.