Editor’s note: The Edge will feature posts every other Monday to discuss the benefits of PRSA membership for new pros and celebrate the work being done for new pros by local chapters. Join the conversation on Twitter using #MemberMonday.
When we think about resources for newly minted PR pros, tools like Help a Reporter Out, Buffer, IFTTT, Evernote, Dropbox, Hootsuite and Google’s entire suite of programs come to mind. Membership in a professional organization is often overlooked on that list.
PRSA, or any other professional organization, membership can be a big expenditure for recent grads. Understanding the benefits that come with your membership is helpful in deciding which organization is the best fit for you.
So what tools are available to PRSA members?
For new pros on the prowl for a job, Jobcenter is a great resource. With jobs listings from all over the country, it’s an ideal source for seeing what new opportunities are out there. Anyone can view the jobs, but only PRSA members can apply for positions, post their resume and ask experts for advice and insight throughout the interview process. Many chapters also have job boards members to peruse local openings and apply. Since companies have to pay for each job posting on both the local and national organizations’ sites, listed positions are often legitimate and actively considering applicants.
Special Interest Groups
PRSA has 14 special interest groups for members of all experience levels and areas of expertise. Joining a special interest group gives members the opportunity to connect with and learn from their peers and gives them access to exclusive perks, such as networking opportunities, members-only message boards and forums, volunteer and leadership opportunities.
PRSA’s on-demand library is a perk well worth the membership dues. Members can browse dozens of training opportunities on everything from PR writing and branding to crisis management and accreditation. Training is offered as a live webinar for those who can tune it at the appointed time and as an on-demand option for those who want to watch it on their own schedule. Web training opportunities are free to members (with some exceptions).
Blogs & Publications
In addition to all of the available professional development and training opportunities, PRSA has a number of blogs, including ComPRehension and PRSAY, to share industry trends, tips and news with members. Its print publications, Public Relations Tactics and The Public Relations Strategist, are mailed directly to members monthly and quarterly, respectively. Individual special interest sections, like the New Professionals section, and some of the 100-plus chapters also have blogs that focus on topics of interest to members. All PRSA blogs are available to non-member as well as members, but content is written almost exclusively by PRSA members and is a great way to establish yourself as an expert or showcase your knowledge in a particular area.
With PRSA’s annual International Conference, special interest conferences and regional conferences across the country, PRSA members have the opportunity to connect with other PR pros from all over. For members who are more interested in making one-on-one connections closer to home, many chapters host local networking events and most special interest sections use special hashtags to facilitate conversation and host monthly Twitter chats. Members can also use PRSA’s member directory to contact particular members.
Mentor Match is a great option for those who are looking for a little extra guidance, especially those who are new to the profession. Mentor Match pairs a seasoned professional from PRSA’s College of Fellows with a mentee to answer questions, strengthen your resume, set goals, solve a work dilemma, and more. PRSA’s is currently revamping its Mentor Match program, so be on the lookout for updated information on the program.
Just announced to members last month, PRSA is launching a new members-only community called PRSA Connect. PRSA Connect will give members the opportunity to interact with their peers to quickly share information, collaborate and discuss issues and questions. In addition to connecting members, PRSA Connect will store all member benefits, such as articles, webinars, recordings, presentations and more. More information will be available later this month.
Want to learn more about PRSA’s benefits for new pros and what tools your peers are using to navigate the PR world? Join us for our April Twitter chat – “Tools for Your PR Toolbox” – on April 13 at 8 p.m. with #NPPRSA.