February 22, 2012 / by Heidi Sullivan


This post is co-written by Liz Stelter, Cision’s Senior Organizational Development Specialist.


In the recently released Executive Summary of PR News‘ Salary Survey, we were surprised to read about the lack of internal training and mentoring opportunities for PR pros:

While the majority of respondents get reimbursed for conferences and seminars, only slightly more than half (55.2%) have access to internal training. Furthermore, less than a quarter (22.1%) have access to a mentoring program.”

(The full PR News Salary Survey report is available for $99 or free to PR News subscribers.)

Many of us travel to conferences and attend seminars with our training budget. But are you looking for other low-cost ways to continue your education and grow in your career? We’re here to help. Here are Heidi & Liz’s five tips on finding resources for training and mentoring:

  • Utilize professional memberships to the fullest. Organizations like PRSA, IABC and the AMA provide a lot more than the practical conferences that many of us attend. Some offer mentor programs with membership, networking opportunities through local or topic-specific chapters and online communities for discussion and sharing ideas.
  • Ask someone internally. Even if your organization doesn’t have a formal mentoring program, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a mentor at the office. Be prepared with a plan of what you want to accomplish and approach your potential mentor with a specific goal, objectives and timeline in mind. Don’t be afraid to approach someone higher up; especially with whom you have an established rapport.
  • Build up your RSS feed. Use Google Reader or another RSS aggregator to add a variety of blogs to your feed to expand your reading list outside of your usual comfort zone. Maybe you want to learn more about leadership  (Liz recommends Great Leadership by Dan), or maybe you want to brush up on the latest and greatest technology trends (Heidi doesn’t go a day without reading ReadWriteWeb). We know you’re busy, so you don’t have to read every post every day, but glance through headlines to find posts that might be of interest to you.
  • Attend a Tweetup or Networking Event. It doesn’t necessarily have to be PR-related or related to your industry, sometimes finding a group of professionals can give you an outside perspective. Check out LinkedIn professional groups or local professional organizations to see what’s going on in your city.
  • Tune up with a webinar. Short on time and resources? While you might not have internal training, organizations and vendors in your industry often feature webinars that offer expert advice, info on the latest trends and tips on how to more effectively do your job… all from the comfort of your desk – and in typically less than an hour. (Shameless self-plug!! Cision offers free webinars on PR & social media – check out our latest offerings.)

How do you stay on top of the industry and grow in your career? Share your own tips below.

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About Heidi Sullivan

One of PRWeek’s 40 under 40 in 2012, Heidi Sullivan is Senior Vice President of Digital Content for Cision and a self-proclaimed social media metrics nerd. She leads the company’s digital and broadcast content teams, the global research team for Cision’s media database, Cision’s social media community team and the company’s content marketing strategy. You can find her on Twitter @hksully.