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Why I'm Pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Public Relations, By: Courtney Crites

Sep 08, 2023 02:44 PM
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First things first, how is it already back to school season?! It feels like just yesterday I was celebrating the completion of my undergrad degree. Yet here I am, gearing up for another exciting chapter - pursuing a graduate certificate in Public Relations at Humber College. 

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of this new adventure, I wanted to take a few minutes to chat about why I’ve decided to pursue this education. So, grab your favourite cozy spot and join me as I spill the tea on my motivations, my love for learning, and the exciting possibilities that await in the world of PR. 

I wanted to fill the gaps in my business education 

While the degree I took at McMaster provided me with an incredibly strong foundation in business and numerous relevant experiences, it left me wanting a little bit more - especially insight into the world of Public Relations. After giving it some thought, I realized that because this world is so digitally connected, effective PR strategies can basically make or break a company. By pursuing this graduate certificate, I’m confident I’ll be able to fill my personal gaps and ensure my education is comprehensive and relevant to the challenges of today’s business and communications landscape. 

I wanted to enhance my knowledge 

My love for learning is always a driving force in my life, whether it's through actually furthering my education, participating in a cool extracurricular, or a new internship. To me, pursuing this graduate certificate in Public Relations isn’t just about acquiring another credential (although, that is a nice bonus); it’s about immersing myself in a field that intrigues me, challenges me, and that I can see myself being incredibly passionate about. It’s also about acquiring new perspectives and insights that can enrich both my personal and professional life. I’m so excited to dive into the complexities of PR, learn from experts in the field, and keep my ever-curious mind engaged, inside and outside of the classroom. z

I wanted to be more confident marketing myself 

I’m always searching for ways to stand out or ways to make myself more marketable - pursuing this certificate is a great way for me to do that. While I’ve gained valuable skills and knowledge during my undergraduate years, I want to be even more confident in marketing myself to potential employers. Let me be clear though: this graduate certificate won’t get me a job on its own, but what it will do is provide me a platform to tell a story. As a PR professional, I’ll know how to create a compelling story and really understand the art of personal branding. I feel confident in saying that this program will make me even more confident to show up to a job interview or hold a conversation with a leader in a company and explain to them my experiences and the value I can add to the professional world of PR.

I wanted to further embrace digital innovation through learning 

With the world of PR constantly evolving, I knew it was important for me to realize that learning new skills for what works in the now is crucial for my career success. The digital age has transformed the way we communicate, and the PR industry is no exception (obviously). Social media, content marketing, and data analysis have become integral components of modern PR strategies. To remain both relevant and effective, I knew I wanted to learn even more to stay on top of things. Pursuing this graduate certificate isn’t just about adapting to the latest trends, it’s about embracing them, experimenting with new tools and techniques, and becoming a proficient digital communicator. 

I wanted to expand potential career opportunities 

Ultimately, I see this journey as an investment in my future. The PR field is so dynamic and offers a lot of exciting (and growing) career opportunities. Whether it’s in marketing, corporate communications, crisis management, or public affairs, a background in PR opens doors to diverse roles and industries that I may not have had such easy access to otherwise. I’m eager to explore these possibilities when the time comes, and position myself as a versatile professional capable of adapting to the evolving demands of the business/communications world. 

Final Thoughts 

At the end of the day will this certificate give me an immediate promotion? Probably not. Will it give me a huge raise or a one up on every one of my competitors? Not necessarily. What this graduate certificate will give me, though, is an expansion on my knowledge about the profession and allow me to connect with talented and successful individuals who can help guide my career. 

Does this mean that you should also pursue a graduate certificate in Public Relations? Maybe and maybe not (that’s up to you!). For me, I’m so excited to further my education and feel confident in saying that completing the program will bring me one step closer to reaching my personal and professional goals.