Summer is a time when the skies are blue, the temperatures are warm, and the opportunities to advance your career can be found all around you. Due to the coronavirus, though, this summer already has been and is going to be one filled with social distancing and other restrictions never experienced before. Whether you are laying out on the beach or self quarantining in your house, there are several ways public relations professionals can expand their skill set during the “dog days of summer.”

Here are five tips to help any PR professional become the best version of themselves during the summer of 2020:

1. Set goals

What do you want your career to look like in 2-5 years? How are you going to get there? While working in marketing and PR, you often use SMART goals to set your projects up for success. These are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Now make SMART goals for yourself and see by the end of your summer if you have met those goals. For instance, listening to every episode of The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes wouldn’t count as a SMART goal, but subscribing and listening to an episode every day would. If you do not hold yourself accountable and have no sense of direction, then there is no purpose for making goals in the first place.

2. Attend webinars

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, most in-person conferences and professional events, in addition to a great deal of traveling plans, have been cancelled. However, many organizations and companies have replaced in-person events with webinars that can be just as productive and beneficial. These webinars can be on a range of topics from diversity and inclusion to the newest industry trends. Recently, I’ve enjoyed attending the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) webinars, and the best part is that even if you missed the date of the webinar, you can replay it and watch it whenever you want. Also, most webinars are free (or a very little cost), which is the cherry on top!

3. Update your website and social media

Summertime brings on loads of free time, and this year brings more than normal. All this free time is the perfect opportunity to update your personal website and social media accounts. Managing your own website and social media is essential to building your personal brand online and can be a key step to standing out among your peers. Websites can be especially helpful when trying to organize your portfolio work.

If you don’t already have a website and are starting from scratch, Wix and WordPress are good places to start. When it comes to social media, LinkedIn is the platform designed for becoming the best professional you can be; LinkedIn can do anything from connecting you with thousands of professionals in any industry to possibly assisting you in finding your next job. You can use social media for fun this summer, but also professional development.

4. Write! Write! Write!

You are spending your summer writing, right? Whether you are a social media strategist or spend much of your workdays pitching reporters, writing is one of the most important skills you can have working in the PR industry. Just like with anything, the more you practice, the better. I have personally found that making time to journal every day, even if it is just five minutes, can help make leaps and bounds both as a writer and PR professional. If you’re wanting an easy way to start journaling online every day, give Penzu or Journalate

5. Read regularly

In the PR industry, it is important to be both a diligent writer and reader. Reading helps professionals of all backgrounds learn new perspectives, which will allow them to relate to different types of people, including both clients and coworkers. In addition, reading can help expand your vocabulary, thus making you a more intelligent and successful writer. Doing something as simple as reading the top news stories every morning when you get up can help you become more informed about the world around you and a more skilled PR professional. To stay on top of the news, I recommend using TheSkimm and SmartNews.

It is almost August, but there is still plenty of time to professionally grow this summer. Grab a pair of shades (and a mask!), along with a good book, a journal or your laptop and make this summer the most PRofessional one yet!

This blog post was contributed by Summer PR Intern Kate Ryan. To learn more about our career and internship opportunities, visit our About page.