Resource Guides

The Plank Center’s resource guides provide a framework and support leadership and research in public relations. From umbrella beginner tips to more niche, tailored topics, The Plank Center offers a series of tactical, skill-based guides available for broad educational use.

The Art of Managing Up: Adding Value From All Levels (PDF)

When you start your career, you may not understand the notion of “managing up.” While it may initially be a bit abstract to wrap your head around, you will get into the groove of anticipating needs and communicating more effectively. Ultimately this will benefit your manager, colleagues, clients and career development.

This guide provides context and tactical advice on how to build your managing up skills as a young to mid-level professional – while you navigate different people dynamics, work paces, priorities and key initiatives.

Cracking the Code to Workplace Confidence (PDF)

Confidence is the gateway to advocating for and advancing your career, signaling you’re ready for more responsibility and to climb the workplace ladder. While commonly thought of as a state of mind, confidence is also a muscle. The more you flex it, the more confident you become. Whether you’re navigating a new role or project, even early in your career, it’s always beneficial to assess your confidence level to boost your professional presence and, in turn, your career.

Even if your natural tendency in certain situations is to undervalue sharing your perspective, retreat to the back of the room during meetings, or avoid being in the spotlight, low confidence doesn’t have to define you or create a barrier to career progression.

This guide will share insight and practical advice on how to build and leverage your personal confidence until it becomes muscle memory. 

Making the Next Big Move (PDF)

No matter where you are in life, a career “move” in the quickly evolving communications industry can feel intimidating. Whether you’re accepting a new job, physically moving to a different city, getting an advanced degree or making another bold change, most moves require a degree of risk-taking – which if we’re honest, can be uncomfortable. however, these moves don’t have to be overwhelming – when strategic and well thought out. 

If you’re a communications practitioner or educator considering making a big move now or mapping out your next five-year plan, this guide is for you. It will help you assess why you want to make a transition, determine the best timing for one and explore different types of moves. Get ready, buckle up and put yourself in the driver’s seat of your career. 

Beyond the Tactics: How to Effectively Use Strategic Thinking to Drive Decision Making (PDF)

As mid-level public relations professionals gain roles with greater depth and responsibility, it becomes increasingly important for them to look around corners and assess the bigger picture to make critical decisions. Moving from tactical to strategic thinking allows professionals to position their clients and organizations ahead of the curve, producing impactful business results. This resource guide explains why strategic thinking matters, and how to sharpen your strategic mindset.

Mentorship Guide (PDF)

Backed by collegiate white papers, top industry professionals and researchers, The Plank Center’s Mentorship Guide offers a living series of tips and tricks on how to get the most out of a mentorship relationship. This guide was made to supplement mentorship programs, lesson plans, and/or professional relationships. With a quick, complimentary download, professional groups and individuals alike will receive relevant and supported counsel.

Mastering Leadership at the Middle Levels (PDF)

The Plank Center’s Emerging Leaders have chosen an industry topic very relevant to their day-to-day careers: the responsibilities and roles of mid-level managers in public relations. Mid-level public relations and communication professionals have advanced through the first year or two of their careers and are now responsible for balancing personal work, overseeing more junior colleagues (often for the first time) and providing strategic counsel to business partners. This resource guide serves as a set of best practices for managers who are 5-10 years into their career.

Educate & Elevate: An Educator’s Guide to Empower Others to Change the World (PDF)

From the classroom to the boardroom, leaders play crucial roles in all groups and at all organizational levels, and The Plank Center is pleased to offer you free resources to develop and strengthen your and your students’ leadership skills. This toolkit is filled with best practices in leadership, mentorship, and diversity and inclusion; lessons from leaders; classroom activities; and much more.

Lead with Purpose (PDF)

College is an integral time for public relations students to develop the leadership skills needed in the profession. The Student Leadership Toolkit is a comprehensive guide designed to provide students with vital resources, which will help to enhance students’ education and further develop them as emerging leaders. This toolkit contains lessons from PR professionals, research in leadership and mentorship, best practices, scholarship opportunities and additional resources for professional development.

On-Camera Interview Guidelines (PDF)

Need some advice for your upcoming on-camera interview? The pros at Perfect Cut Productions provided this one-pager complete with what to wear, what to avoid, best practices and additional tips to have you camera ready.