How would you invest £500 in your career?

Back in January I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of the first ever Best Individual Contribution to Internal Communication award from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

Rachel MillerAs part of my prize, which was presented by Jonathan Abbott, Founder of ScarlettAbbott agency, and BBC presenter Steph McGovern @stephbreakfast (pictured), I was given a learning bursary of £500.

It had been given in honour of communications professional Clare Latham. I spoke to Clare’s brother on the awards night and promised to keep him updated on how I invest the bursary towards my professional development.

However, I’m stuck for ideas of how to spend it and thought I’d take to my blog to appeal for your help please.

Given the personal news I shared this week that I’m currently expecting twins at the end of this year, and the fact my work diary is booked solid, I’m not only struggling to decide what to choose, but it needs to fit in with my upcoming plans.

What would you do?

So I’d love to know your thoughts please. If you had £500 to invest in your personal development, what would you spend it on?

I recently completed my Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for this year via the CIPR. I see the value in as it helps me constantly look to improve what I do and to retain my Accredited Practitioner status. (Don’t forget if you came to The Big Yak unconference in June it is worth 10 CPD points).

Having spoken with the CIPR Inside committee I understand the bursary is for me to invest as I wish in my own development – I’m not restricted to purely a CIPR course for example.

My original plan was to attend the World Public Relations Forum in Madrid, Spain, in September. But that’s not possible now due to my little ones being on board.

I think the idea of the bursary is such a smart one and it’s an honour to receive it, so I want to ensure I spend it wisely. I’ve investigated all sorts, from short courses to books, to academic journals and one-to-one training.

But so far I haven’t discovered something that feels like the right thing to do.

So I’m open to your ideas – what would you recommend? Have you done a course or encountered something to the value of approx £500 that you think it would be good for me to investigate?

Please Tweet me @AllthingsIC or comment below, with any bright ideas.

Thank you, I look forward to hearing from you,


P.s. Talking of awards, don’t forget the Institute of Internal Communication is on the hunt for the Top 30 under 30 IC pros to enter this year’s contest. You can read all about it on my blog.

Post author: Rachel Miller.

First published: 1 August 2014.


  1. Samantha Norman says:

    Hi Rachel,
    As the mother of a toddler who has recently returned to work in IC from maternity leave I would suggest some kind of time-saving thing, maybe a bit of technology or instead of a set course maybe you could invest the money in seeing a mentor or adviser type person who you could consult when needed rather than at a set time, or something online course that you can do from home.
    It’s not a definite idea as such but for me, the most precious commodity in my life at the moment (apart from my son, of course!) is time – there simply isn’t enough of it…
    Good luck!

  2. Wedge says:

    Hi Rachel,

    congratulations, twins you say!

    Yes, I’d invest in enriching experiences. So, a conference, yeah, or a course, absolutely.

    Then again, if you needed a new laptop, £500 would go a long way towards an awesome new piece of kit that could help you be more efficient in your work. I don’t view my computer, tablet, and phone as ‘things’, I view them as portals to my experience of the comms world and all my colleagues.

    Anyway, congratulations on your personal and professional developments!

  3. Hi Samantha, hope your return to work has gone well so far. That’s a good idea, thank you very much. Yes indeed – time is elusive and very precious! Rachel.

  4. Hi Wedge, thank you for your ideas, I’ve had such a variety and they are all really helpful, thank you. Rachel

  5. Hi Rachel, Since travel is out, and many of the courses I’ve attended seem to offer little more than case studies (which you seem to generate plenty of yourself) it seems like the only thing you need is time (now and in the future). Delegation and leveraging your personal and professional team is going to be increasingly critical as you transition into the next phase.

    So with ~$750 I would invest in training on time management, team management and delegation, time with a leadership coach (specifically focusing on women leaders), or tracking down Sheryl Sandberg’s number.

    Congratulations on your news and I appreciate the valuable community and resource you’ve created at


  6. Thank you very much for your comment Rachael, lots to think about there. Appreciate your congratulations, thank you, Rachel

  7. Rachel says:

    I was fortunate enough to receive £500 to invest in my career as a prize a couple of years ago. I was a student at the time and to be honest spending that amount of money was a little daunting, I was also busy preparing to move for my placement year. The money sat in my bank for a year until I used it to replace a broken laptop – perhaps not the most exciting use, but an investment I relied upon for my final year of university!

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