By Taylor Sinclair
Anne Stanley started as an intern at Engage PR in July 2015, after graduating from Chico State with a PR option journalism degree. She is now a full-time, associate account executive, averaging 40 hours a week. Her day-to-day duties range from social media management to media and analyst outreach, ghostwriting and reporting.
Stanley thinks Chico State’s Department of Journalism and Public Relations helped prepare her for her real-life work experience. During her time at Chico State, Stanley worked as an account executive for Tehama Group Communications.
“It’s one thing to learn how to compose and conduct a research study in a class, but it’s another thing to conduct real research for a real client that is going to be used to drive real results,” Stanley said.
Prepared to graduate in spring of 2015, Stanley began her job search in December. The job hunt was time consuming and frustrating at times, with Stanley applying to PR agencies in the Bay Area, Sacramento, Seattle and Portland.
When it came time for interviews, Stanley found that the hardest part was being able to tell potential future employers what she could bring to the table.
“As a recent grad, you might not feel like you have much to offer in the way of experience, but you have to find a way to make yourself stand out,” Stanley said.
After graduating, Stanley moved to Oakland, where Engage PR is located. Stanley was lucky enough to have family in the area to stay with while she saved up money for her own place. She now lives in Alameda, a city with a small-town feel.
“The great thing about the Bay Area is that you don’t really have to change your lifestyle. There’s something here for everyone,” Stanley said.
Engage PR focuses on the technology industry. For Stanley, this was a big learning curve. Part of her job is getting to know not only their clients but their technologies as well.
“It also means that we have to educate media about our clients and why what they do is important,” Stanley said. “I really enjoy that challenge."
When Stanley, was a student at Chico State, she attended school full time and had both an on-campus job and a part-time job bartending. In the midst of all this, she still found time to complete internships. When she started her job at Engage PR, she was not used to sitting in one spot for more than eight hours a day.
“The biggest adjustment for me was learning how not to get stir crazy sitting in front of a screen in an office five days a week,” Stanley said. “Also, learning how to meet people outside of work and building a new network of peers is never easy.”
Engage PR is a small agency, giving Stanley the opportunity to interact more with clients and projects that may have not been available to her in a larger agency. She hopes to continue to expand her experience at Engage PR but is not opposed to other opportunities.
She has learned that sometimes clients can be difficult to work with.
“Not every client is going to be your best friend,” she said. “It’s difficult at times to take feelings out of the equation and do your job.”
Creating a work and personal life balance is very important to Stanley. Tying up loose ends before the end of the work day is a part of her routine, although she does allow herself to check emails from home and on the weekends. In case of emergencies, her team knows the best ways to reach her outside the office.
“Making home a relatively ‘work free’ zone is key for me to relax and have a life outside of the office,” Stanley said.
In her free time, Stanley enjoys going to the local farmers market, visiting watering holes, getting brunch or having dinner with family.
Stanley thinks graduating students shouldn’t be afraid to look outside of their comfort zone when applying for jobs. She also advises to not turn down interviews. The more practice the better.
“Your willingness to learn and desire to be a contributing member of a team will get you farther than you may think,” Stanley said.