How I Started Standing: Ashley Pitlyk

 

This may be my “How I Started Standing” post, but perhaps a more fitting title would be “The Tale of the Internships.” It all goes back to my first public relations course my sophomore year of college. If there was one thing my professor drilled into my head, it was that I needed to have at least three internships on my resume if I wanted to secure a job after graduation.

I definitely took my professor’s advice to heart. By the time I graduated from Saint Louis University in 2010, I had four internships under my belt and was ready to embark on my fifth at Fleishman-Hillard. The connections I made at Fleishman were invaluable. However, as my internship began to wind down and the economy continued to look bleak, I decided to return to my alma mater to begin graduate school in the fall.

I was fortunate enough to receive a graduate assistantship from SLU, where I worked for the university’s department of marketing and communications while simultaneously taking classes.  My funding only lasted during the school year, though, so I took a sixth internship at Black Twig Communications in the summer of 2011 to help pay the bills.

When I returned to SLU in August, time seemed to fly. Before I knew it, I was frantically updating cover letters and sending out resumes. My phone was by no means ringing off the hook, though. I started getting nervous about paying the bills again, so I decided to apply for my seventh internship at Standing Partnership. Standing had been on my radar for some time. I came across the name when I was a junior at SLU, reviewing the communication department’s listing of internship programs. Based on what I had read on Standing’s website, blog and Twitter feed, it seemed like an organization with a really positive work culture. My positive opinion increased when I met the team in person.    

Now, I wouldn’t say I usually enjoy job interviews, but as I left my interview with Standing’s internship hiring team I was strangely excited. I loved everything about the interview. I loved the people I met, the clients they had, the diverse work opportunities available – it seemed like such a great fit. A few weeks later, I found out that I got the internship. I was thrilled! I was even more thrilled a few weeks after that when I got the call that Standing’s business was growing, and I’d been invited to join the team as an associate. Of course, I said yes.

You might say I’m the Cinderella story of internships. However, I’d say my experience was more of a Goldilocks tale. One of the great things about interning at multiple organizations was that I was able to try different things and learn what I liked and what I disliked. I have worked for really small companies with a staff of five people to one of the largest PR agencies in the world. For me, Standing was just right.

So for any recent college grads who may still be struggling to find a job in this economy, my advice to you is don’t blow off the internship opportunities. It may not be what you imagined you’d be doing right after college, but it’s an opportunity to learn what kind of organization you really want to work for while simultaneously beefing up your resume. And who knows. Maybe you’ll even find your fairy tale job offer like I did.

If you are interested in an internship opportunity at Standing, click here. We are always looking for great interns to complement our staff. 

 

  • Mihaela Grad

    Ashley,

    We are happy that your tenacity and focus paid off and you are now part of the Standing team! Thank you for sharing your story. It shows that fairy tale endings are often the result of hard work and solid character. I hope your example inspires other college students and recent graduates.

  • Ashley Pitlyk

    Thanks, Mihaela! It’s funny how things tend to work themselves out in the end. I’ve only been at Standing a little over a month and it already feels like home.

  • Chris Uithoven

    Ashley—welcome to Standing! Your persistance and talent is a great addition to our team.  My journey to Standing was equally circuitous, so I really enjoyed your story.

  • Ashlyn Brewer

    Ashley—I’m so proud to have you as a colleague.

    I’m impressed with your willingness to always be learning, and seek out opportunities to build your network and skill set through internships.  It’s clearly paid off—you’ve already hit the ground running here at Standing!

  • Michelle Foster

    Ashley, I was really fortunate to have you as my intern at Trans States so I am definitely glad you took all those internship opportunities!

    Congratulations on your new job!

  • Ashley Pitlyk

    Thanks, Michelle! Trans States gave me some great experience in internal communications, and helped open the doors to several opportunities down the line. My boss at Trans States was pretty cool, too.

  • Jessica Hartman

    So glad to have you on our team, Ashley. It’s hard to believe you’ve only been here for a short time because you’ve already jumped right in and hit the ground running!

  • Christi Dixon

    I love that your path led you here; we’re glad to have you as a fulltime member of the team!