By Silvana Molinas
For this week’s #MySpartanSuccess story, I interview recent St. Thomas Aquinas College alum Jillian Colleluore about her first job after college, moving to the other side of the country, how her past internships have helped her career so far, and just enjoying the ride while you can.
Where do you work now?
I work for Allegis Global Solutions. We are a workforce management solutions company, so we offer various services like managed service providers, recruitment process outsourcing, data analytics, etc. Right now, I work under our managed service providers aspect of it. My client is actually Starbucks. On my team, we manage the process of hiring on the contingent worker. We have both staff augmentation and services procurement. Staff augmentation is the contingent workforce that I just told you about. Services procurement is kind of our project-based work where, say, if they are updating their app, we would help them get an app-developer and we would work with the hiring manager and the vendors to get the resources they need whether on or off-site and help negotiate how expensive it’s going to be and facilitate that process.
When did you graduate and what was your major?
I graduated in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Management.
How did you hear about this current job?
My story is kind of interesting, because I was interviewing for another organization and it was down to two people. They had just called me saying they were going to go with the other candidate, when I received a message on LinkedIn from one of the recruiters here. He saw my LinkedIn profile and wanted me to look at an opportunity at Allegis and I thought I would at least take a look at it, and it ended up working out.
So, what was the interview process like for this job?
After he had messaged me, we set up a phone interview with just him and I, where he explained the roles he had open. After that, we set up a phone screening with my current manager. Following that, we had an in-person interview. My manager works up in Seattle at the Starbucks headquarters, so he had to fly down from Arizona. From there, they hired me, so the process wasn’t too bad.
You just mentioned that you’re located in Arizona now. What was moving to Arizona like? You’re from Rockland County, right?
Yes, I’m from Stony Point, NY. I commuted all four years to STAC and when I was about to graduate, I was ready to move somewhere else. My boyfriend is stationed here in Arizona – he’s in the Air Force – so it just felt like the right time to move. More companies in Arizona were calling me back versus in New York, so it was kind of looking like I should move anyway. I ended up moving and I absolutely love it.
Where in Arizona are you?
I’m right outside of Phoenix.
How do you like living there?
Oh, I absolutely love it! I’m sitting outside looking at a palm tree in 80-degree weather, so I can’t complain.
Did you find the job before your graduation?
No. Before graduation, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to move yet, so I was looking in both New York and Arizona. I kept applying. It was frustrating to apply to ten jobs and only hear back from one, but it ended up working out. I received my offer in July and started the job in August.
Did you have any internships before this job and how useful was that internship in getting this position or preparing you for actually working?
I had an internship right down the street from STAC, at Instrumentation Laboratory. I worked as an HR Intern during the summer before my senior year. After I graduated, they called me asking if I could cover for the HR Coordinator before I moved away. I was happy to help out. I gained valuable experience in this role as I was in a corporate environment where I actually did everything myself. I learned about business processes and how things worked in the classroom, but I hadn’t had the opportunity to have that hands-on experience, and I’m a hands-on learner. So even now, my manager tells me how to do something and I say, “Wait, can you show me how?”, because that’s how I learn best.
I know you also worked in the HR department at STAC, right?
Yes, I did! I worked there as well and I still keep in contact with everybody there.
And was that a helpful experience?
It was helpful. I feel like every hands-on experience I had and every opportunity was completely helpful because I saw things from different perspectives. Working in HR in academia is different from the world I work in now, but it’s still helpful to see the little differences between workplaces and what it’s like to work somewhere else.
Did Career Development or STAC help you in anyway achieve the goals you wanted to achieve?
Absolutely! Career Development actually got me my internship. I showed Maureen Mulhern [the Director of Career Development at STAC] my resume and I told Maureen that I was trying to find an internship. She thought of me when Instrumentation reached out to her because my manager at Instrumentation Laboratory was a STAC alum herself, so she would always reach out to STAC to try and get interns. Since I had just talked to Maureen, she knew I was interested in human resources, and Maureen immediately told me to apply for the position.
Yeah, so she was kind of the one who got me the job.
That’s great! So, what’s your favorite part of your job right now?
Right now, we’re working on a supplier capability matrix, which senior executive leadership is involved with and as someone in an entry-level position, being able to work on a project that executive leadership is seeing is awesome.It’s kind of my favorite part right now because I’m learning a lot more about the business in different ways than I did before.
So do you often get a chance to work with executive leadership?
My company is very unique. We’re very people-oriented. I sit in a hub location, so all our executive leadership tries to come down, maybe once a quarter if they have the opportunity to. What’s great here is that you can walk up to the CEO and introduce yourself. Everybody is so friendly; they stop what they’re doing to talk to you, they remember your name, and I feel like there aren’t many companies where you can walk up to senior leadership and get to know them.
What was the biggest adjustment for you going from college into the working world?
I think the biggest adjustment is probably working 8-5, nonstop. I’m learning to adjust to doing things all day long without a break and learning more about doing my job. I’m in a very interesting industry that not a lot of people are in, so it was kind of difficult to try and learn all the different terminology and vendor management systems. I asked so many questions and I still constantly ask questions.
Are you still learning everyday?
Oh definitely. I’m still learning everyday, along with my managers. For everybody, there’s always something new to learn everyday. You think you know it, and then somebody comes to you with a new question and you realize there’s still more to learn.
When you were in college, obviously there are things you know now that you didn’t know then. What are some things you wish you had known in college that you know now?
I feel like STAC really does prepare you for life after college. Because of my internship experience, I’ve learned to manage my time wisely and stick to deadlines, but I think what I should’ve learned is how to just take one thing at a time. It’s all going to working out eventually, you just have to do one thing at a time. It’s like when you’re in college, stressed about multiple midterms and papers, you have to just focus on one thing. That’s never going to change.
So, are you happy with the path you’ve taken so far?
Honestly, I wouldn’t change anything. I know that sounds super cliche, but because I got super involved in college, I was able to connect with Maureen Mulhern, get my internship, and have all the other experiences I’ve had. I was part of the IACBE team at STAC and that also helped me a lot. It helped me get out of my shell and learn how to work under pressure. I was part of PRIME too, and in PRIME you can be under stressful situations and you have to talk to big groups. I think college really helped me get out of my shell, learn to public speak, and to be comfortable taking initiative when I needed to.
So to close this little interview, I want to know if you could give any students some advice about life after college, what would it be?
Just enjoy it while you’re still there. It goes by super quick and I know everybody says that, but it’s true. Before you know it you will find a job. It might not happen tomorrow, but trust me, eventually, you’ll find what you’re looking for.