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Career Expert Interview: Facilities at a Large Corporation

There are just some jobs that you may not have ever considered for yourself, or you may not have ever heard of. For instance, working in facilitates at a large corporation likely has never crossed your mind, now has it? If it hasn’t, there are so many reasons why it should be something you look into.

I chatted with someone who worked in facilitates at a global corporation in her twenties, and it led her to where she is today. This is what she had to say.

Career Expert Interview: Facilities at a Large Corporation

I am sure a lot of people would not even think of looking into working in facilities at a major corporation! Could you give a little clarity as to what the job entails?

Exactly! Landing this job was something I never expected out of my early twenties, but I’m so happy things worked out the way they did. I began as a conference center assistant, preparing conference rooms for incoming meetings, setting up projectors, rearranging conference room furniture, and cleaning up a lot of leftover catering. Though it doesn’t sound glamorous, I would argue this is the best place to start if you’re brand new to the corporate world like I was.

Once my manager left the company I had to step up and cover her responsibilities, which meant coordinating catering for multiple meetings a day, working directly with colleagues to map out logistical plans for their events, scheduling time with rest of the facilities team to assist with conference room configuration changes.

After our company went through a merger, I was asked to revise and re-write our ‘front of house’ facilities working model since we were combining two reception teams with very different procedures and philosophies. This was a major opportunity that put me in front of leadership and helped position me to land a conference center management position for the newly combined office shortly after.

Would you recommend a job in facilities to a millennial, especially someone who is just starting out in his or her career?

Yes! A thousand times, yes. Look for facilities positions in companies that interest you, and see where you can start. This way, you get to see all sides of the company from a behind the scene’s perspective, make connections with a vast array of colleagues, and strategically build your personal brand as a resourceful and reliable colleague. It’s a great way to learn your company and get the chance to be inspired by other areas of work you’d like to dive into.

What do you think the biggest misconception of working in facilities for a major corporation is?

That you can’t move up. I had this misconception when I first started, and was proven wrong over and over. I didn’t realize how high-up facilities leadership goes. Our company has global facilities leads who report up to our C-Suite.

If you want to move up in facilities roles, don’t get too comfortable in your specific responsibilities. Instead, expect the person above you to be looking for other jobs, and be ready to take on their work if they do end up leaving the company. This will position you to be a top contender when it comes time to fill that role.

What do you think people would be surprised to find out about the job?

As a facilities colleague, everyone gets to know your name and they come to rely heavily on you. I mentioned building your personal brand before, and this is exactly where this comes in. If you’re in a facilities role, you have the opportunity to show a wide range of colleagues what you are good at and the potential you have to grow.

Demonstrating excellent dedication to your facilities role will be noticed and considered when other teams in the company are looking to hire internally. At my company, our business leaders are keen to recognize potential and invest time to grow talent from within, which is how I moved up to a management role in facilities and then eventually into a Marketing role.

What was the biggest learning experience you had?

It took me a while, but once I really started understanding and finding the value in the work my company does, my mindset of working in a corporate setting changed for the better. I had gotten my bachelor’s degree in social work, so in my mind, Corporate America was not an ideal place for me to start my career.

In time, I started recognizing the good that my company does for our clients and discovered ways to get involved in efforts like inclusion and diversity work streams as well as volunteer opportunities with local parks and educational programs for high school students in the community. This helped satisfy my need to give back, and strengthened my dedication to producing great work for my company.

What was the best part of the job?

The best part of the job was helping to execute internal and client events and getting to see my coordination efforts come to life as our colleagues and clients enjoyed themselves. It was well worth the late hours cleaning up and getting our office back in order, knowing that my team played a vital role in the event’s success. These long hours also gave me a chance to bond with the rest of my facilities colleagues, and I have gained many lasting friendships and camaraderie. We became a tight-knit team which strengthened our day-to-day performance.

What piece of advice do you have for someone currently looking for a job, who may not have thought of facilities as a career choice?

I had a really tough time finding a job after college and relocating to NYC. If you aren’t finding success applying directly to jobs, find a good temp agency (or two!) and let them help you build your resume and circulate it to their contacts.

They will have strong connections with companies that will help you get your foot in the door, and then you may even have the opportunity to get hired full-time. It’s all about making impressions and putting yourself out there to prove that a company needs your talent.

Is it a job that you would recommend?

Absolutely! I believe starting out in a facilities role helped strengthen my character and created a solid foundation on which to build my future career.

Any last thoughts/stories you want to share?

If you’re already working in a corporate role, be nice to the person cleaning up your catering – they’re working hard to contribute to the overall success to your company!

If you have any questions about working in facilities at a large corporation, leave them below! 

About the Author

Michelle Ioannou

Michelle graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelors of Arts '13 and a Master of Arts '14. She's currently working in corporate America with a side of freelance writing. She wants you to learn from her experiences and mistakes so your 20s can be your best decade. When she's not working, she's likely planning her escape to a tropical island.