Photo caption: From left, Yvonne Mitchell stands with Katie Brennan in Brennan’s office at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital. Brennan’s hard work as an intern with Adventist Midwest Health led to her hiring as a human resources recruiter at the hospital.
Bolingbrook – Though the first blooms of spring are just arriving, summer is just around the corner. That means job-hungry college students and graduates will soon arrive home in droves.
Those wondering what to do in this still tight job market would be wise to listen to Katie Brennan’s tale. The Frankfort woman’s drive to learn and willingness to tackle any task put before her helped her to navigate a difficult job market and land at just the job she sought.
When Brennan graduated from the University of Iowa in May of last year, the job prospects she and her fellow graduates faced remained bleak. A communications studies major, Brennan said she and her friends had applied to many, many companies over the months leading up to graduation.
“You would apply and you wouldn’t hear anything back,” Brennan said.
Upon graduation, she first fell back on a nanny job she held during college and then moved on to working in fitness. But it wasn’t work she wanted to do. Her father encouraged her to look to health care, an industry with a lot of growth potential.
“When I started college, I had an interest in human resources,” Brennan said. “I really didn’t know how to get into it.”
Brennan’s father encouraged her to write letters directly to the chief executive officers of some of the area’s largest hospitals, seeking work in administration and human resources. One of her letters ended up on the desk of Adventist Hinsdale Hospital Chief Executive Officer Michael J. Goebel.
Intrigued by Brennan’s initiative, Goebel passed her letter on to human resources. It wasn’t long before Brennan received a call from the department, asking her to come in for an interview for an internship, albeit an unpaid position.
Hoping the unpaid internship might lead to better things, Brennan came in, went through the interview process, and was told that there were two others also inquiring, though she seemed a good fit. Shortly thereafter, she received another call, congratulating her on her new internship.
Brennan spent months with Adventist Midwest Health job shadowing and learning whatever human resources work the region’s four hospitals trained her to do: clerical work, sitting in on important meetings, entering data into computers, arranging company functions and leadership events.
“One of the things that impressed me was that, everywhere I was going, Katie was there as well,” said Yvonne Mitchell, regional recruitment manager with Adventist Midwest Health. “She was either offering to help or taking on any opportunity she could in order to learn.”
This past February, Brennan started the interview process for an open human resources recruiter role at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital. She did her homework and studied potential questions that might come up during her interviews. Where Brennan excelled was in her motivation and in her desire to learn. In all the time she’d known Brennan, Mitchell said, she’d never said no to any task, had never complained when asked to finish something.
“What I was listening for was a passion, a desire to learn,” Mitchell said. “That’s all I’ve seen from Katie.”
Brennan was hired Feb. 25. Today, she takes care of recruitment of all clinical and non-clinical staff at the hospital.
“The 12 weeks Katie was an intern was like a 12-week interview,” said Jerry Staley, human resources director at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital. “Despite her lack of experience, she impressed me with the way she conducted herself during the internship.
“I’m thrilled to give her the opportunity,” Staley added. “Everybody who worked with Katie during her internship period was a huge supporter of her, as well.”
Looking back on the road she traveled before being hired, Brennan knows she should have taken on more internship opportunities in college, she said. She suggests college students wanting a job in a particular field do the same while they’re still in school.
For others looking for work, she encourages them to take on any available opportunity to showcase their skills and to learn.
“Volunteer, land an internship where you can,” she said. “If you can manage to, work part-time and do something at night.”
Up to the point she was hired, Brennan’s father had remained adamant about her continuing her education and seeking more training. When she came home the day she was hired, she told her father she had some bad news. He assumed she hadn’t gotten the job.
Not at all, she said.
“I told him, ‘You won’t be able to bother me anymore about not having a job,’” Brennan said.
She still has a photo of his reaction on her smartphone.
Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit www.keepingyouwell.com.
Physicians on the medical staff of Adventist Midwest Health Hospitals are independent contractors, and are not agents of the hospitals.
Media contact: Chris LaFortune, public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health, firstname.lastname@example.org; (630) 856-2354