Jillian Leviton is a Campus Recruiter at NBC Universal and directly recruits for the NBC News and MSNBC sector of the company. Leviton is a graduate of George Washington University and has previously worked at the PageGroup as a recruiter before she joined NBCUniversal. Leviton discusses her tips for undergraduates and current college seniors about the internship program at NBC and gives her insight on the job search!
Courtesy of Jillian Leviton
How many applications do you receive a semester for the internship program?
We get at least 10,000 but for summer it might go up to 20,000. But specifically I support NBC News and MSNBC internships so that’s mostly production but then it’s a PR internship, marketing internship, it’s an internship supporting the Today Show and Nightly News. So under that specific umbrella we probably have close to 4,000 or 5,000 for the summer and we have about 110 spots.
What specific qualities do recruiters like yourself look for in candidates?
We look for on campus involvement, almost most of our recruiters would say to have that experience with your school television, school newspaper or certain organizations and clubs like PR Women in Media. I would say it would be great to that people get prior internships, especially our local studios if you’re close to the city so whether it’s at another media company or its just working in PR role for a law firm, whatever it is that you can get. The skills section in your resume is a must have with the Microsoft Suite if you will and then in news we look for good writers.
Do you guys look for just specific internships someone should have when they apply for an internship at NBC?
It depends on the roles because we have so many different types. If your dream job is to work in casting or development it would be great if you had prior internship work experience because NBC is such a big company I tell people it’s not really the place to figure yourself out or say you’re open to anything. It’s really the place where we have people who say they want to work in media or work in PR or production. Just give us the options and we’ll help you figure it out from there. Half the internships you’re going to love half you’re going to hate so you can figure it out once you’re in the building. We want the people that want to do the specific job that we have.
Are prior entertainment internships a must to get an internship at NBC or to get noticed?
I wouldn’t say it’s a must, we pretty much evaluate on campus experience, I equivilate internships to on campus club involvement, leadership opportunities so if that’s what you want to do just make sure you’re getting yourself involved. You don’t have to work at one of our competitors to get a job here. And entertainment is not the only word I would use. NBC is huge we have our entertainment, sports, we also have NBC Sports, we have Olympics jobs and internships. We have internships with Today Show with NBC News, MSNBC and obviously Jimmy Fallon, SNL so depending on what area you want to go into yes you definitely need experience in it but not necessarily internship. Work at your local news station, that’s fine too!
How do you work with the other recruiters who do the other sections of the recruitment for the internship program?
So if someone reaches out to me and says, “Hey, I’d like to intern for Jimmy Fallon” or anything outside of news I just send it to a list of all the recruiters on my team saying “Hey, this person reached out just forwarding along their resume in their areas of interest”. So it always helps when someone says their areas of interest or what specific job they applied to because I can just route it directly, otherwise I’ll just share it.
What are the necessary steps an undergraduate needs to take in order to get themselves noticed at NBC for an internship?
I already highlighted most of the important resume steps but if NBC is coming to your campus, follow us on social media where we’ll be tweeting or instagramming about where we’re going. Make a presence while we’re there in person, we’re not at every campus so it’s not necessarily applicable to everyone make sure you come out and introduce yourself. Go that extra mile and extra step. Having that one page resume with your involvements. Use career services, if your resume is half white and you’re not really selling yourself, fill it up! I tell people the less amount of white space the better. Know about the media industry too I would say is the last piece. Do your research if you’re not on certain email blasts whether it’s synopsis or whatever the case may be start to learn the trade because once you get an interview, great, but what’s gonna make you stand out is knowing our executives, knowing what’s going on in the news, that’s most important.
What do you believe is the most important aspect of your job as an internship recruiter?
The most important aspect I would say is getting that interns that I work with hired in full time jobs. We really invest a lot of time and money and energy into our interns and the goal of our internship program is to have our current interns be the first that gets considered for a job so that’s definitely the most important aspect of my job. My favorite thing about my job is once you’re in the building I get to know you, to help develop you, we put on a lot of fun, especially during our summer program because no one needs to go to class half way through the day. We do a lot of fun speaker series and panels and workshops and resume advice. We get Andy Cohen to come speak to the interns so there’s a lot of fun programming elements that I like to do.
What can graduating seniors who have been a part of of the campus to career program do to improve their chances of getting a full time jobs at NBC?
We have a performance review and evaluation going on but I think it’s making sure that you’re having that open dialogue with your supervisor from week 1, month 1, month 2 and it’s not just at the end of your internship it’s getting to April, May time and you’re saying “oh no, now I need to pick up and step up my game to get a job” so I think making sure your performing as best as you can. Like I said, we work really close with the graduating seniors to convert them so having the dialogue with me, your recruiter and making sure that as I introduce you to people that you’re taking advantage of that and networking the right way. So I would say just being on top of it and being informed. Not leaving it to the last minute also is huge.
What about graduating seniors like myself who were not a part of the NBC campus to career program but know someone like you? What could we do try and get ourselves noticed for a job or considered for a full time job at NBC?
I think it’s about networking and taking advantage of opportunities like this, reaching out to people a first time, maybe a second time if they don’t answer. Connecting with people on LinkedIn specifically work in the field that you want a job in that can give you information and be on their radar when a job does open up in the next couple of weeks. It’s about building your professional brand, doing those informational interviews, just chatting with people and also bearing in mind how many other thousands or tens of thousands of people are graduating right now in May so don’t let that discourage you. Keep pushing, NBC is a huge company so whether it’s me that you have an in with or whoever just use those to your advantage. It’s about figuring out how to navigate finding who recruits for jobs.
What is your advice for college students who might be hesitant to apply to NBC due to the sheer volume of applications you get sent and just the name recognition?
On the internship side, don’t get discouraged. Fall and spring if you’re able to balance a 20 hour internship a week go for it, apply. and make sure that your resume is strong. I really do look at every application during the fall and the spring, summer we just don’t because it’s too many applicants.
For those that are graduating, I would say apply about 6 weeks before your graduation date. That’s the best time, that’s the earliest time to start applying. Any time earlier than that is too early, we just don’t work how finance companies work and consulting companies that give offers 2 semesters in advance. It’s just not how media works. So if you know you’re going to do a vacation after graduation keep waiting until 6 weeks before you want to start working and that’ll give you enough time to really start to apply.