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    Working Mum’s Blog LT August 2014

    September 2nd, 2014
    workingmum

    Returning to work after my Mat Leave was a scary prospect but I am surprised to say that it has been exhilarating so far!

    It’s been a month since I swapped my baby bag for my Louis V Neverfull (which is now always full: BlackBerry, wipes, business cards, baby biscuit crumbs, dummies) and, while it is hard to say goodbye to my daughter in the mornings, it’s equally as thrilling to have a largely uninterrupted coffee, and talk to grown-ups on a regular basis.

    NBCU have been great – I’m now working flexible hours, and doing a day from home which both make the inevitable juggling act much easier. So far, the balance is working and the team have been very supportive, to the point that my lovely colleagues have allowed me to bore them with the obligatory iPhone photo collection!

    I hope that this flexibility and willingness to support working mothers is true across the board, and the statistics certainly seem to be positive: a study by the Office for National Statistics found that the number of women with dependent children in work, has leapt my almost a fifth since the mid-1990’s.

    So, one month in, and I’m already creating a recruitment toolkit and masterminding training for some hiring managers. I’ve also met some really interesting candidates, getting back into interviewing at a run. Company drinks at The Ivy were a great re-introduction to the company’s social scene. I entered a staff competition to win a trip to Universal Orlando, trying out or brand new internal social network, and am going to a staff screening of The Purge. So far the only big downside has been avoiding the free Thursday ice-cream (mission to lose baby weight severely tested by the salted caramel!)

    My tips for coming going back into work:

    • Talk to your employer: My manager was helpful and open when I approached her, and together we worked on a solution that worked for me, and my job. I also spent time talking to HR, who were transparent about how the business could help, and what support I was entitled to.
    • Plan a work schedule: I work a day from home, which means there are certain things I can’t do. Rather than weighing me down, this has forced me to become more efficient. I make sure that my meetings are scheduled on certain days of the week, phone calls on others, which means that when I work from home I use that time for things that need breathing space and quiet.
    • Be efficient and organised: Spend the last few minutes at work prepping for the next morning, as once I get home I won’t have time to sort it out. When I arrive back at my desk the next day, it all looks sane and coherent.
    • Reality check: Plans can flex and change. Periodically look at your arrangements and how they’re working for you, your family and your job. If there are issues, you can raise them,

    I can genuinely say that, although I had a great time on maternity leave, I’m immensely happy to be back at work and hope to be a great role model for the Mini-Me as she grows (or at least nab a few Barbie DVDs to bring home from work!)

    Working Mum, signing off x

    The Future Leaders Programme at NBCUniversal

    September 1st, 2014
    flpblog

    About a year ago, Joe Cooke, a current Future Leaders Programme participant, successfully passed the interview process and assessment centre to begin his FLP adventure in January 2014. Here he tells us more about his experience so far.

    “What really stood out was the exposure to senior leaders from the beginning of the programme. You are in a privileged position with unparalleled access to senior staff. Every executive contacted is happy to take the time to speak with you – these include SVPs and Presidents of the business. In this major career step, having open access to senior management and their experiences is invaluable.”

    One of the most challenging projects Joe has worked on was at the end of his first month, where he reviewed the strategy and global trends for the formats business. “There was an immense amount of information to cover as well as trying to get to grips with data systems. The key was to see through all the noise and grapple with the core, underlying issues”.

    As a big fan of the latest TV productions, Joe believes that “the best thing about NBCUniversal is the access to content – both Film and Television. We have a 64 seat 3D Cinema on site with a screen club allowing all employees to watch Universal content the week it airs. And also receive free DVDs of all new physical releases.” His next project will be to review NBCUniversal’s presence on YouTube and how the business can enhance and develop this area. Joe’s journey at NBCUniversal will continue with rotations in different departments and will hopefully culminate in him being taken into a Manager role at the end of the programme next year.

    Does the Future Leaders Programme sound like something you, or someone you know, might be interested in exploring? If so, please visit http://nbcuflp.com because applications for FLP 2015 are now open.

    Are You Using LinkedIn To Its Full Potential?

    August 14th, 2014
    li

    Although Facebook still dominates the social media world, for professionals it is LinkedIn that should be getting more of our attention. LinkedIn is an important networking tool and a way to help secure your next job – it’s a fact for us, because here at NBCUniversal International, the Talent Acquisition team uses LinkedIn as a key tool to find talent in the market.

    Earlier this year LinkedIn announced it had hit 300 million users worldwide. LinkedIn has changed the recruitment landscape for us, and there’s nothing better than finding someone online, and then seeing them succeeding in our business.

    So, are you using LinkedIn to its full potential? To help you understand what we look for, here are a few Top Tips for building and maximising your profile.

    • A photo is great – This adds credibility to your profile and increases the chance that someone will click through to view your page. Apparently, people are seven times more likely to take a look if they can see who you are up front.
    • Answer 3 key questions concisely – Make sure it is clear who you are, what you do and who you do it for. Keep information brief and factual.
    • Show off your work – Whether text, images or videos, it is worth adding samples of your work to your LinkedIn page to make your profile more interactive and engaging. It also gives people a chance to see what you are about upfront.
    • Ask for written recommendations – Don’t be afraid to ask former colleagues to endorse your skills and experience. Recommendations help set you apart from others, give a snapshot of who you are and again give your profile a bit of a credibility boost.
    • Join groups and follow industry experts – This is a great way to increase your LinkedIn network and keep up to date on certain companies and industries. It will also help keep you in the loop about interesting jobs that are coming up in your sector.
    • Make contact information visible – Only direct connections have automatic access to your contact details on LinkedIn. Having an email address visible on your profile will allow others to get in touch directly.
    • Personalise connection messages – Take time to personalise your connection messages as it is a great way to differentiate yourself. Whether it is highlighting a shared connection or shared group on LinkedIn or whether you have met in person before, pointing out the link increases the chance of a prompt and personalised response.
    • Keep active – Finally, make use of all the tools available to keep your profile up to date. The more you participate the more likely you are to attract interest and raise your profile.

    Meeting us for an interview?

    July 30th, 2014
    csg

    Meeting us for an interview at Central Saint Giles? Here are our top tips!

    Working in recruitment, your blogger reads a lot of tips, best practice and handy hints to do well at interview. All of which are very useful, but fairly general, and I know that interviewing with different companies can be a very different experience.

    Thus, please find below a tailored guide for how to survive an interview at NBCUniversal International, if you’re visiting at Central Saint Giles. Hint: it’s not the people who are scary, it’s the lifts!

    • We are the big orange and green building that looks like lego. Yes, it is a pretty cool office.
    • Our postcode is WC2H 8NU. But not on google maps, for some reason. To get straight to the front door, please use WC2H 8AG. We don’t know why…
    • If you are visiting us between 8.30am and 10am, or at lunchtime, please arrive a good ten minutes early. It’s like Grand Central Station here! Lots of media bods bustling around.
    • Ah yes, the lifts. Don’t go into the lifts. First, find the buttons outside the lifts. Press the floor you want to go to (probably 3), and the interface will direct you to the lift you need, most likely A through J. Easy, right?
    • Please don’t be afraid to ask for a tea (we have loads), coffee or other beverage.
    • Dress code? It depends. Generally we’d advise smart/casual (no tie needed), but do just double check with your contact to make sure.
    • Smile! Yes, it’s an interview but it’s not designed to be scary. People at NBCUI are lovely, and we want you to feel free to be yourself.

    From here, I can’t help you. But your HR contact will be able to – don’t be afraid to ask questions about who you will be meeting, what that specific person is looking for, what questions are likely to be asked, and more. They will tell you anything they can – we’re here to help.

    This is pretty specific advice, I know. But if you’re interviewing in any office, anywhere, it is definitely worth knowing the nearest station, what the building looks like, etc, rather than arriving in vaguely the right area with nothing but a hastily scribbled postcode to work from.

    Potter Mania Hits NBCUniversal

    July 18th, 2014
    hp2

    It’s been an exciting few weeks for Harry Potter fans, with JK Rowling’s release of a short story giving the first sneak peek into the wizarding world of the future since the end of the final book. For us here at NBCUniversal we are adding to the Harry Potter mania with the official opening of Universal Orlando Resort’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley to the public.

    Your blogger poses beautifully beside Potter himself!

    Your blogger poses beautifully beside Potter himself!

    As a Harry Potter fan for the past 17 years (yes, that’s when the first book came out!) I have been captivated with the launch of this theme park and new ride, with lots of internal publicity making my day to day less muggle and more magical. In our offices we’ve had golden galleons dropped on our desks (delicious chocolate) and our digital display screens, not too dissimilar to the moving portraits in Hogwarts, have been dominated with Harry Potter at our Orlando theme park. Whole walls in our kitchen areas have been covered with the image of Harry, Ron and Hermione advertising The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

    Wherever you are in our business, whatever your role, you are exposed to NBCUniversal content and unified by what we do. And what we do is amazingly diverse; theme parks are just one aspect of our offering. In addition to the resorts in Hollywood and LA we have two theme parks in Asia (Japan and Singapore) and Osaka is so popular that when it opened in 2001 it hosted 11 million guests in its first year.

    For the Harry Potter fans (who sadly never received their letter of acceptance to Hogwarts) here is a sample of what you can experience in our theme park:

    • The opportunity to board the Hogwarts Express at platform 9¾
    • Visiting Hogsmeade to sample the butterbeer in the Leaky Caldron
    • Stroll down Diagon Alley and select your wand (well, it will select you) at Ollivanders
    • Choose your animal sidekick at the Magical Menagerie
    • Have a chuckle at the Weasley’s joke shop
    • See if you can catch the golden snitch at Quality Quiditch
    • Take a 3D ride through Gringotts in The Escape from Gringotts!

    If you’re excited by our unique offering and want to join this charming (get it?!) organisation check out our latest opportunities at here or follow us on Twitter @NBCUGlobaljobs. From my experience, it’s an adventure you’ll want to take!

    Travels of a Talent Acquisition Manager – Part Two

    July 15th, 2014
    city

    Recently, your blogger shared with you some insight into relocating to (almost) the other side of the world and updated you on a little of what’s happening in this region.

    Since that report, I’ve had the opportunity to travel over to Beijing with NBUniversal, so thought I’d share some of my thoughts and findings from this, my very first visit to China.

    China is home to over 1.3 billion people. That’s almost 20% of the world’s population! And Beijing is the governmental and administrative hub of this vast country, which covers almost 10 million square kilometres.

    “There are nine million bicycles in Beijing”… as the song goes. Someone however forgot to mention the 3.5 million cars, and the 11 million people. Beijing is busy… It’s a frantic, buzzing, ever changing city, with a fascinating blend of old and new architecture.

    It’s exciting times in this region for NBCUniversal. Not only have our Theatrical team hired an MD to head up our growth plans in China (http://bit.ly/1qbUNFh) but Comcast also recently announced the acquisition of Freewheel, once again highlighting the firm’s desire to be on the cutting edge of developing media tech and multiscreen digital content delivery. Freewheel have a team of around 100 people in Beijing, and it was great to welcome them into the family on my visit there. For more information on this great new addition, take a look at the link below:

    freewheel-logo

    From a Talent Acqusition perspective, our growth means challenges. Whilst in Beijing I met with a large number of recruitment experts, all of whom highlighted the fact that the single largest barrier to growth faced by companies in China is the demand for local talent.

    There is fierce competition for top talent between multinationals looking to consolidate and/or grow in the region, and more and more up and coming Chinese firms who are experiencing rapid growth, many of which are looking to IPO in the near future.

    NBCUniversal is no different. In order to achieve our goals in this region we’re going to need bright, ambitious, local talent, individuals that benefit from knowing China, speaking the language, understanding the culture and customs, whilst at the same time being passionate about working for a global business that, for China certainly, could almost be described as being in “start-up” mode!

    But with our CNBC and NBC News Beijing bureaux, Freewheel, our new Theatrical offices and an ever growing presence in Shanghai, NBCUniversal is slowly but surely putting all the pieces in place.

    For now, this blogger is looking forward to returning to Beijing, and being part of the team that helps NBCUniversal make a real impact in this region.

    What we’re really looking for in our candidates…

    July 7th, 2014
    nbc

    Last week we were asked by Recruiter magazine to provide a quote on what we look for in our candidates at NBCUniversal.  It got us talking in the Talent Acquisition team about what skills are really important in our business and whether we’re hiring now for the future capability that we’ll need.  Are we being proactive enough in seeking out the skills we’re looking for in 5 years’ time, or are we simply putting bums on seats?  According to our top execs, there’s one specific skill that constitutes the vital ingredient of successful employees so I thought I’d share with you what it is and why it’s so important to NBCU.

    I’ve been asked by our business leaders to focus our recruitment efforts on hiring people who demonstrate entrepreneurialism.  Now what comes into your mind when you read the word ‘entrepreneurialism’?  Does it make you think of people who have left the corporate world to start up their own businesses or perhaps those people who spend their spare time making an investment or two on the side?  Or maybe it conjures up a mad professor-type who always come up with new products or gadgets, and for that matter, anyone who applies for Dragons’ Den?

    For us here at NBCU it could be any of those things, but we sum it up as having an innovative mindset or being able to spot business opportunities.  And why is that so important?  Well our industry is in a period of incredible change and we don’t just want to keep up with the competition, we need to make sure we’re ahead of the game to meet our long-term business goals.  We’re seeing other businesses merging and expanding.  Whole industries are converging.  Gone are the traditional ways of consuming entertainment and even the content providers are in a state of flux.  Who would’ve predicted that Netflix would be making some of the best quality programmes produced in recent years?

    With this backdrop in mind, it’s so important that everyone who works here is thinking about where the business can go next.  It’s not enough to stand still and bask in the glory of a successful show (although, of course, some basking is allowed when we nail a great series of Downton Abbey).

    Some people might say that they don’t work in roles that lend themselves to spotting opportunities for growing the business.  But we believe everyone can identify ways to improve things, whether it’s about growing the business, making things more efficient or increasing productivity.  Which means that everyone has a role to play.  So if you consider yourself to have some of that entrepreneurialism we’re looking for, make sure you’re checking out our latest jobs regularly at www.nbcuni-internationalcareers.com and following our latest updates on Twitter @NBCUglobaljobs.

    Moving On Up (Or Across)

    June 24th, 2014
    moving

    Interviewing candidates is a two-way street, and just as we are spending our time establishing whether a candidate is right for the business, we know that candidates are assessing whether joining NBCUniversal International is the right move for them. And there’s a whole bunch of criteria that will be used to determine whether they want to be part of the largest media company in the world: What’s the work/life balance like? How much do we pay? Is the hiring manager inspiring? And what is the opportunity for career advancement?

    We like the last question a lot, because as the largest media business in the world we are able to offer such a wealth of possibilities to people who want to develop and progress. That said, we’re not a business that likes to rest on its laurels, and we know that we can’t just rely on the fact that we are a massive, successful media company that hires great people to ensure that people are given the opportunities they yearn for to advance their careers.

    Are you a one trick pony?

    Are you a one trick pony?

    In fact, the Talent Acquisition team does a huge amount of work to promote cross-divisional internal hiring and promotions, encouraging the business to base decisions on potential, not purely experience. As a result we’ve had people move from home entertainment into TV production, from channel sales into corporate strategy, from marketing into tech innovation and from finance into sales.

    So why do we focus so heavily on promoting cross-divisional, cross-functional hiring? It helps us to keep hold of the best, most ambitious people in our business. It allows us to hire people who already know the inner workings of our company, with an established network, who know how to get stuff done and who fit well with the culture. It allows the people in our business to build a broader perspective on what makes NBCUniversal tick, providing a bench of future leaders with a real breadth of transferable skills.

    It’s not just about filling open jobs with internal candidates. It’s about people creating secondments into different departments or different countries. It’s about the Future Leaders Programme, a 2 year, 4 x 6 month rotation scheme. It’s about our Learning & Organizational Development team creating opportunities for people from different business units to work on keystone projects outside their day jobs. It’s about the people who work here doing their jobs, then asking what else they can do to move their careers and the business forward.

    If career advancement for you is linear and means working in an up or out culture, where a promotion means getting paid more to do more of what you’re already doing, then these career sites may help: careers.accenture.com or jobs.linklaters.com.

    If on the other hand, you feel like there could be more than one trick up your sleeve, you might just have come to the right place. Right, that’s enough blogging about talent acquisition, I’m off to start my new job in TV distribution.

    Travels of a Talent Acquisition Manager – Part One

    June 17th, 2014
    singapore-sunset-2

    Your blogger has had a rather interesting couple of months. For example, he is now blogging from the Southern Hemisphere not the rather colder Northern one.

    Having joined NBCUniversal International in February last year, I spent just over 12 months supporting our various businesses in London, recruiting some rather amazing and incredibly diverse talent, from Real Estate Directors and HR Specialists to Digital Gurus and Producers. And I really enjoyed it – this is a company staffed by passionate, exciting people who want to make a difference. I learned a great deal, and made new friends too.

    One of the reasons this particular blogger loves working for NBCUniversal International is the genuine desire the business has to move talent around the businesses, both geographically and between different divisions. And, when the opportunity arose to relocate and work in Singapore, the heart of our Asia Pacific ‘hub’, I jumped at the opportunity to move to a fascinating part of the world, and one of the business’ key growth areas.

    So having packed up (most of) my possessions and bid farewell and adieu to family and friends, I landed in Singapore four weeks ago. It’s hot.

    No, that’s not true. It’s very hot.

    A sovereign city-state and island country, Singapore is just less than 7000 miles from London, and only 85 miles north of the equator. It’s half the size of London and houses around five million people. And since it’s declaration of independence in 1963, Singapore has grown to become one of the world’s major commercial hubs.

    Its location is also the ideal point from which to reach NBCU’s ever developing markets including the likes of China, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Korea. I’ve heard it’s also the ideal point from which to reach the fabulous beaches of Bali, Thailand and Cambodia for a long weekend, but of course, this blogger isn’t interested in that at all….

    sing2NBCUniversal currently has around 500 people across Asia Pac, scattered across 13 countries. Key highlights include our business news channel, CNBC, resoundingly the number one brand in the region, and in collaboration with CCTV reaches 400 million homes in China alone.

    Our TV Group is currently celebrating the huge success of our E! Channel’s first ever International (outside the US) reality TV series, “It takes GUTZ to be a Gutierrez”, which has smashed ratings records in the Philippines, where the show is based. Looks like the Kardashians may have some competition…

    And, of course we can’t forget Universal Studios Theme Park here in Singapore, who last year welcomed its 10 millionth visitor since opening in 2010.

    sing3So far, in the first four weeks of your blogger’s new role, I have attended the launch party for “It takes Gutz….”, talked to students and career development experts at two of Singapore’s most illustrious education establishments, and am currently planning my first trips to Beijing (next week) and Tokyo. Admittedly, I may also be planning trips to the nearest beach resort for our next long weekend at the end of July, but who can blame me with this kind of view?

    If you want to know more about working in this amazing part of the world, take a look at our Focus on Asia page, http://nbcuni-internationalcareers.com/asia-pacific/

    One Google Glass At A Time…

    June 12th, 2014
    tech1

    I’d like to talk to you about technology. I know, I know, it’s taking over and you’ve heard enough and what does NBCUniversal know about tech anyway? I get it: you may not think of entertainment companies in the same terms as the Silicon Valley giants – and it’s true, we are very different beasts. But given that a third of people in the UK have a tablet in their household, and 65% have access to a smartphone, we’ve moved into a world that is looking a lot more digital than it did even five years ago, because those tablets and smartphones are the way our consumers are watching our content, from Downton Abbey to Lone Survivor, or CNBC. And then, they’ll be talking about it on Twitter, obviously.

    So here at NBCUniversal International, we aren’t bracing for technology, we’re embracing it. Our content flies to consumers via the Internet, wireless, video-on-demand, electronic sell-through, interactive television and so much more. Our marketing teams are looking at apps and augmented reality. But perhaps most excitingly, we have set up Media Labs, a technology division of NBCUniversal dedicated to driving a collaborative culture across all areas of the business.

    Located in London, New York and Los Angeles, Media Labs focus on all different kinds of technologies to understand how they affect our consumers and audiences – wearables, connected cars, new devices that create the expectation of any content, anytime, anywhere.

    The obvious commitment to re-imagining traditional media makes NBCUniversal an exciting place to be – a company over 100 years old, with a fresh approach. This approach is exemplified by The Demo Room (yes, it’s capitalised!) – a space crammed full of the latest technology, which is open for NBCUniversal employees to explore.

    A morning with the ‘Innovation Guys’

    Guided by a member of the Media Labs team, we play around with Google Glass, letting it guide us and using it to take pictures using the voice command “Ok glass, take a picture”. It does so promptly and in more than decent quality, to reluctantly impressed murmurs. But, we decide it’s still very much a prototype, and we can’t think of any ways to make money out of it. Also, we worry at length about people using it while cycling around London.

    tech2We also use the Oculus Rift, which is essentially a Stormtrooper helmet crossbred with a flight simulator.

    It’s a hideously ugly piece of kit, but it genuinely blows you away – or more accurately in the case of our group, almost makes you fall over. The fully immersive virtual reality head piece gives you scenario options, including a stomach-churning roller-coaster ride, or a birds-eye view of London. While the graphics could be better, the experiences do feel believable and as a result, watching someone using the Oculus is pretty hilarious. Oculus have had the last laugh, as they’ve just been acquired by Facebook, so we’ll watch this one with interest.

    We also looked at wearables: don’t just think smartwatches, think Bluetooth headsets concealed in earrings, and clothing fused with tech. It’s cool. In fact, it’s very cool. But there’s something creepy about having hidden microphones in your earrings. One for the early adopters.

    Using it, living it

    After half a day immersed in technology, suddenly you see it everywhere. It’s in the screens that cover almost every available wall space in the building, the shiny new post-production facility, and the meeting room filled with digital natives on mac airbooks. We are navigating new ways of doing business, aided by technology rather than being afraid of it, one Google Glass at a time.

    If you’re interested in seeing what NBCUniversal International has to offer you, check out our website at www.nbcuni-internationalcareers.com or join the conversation on Twitter, @NBCUglobaljobs