Elon senior Jacob Selzer shares how the use of personal connections secured an internship at FOX News in Washington, D.C.
When Elon University senior Jacob Selzer learned from a fraternity brother’s mother of an opportunity to intern with FOX News, he immediately applied for the position. For the better part of the summer of 2010, he greeted visitors to the cable news studio in Washington, D.C., and helped schedule guests who could speak about current events.
The native of Brookline, Mass., is starting his senior year with a stronger understanding of the role professional networking can play in career development. A strategic communications major and African/African-American studies minor, Selzer parlayed that experience with FOX to an internship in 2011 with the Boston Bruins Foundation, and his resume continues to shimmer.
Selzer is the first person to be featured this year in a series of E-net profiles on the recent experiences of students and alumni who use the Student Professional Development Center to not only find job and internship openings, but to prepare for interviews and improve applications with guidance from Career Services staff.
He answered questions recently from the Office of University Communications.
Tell me about the company and your role as an intern.
I worked in the booking department of FOX News Channel in Washington D.C. The booking department is responsible for getting the appropriate guests onto the network for whatever is newsworthy at that time. My primary role at FOX was to be a guest greeter. I was responsible for greeting, accommodating and bringing all FOX News Channel guests to their respective studios. I would generally welcome guests, keep them entertained, provide them with whatever they needed, and make sure they got to their studios on time. In addition, I was also responsible for reserving the travel for all FOX guests and conducted research for the department regarding congressional hearings. I would then pitch this research to my supervisor for potential stories.
What did you learn from the experience?
I definitely learned what it means to throw yourself into your work with a full commitment. I had the 6 a.m. shift, so I had to get up at 4:30 to be at work on time. It was especially difficult because I had to be the friendly face in the morning that guests would come into. It was a very taxing internship, but it was worth every second and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
I also learned a lot about what it takes to work in a high-stress, fast-paced work environment. Working in a national news network headquarters is definitely a unique experience. It was great to learn how to adjust to situations quickly and work as a team alongside others.
Networking was also huge for me. I had a wallet full of business cards by the time I was done at FOX. It made me realize how important networking is. It was great to see how the professional world functions internally, as I constantly watched high-profile individuals such as senators networking with one another in the green room.
Who did you work with in the Student Professional Development Center to prepare for your internship, and what help did you receive?
I did a lot of work with Nagatha Tonkins. She was a huge help in preparing me for living in Washington D.C., balancing my work load, and acting professionally. She was very supportive throughout the entire process. Her level of structure and organization was great, as she pointed out a lot of small details I would have likely overlooked.
How do you plan to use the SPDC in the future?
This past summer, I just finished interning with the Boston Bruins Foundation, which was an absolutely amazing experience. Career Services were a huge help in aiding me with the networking process to get to that point. In addition, I plan on working very closely with Ross Wade as I begin to look towards life after Elon.
What recommendation would you share with other students about the SPDC?
I would say make sure you explore every angle. You would be amazed at who your friends know, your friends’ parents, and people you meet in passing. My fraternity brother’s mom was the main reason I got my internship at FOX. She is a FOX News correspondent. During my internship, I made sure to collect as many business cards as possible. Make sure to stay in contact and build relationships with as many people as possible. You never know where a certain connection might lead, so don’t be afraid to aim high.