I am coming to the end of my summer placement in Marketing at Unilever and I have had the most amazing time. I am part of the hair team, based in Leatherhead, working on Alberto Balsam and a bit of VO5 Styling. I have been given a lot of responsibility and I am accountable for a lot of different projects. These include; handling all the PR for Alberto Balsam, Budget Management, promotional material design, creating consumer profiles and entering our new range into Product of the Year.
I have a lot of flexibility in my role which really helps me to maintain a healthy work-life balance. I have never felt overwhelmed since starting here, despite the large amount of tasks I have. I find I rarely spend a full day sat at my desk, I am often travelling to meet agencies or attend events with my colleagues. This variety is what I enjoy most about my role, every day is different at Unilever which makes my job extremely exciting and I wake up looking forward to going to work.
Despite all this enjoyment, I have still had to face several challenges since being here. One of my biggest challenges was designing a new piece of promotional material in a short amount of time, with a limited number of assets. In order to overcome this challenge, I had to work quickly and efficiently to ensure no time was wasted. Everyone at Unilever is always so willing to help so this made the process a lot easier as I was able to ask questions whenever I needed to. This resulted in the creation of a product list which has been given to some of our biggest customers.
My experience at Unilever has taught me so much in such a short amount of time and I have had so much fun. I have been given so many opportunities to improve my skills, which has had a huge impact on my self-confidence. I now know that I am more than capable of achieving anything I set my mind to. A placement at such a large company has also given me an insight into the real world of business. Having first-hand experience in a global company teaches you so much that university can’t. It is amazing to learn about the role all the different functions play, along with the way Unilever does business with customers and how this affects consumers. I know so much more than I did just 12 weeks ago and I can use this going forward into my final year at University and beyond.
Applying for a summer placement at Unilever seemed daunting to begin with, but the application process was surprisingly enjoyable. During the telephone interview and the assessment centre, it is clear that they want you to do well. I was made to feel really comfortable and I was given lots of opportunities to show why I was a good candidate. Compared to other assessment centres I attended, I felt that the one at Unilever had been carefully organised to ensure that all the candidates had the best possible opportunity to show why they would be a good fit for Unilever, whilst still not being a tense, uncomfortable experience.
The advice I would give to anybody applying to the role would be to ensure they prepare thoroughly before every stage of the application process. Make sure you know about the company, your function, the FMCG industry and have lots of examples for the Standards of Leadership; don’t worry if you don’t have much work experience, I used a lot of examples from my personal life.
My time at Unilever has flown by and I have enjoyed every second of it. I would recommend it to everyone. It is truly an invaluable experience and really prepares you for working life after university. I feel that I have a huge advantage applying for graduate jobs now that I have had this experience and I feel a lot more confident in my own abilities. But the best part of the whole thing is that it really is so much fun.