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Where there’s a will, there’s a job – Internships, the way forward?

Guest posted this on

Waheedby Mohammed Waheed

Did the Northern Lights internship help me? Was it worth the time and career development?

There is only one answer to this question and it is a big resounding, YES!!

Is it going to be worthwhile?

I was a bit sceptical when participating in the internship in regards to how it could really help me. I was aware it was a chance to get more experience; but was a few weeks worth of experience really going to make a difference to my future career?

How very short sighted I was, not only did I learn valuable skills but I have also been able to apply what I learnt and gain a job on a graduate programme working for Beiersdorf UK Ltd.

The future

Beiersdorf UK Ltd is a huge organisation with brands such as NIVEA, >Eucerin and Elastoplast. To be given such an opportunity on a fantastic graduate programme is what dreams are really made of. I didn’t really believe I would ever get onto a graduate scheme prior to Northern Lights, but the internship gave me the motivation to put myself out there and try to be the best that I could be. I have now been given a platform and a foundation upon which I can build. I am truly grateful to both Northern Lights and Beiersdorf UK Ltd for the opportunity of having a career I always dreamed of.

A new world

During the internship I was introduced to concepts I’d never really looked at seriously. I always assumed aspects such as blogs and social media in general were more of a social tool and did not have a place in the business world. That mentality was quickly destructed by the internship, as I was introduced to these tools from a business perspective. I also learned about other concepts such as brand building in regards to the individual and how you can effectively prepare for an interview.

Give it a go!

As with many things in life, you never see the true value of something unless you do them yourself. To be the first intern to have a blog posted on the Northern Lights website was a great honour and one that I am very proud of. To go from being someone who didn’t really understand blogs a few hours earlier, to having one published on the website!! In my eyes, a great achievement and it showed me that anyone can write a blog as long as you are willing to try.

Congratulations

There were many highlights to the Northern Lights internship and I was not surprised to hear that Northern Lights had won an award for the internship that was put together. Their hard work, dedication and effort to make a change really did deserve the recognition.

Upcoming

Now that I have begun what will hopefully be a successful career I can apply the skills I learned in a major organisation. I am currently working as a Consumer Insight Executive but over the next two years I will be working in not only the Marketing department but also the Supply Chain, Finance and Sales departments with an option to go abroad.

Exciting times

So far, I have really enjoyed the experience and have found my colleagues to be very helpful and friendly.  Just being around people of great experience is great motivation for me to excel and hopefully become a future leader within Beiersdorf in the coming years.

Thanks!

I have only kind words to say about Northern Lights and how they have helped progress not only my career but me as an individual. I am grateful to the whole team from Victoria and Carol who were there every day to offer help and guidance. To Ruth who really opened my eyes when it came to journalists and press releases. Last but by no means least, Sandy, who I felt sorry for as I inundated her with emails. However, as a true professional Sandy always gave me a prompt response and was always there to help.

Success measurement

Many people may see the internship as just a few weeks work and may question “how much could he have actually learned?” Well to answer that and really truly understand the hard work that was put in by the Northern Lights team you have to be there and experience it. Before the internship I was a little aimless and didn’t really know how to go about things and a month or so later I had a job with a global organisation. If there was ever proof of how great the internship was then I think that is a sign and a measure. I look forward to seeing this internship continuing next year as it is great to see. In addition to this, potential interns can look back at this year’s interns and see that the potential benefits are great!

Any questions or opinions on this blog are more than welcome. Do you think more industries should adopt internships?

Comments:

  1. Sounds like you got real value out of the Northern Lights internship, Waheed. Good on you for making the most of it and using your experiences to land a great job and have such a bright, ambitious future ahead of you!

    For an internship to be worthwhile it has to be a good programme with the necessary training and support built in but it’s also a case of “you get out what you put in”. Like you say, there is no harm in giving it a go as it is the only way to show potential employers that you are driven and want the experience.

    Even if your internship doesn’t go as you expected or there are things you wish you had done differently at the end, it is what you take away from it to learn from and develop on that matters.

    Anyone wanting to find out more about how to stand out to potential employers in such a competitive industry should come along to the CIPR’s Young Practitioners’ Networking Event at the Rose Bowl in Leeds on 3 February. Find out more here: http://bit.ly/gihqLD

    Details of Northern Lights’ 2011 internship for black and minority ethnic graduates are available now.

  2. Thank you for your comment Helen. I think it always comes down to what you want to get out of the internship and that is the real driver.

    If you have a goal and want to better yourself then I think internships are great for that. This is because they provide you with great experience and also broad skills that make you more employable. I think the scheme that Northern Lights put together was fantastic and looks great on your CV as you cover so much in such a short space of time..

  3. and as ever, it wasn’t just a learning experience for the interns. Spending an afternoon with them, out of my comfort zone, was definitely worth doing, especially as it contributed a little to such a positive result.

  4. Hi Jane, it was definitely a positive result and I am thankful to individuals such as yourself for taking the time to meet with us and offer guidance on our future decisions, thank you!

  5. It sounds like last year’s Northern Lights internship was a real success for all involved and I can’t say that I’m surprised. Waheed, I completely agree with what you have said, an internship can be a life changing experience, although as Helen says I do believe it is a case of ‘you get out what you put in’.

    I found my time as an intern at Northern Lights one of the valuable experiences I have had. I learned so much about PR in practice, who I wanted to be and what I really wanted to do – work in communications. I now work for a Government agency, Partnerships for Schools, in the corporate affairs team and volunteer working on comms for a children’s charity. I’ve also just been nominated as a member of the CIPR Education & Skills Committee, and I can honestly say that I don’t think I would be where I am now without the continued help and guidance that the team at Northern Lights have given me.

    So as a way to stay in contact with Northern Lights and to take advantage of networking opportunities with other interns, we have created a LinkedIn group for all of the past interns and those that will work with Northern Lights in the future. If you’d like to join the group please search for ‘Northern Lights’ Interns’ on LinkedIn.

    In that case, hopefully speak soon.

  6. It sounds like Northern Lights have definitely helped and aided your career. It is great to hear success stories and good luck with the future Gina.

  7. Hi Mohammed,

    Very much enjoyed reading your above experiences, I hope it provides a positive influence to many! I have an interview soon at Beiersdorf UK and wondered if there were any pointers you could provide for my preparation?

    Many thanks for any help you can provide!

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