A day at Unilever

An Axe bar, Rexona sport centre, free Ben and Jerry’s, Lipton coffee bar, a restaurant with solely Knorr meals and an indoor hairstylist. When entering the Unilever office in Rotterdam one cannot be anything other than impressed. Even the elevators feel like home due to their laundry room look. The whole Weena office is filled with Unilever’s own products. Now that’s what we call keeping an eye on your product!

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The entrance hall at Unilever’s Weena office in Rotterdam


We’ve talked to Paula Ruesen, Tilburg University graduate and currently working as a Financial Management Trainee at Unilever. She started over half a year ago at the regional office in Rotterdam. “I like the international atmosphere here and the fact that I can actually see the end results of the products that we work on in the supermarkets. I used to hate doing groceries, but now I love seeing our products on the shelves.”

During her master Finance she visited an Inhouseday at Unilever and the people really appealed to her. That is when she realised Unilever was the place for her. “A traineeship at Unilever is unique because the company is so vibrant. I do something different every day: I help marketeers see the financial effects of their new innovations, I work on reporting and I help create management information. Currently I am working on Unilever’s margarine brands. I think most girls want to work for the personal care department so they can make use of all the nice samples, but I can tell it does not really matter for which brand you work because you will get enthusiastic about it anyway!”

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A traineeship at Unilever lasts two to three years in which you work in different roles. This way you get a broad view of your opportunities within the company. Next to the Finance traineeship, Unilever also has traineeships in Sales, Marketing, Supply Chain, HR and R&D. Traineeships at Unilever have two entry moments, March and September. During the application rounds the recruiters look at the competencies of the applicants rather than a maximum/ minimum amount of trainees they need to hire. The selection procedure for the traineeship consists of three rounds that aim to test the personality of the candidate. First, you need to apply online, where you are asked to upload your CV and motivation letter. Also, you will need to do an online intelligence test. When you are accepted for round two, you will be interviewed by a recruiter. In the final round you are invited for an assessment day at the Unilever office. You can find more information about traineeships on their website.

Unilever has a high international culture, no wonder seeing the fact that they sell their products all over the world. Paula almost always communicates in English with her colleagues, and she regularly has contact with colleagues working abroad. Unilever would be a suitable environment for international students looking for employment; they already have international employees at their Weena offices. International students can do an internship or apply for a starting position following the website. However, for Unilever’s traineeship you need to speak Dutch. That is definitely something to keep in mind for all you international students out there.

Paula has one last word of advice for all students aspiring to work at Unilever. “Enjoy your student life! Broaden yourself, become active at a study or student association. You will not be rejected by Unilever because you have a year of study delay on your CV. There is so much to see and to do during your student life, things you might never be able to do again once you start working.”

Interested in working for Unilever? The application round for traineeships, starting in September, is open the entire month of April and the first week of May (Deadline: May 7). If you want to start next year March, you can apply coming October. You can find more information by using this link: http://www.unilever.com/careers-jobs/graduates/

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