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The SHL Experience: My Story of Being an Intern at SHL

Starting your career and trying to find that one stepping stone is not easy, but it is not impossible either. Read Azraa Shaik’s experience of being an intern at SHL.

When you enter the world of employment there is always that uncertainty that looms over you. Will I be able to break through or will I become another statistic? We have all been in this position—trying to find that one opportunity that will kick-start our careers. It is not easy, but it is also not impossible.

A year ago, I was in a similar position. I had tried every possible avenue to make advancement in my career, but with every rejection, there was a loss of hope. But as they say, life is like a winding road, with a whole lot of stops and roadblocks. It is how you deal with them that will produce the next right turn.

My journey at SHL has been that turning point for me. Being an intern at SHL and walking into the office on my first day with a sense of purpose, I was determined to make the most out of this opportunity so I could learn new skills and improve my own, as well as to leave my mark and ensure that my contributions would be fruitful. It has been 6 months since I started my internship at SHL, and when I look back, the time has surely flown by. I have been able to put my knowledge into practice, but also have learned things that you would not find in a textbook. Having worked with colleagues across the globe has been remarkable. Not only was I able to learn from their experiences, but also learn about them and their cultures whilst sharing my stories. What I found to be truly amazing was that even though we are in different parts of the world, technology allowed us to connect in such a way that we feel like a family.

The pandemic has seen many organizations transforming their working methods to firstly remote, and later, a hybrid style. When it came to working remotely, I had to maintain the discipline to stay motivated to work from home. I had to be responsible and develop the ability to manage my time effectively, without getting distracted. It also meant that I needed to know when to log off at the end of the day. I can only imagine if I were to be working at the office where I would need to leave at a certain time to miss that peak hour traffic. However, thanks to this model by SHL, I did not have to worry about that and would continue to work until I met my deliverables. Ultimately, I was able to develop a healthy work-life balance.

Having worked with colleagues across the globe has been remarkable. Not only was I able to learn from their experiences, but also learn about them and their cultures whilst sharing my stories.

Working and reporting to a global chain of command was also something that I needed to adapt to. In a normal business setting, a new joiner would have someone in the office showing them the ropes. In my case, being part of the marketing team for the EMEA region, meant that I had support from my team members who are in different countries, rather than locally. But it did not feel as challenging as it sounds. SHL encourages the 70:20:10 principle of learning and with that, a lot of my “training” was done by me doing the work. By making me “do the work”, whilst having some guidance along the way allowed me to retain more as opposed to having someone show me how. It also boosted my confidence, as I was enabling myself to carry out tasks on my own.

I was able to obtain and refine countless new skills, and accomplished things that I never dreamed of doing. From creating campaigns to setting up webinars, to writing blogs, to being a part of the rebrand project. Each activity has given me more insight into the field, and also allowed me to apply this knowledge in a real-world setting. This exposure has had a tremendous impact on my development, and my journey of being an intern at SHL thus far has been incredible, to say the least. I am still constantly learning as the months go by, taking myself to new heights! I eagerly await to see what unfolds hereafter.

SHL encourages the 70:20:10 principle of learning and with that, a lot of my “training” was done by me doing the work.


Advice for those who are starting their careers:

Take the chance—a person who is willing to go the extra mile is usually the one who reaps the most. Do not be afraid to take that leap of faith. If it does not work out, you can always learn from the experience and better yourself for the next opportunity that arises.

Be authentic—being yourself allows you to not only have a sense of joy towards what you are doing but also helps you build stronger connections with others. Being yourself is what makes you stand out. It is your unique selling point, so never change that. And most importantly,

Never give up!

You will get there, keep at it. Apply for as many jobs as you can, give it your all during the interviews. It is difficult to stay positive all the time, but being confident in yourself and your abilities exudes strength and enthusiasm.

Success is not built on success. It's built on failure. It's built on frustration…" – Sumner Redstone

Enjoy reading this blog? Check out my other colleagues’ stories and experience working at SHL.

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Author

Azraa Shaik

Azraa is a Marketing Intern for SHL in South Africa. She is a Bachelor of Commerce Graduate, with majors in Finance and Marketing, from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Azraa is enthusiastic about exploring her new role under the SHL banner and is keen on learning and developing.

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