Tips for Grads: Graduate Advice from Kraft Heinz with Shonali Sharma

For many students, graduation represents the end of their education journey. The years of study are finally over and now they are ready to go out into the real world. However, this world isn’t theirs alone. Thousands of other recent graduates are also looking to get their foot in the door of a company in their field.

To help you in your search, JobGetter has approached some of the best Graduate Employers in Australia. Not only do these companies have highly-regarded graduate hiring programs but they are often some of the top performing businesses in their respective industries. These Tips for Grads can help you nail your resume, impress in an interview, and find out exactly what these recruiters are looking for. 

This week, Shonali Sharma, Head of Talent at Kraft Heinz offers insights from her vast experience in the HR and graduate recruitment world. 

When you’re in such a competitive industry, getting that insider advice – someone who knows how the system works – can really help you to be more succesful in your job search.

That is the whole idea behind Tips for Grads. To give graduates like you a chance to see what some of the best graduate employers in Australia are doing and how you can impress them.

Read on to get Shonali’s insight and advice…

Kraft Heinz

The merger of Kraft Foods and Heinz in 2015 created one of the largest food companies in the world. One that can boast almost 150 years of food production across 40 countries. There are over 900 Kraft Heinz employees in Australia alone!

With so many brands falling under the Kraft Heinz banner including Cadbury, Golden Circle, and Cottee’s, it would be hard to go a day without running into one of their products. Their commitment to high quality extends to their employees.

The Kraft Heinz Graduate Program primes graduates for leadership roles in senior management positions. They pride themselves on giving their graduates real responsibility from the very start. As a company that is a leader in their field, they know and appreciate hard work and reward those who excel.

Because Kraft Heinz is such a varied company they expect their graduates to be able to move throughout the company. Your career path with Kraft Heinz could take you in any number of directions. In order to cater to this, they don’t look for any type of graduate in particular. Kraft Heinz simply want the best candidates possible regardless of the degree they studied.

If you want an agile career that builds on centuries of innovation and will help mould you into a confident and experienced leader, a graduate career with Kraft Heinz may be perfect for you.

Shonali’s Tips for Grads

What was your first job?

My first job ever was working in a deli through uni. Oh how I miss scrubbing the chicken fat out of the rotisserie oven and coming home smelling like seafood.

How long have you worked in HR?

10 years.

What do you look for in graduates?

Authenticity & Grit.

What advice would you give to graduates looking to stand out?

You are competing against thousands of people for a spot on our Graduate Program, but there is only one of you. Think about what makes you, you and let that shine. This is your best way of standing out from the pack.

What’s something people might not know about working at Kraft Heinz? Our Company is a melting pot of different cultures which makes for an amazing and diverse workplace and very much a global company. We also have a strong sustainability agenda as part of our mission to grow a better world so you feel good knowing you are contributing to something bigger and better by being a part of this business.

What makes a graduate’s application stand out to you?

When you are watching thousands of video applications and reading through even more CV’s, it can all start to get a tad repetitive. What always stands out are the people who make the effort to tailor their application to Kraft Heinz and find creative, even quirky, ways to demonstrate their passion and fit for the Company.

What’s the number one mistake to avoid when applying for a graduate position?

Don’t tell us what you think we want to hear if it’s not sincere, it’s just bad manners.

What do you look for during the interview?

Positive energy, passion for what you are doing and hunger to grow.

What questions should graduates never ask?

Get all your questions answered through the process so you are clear with what you are potentially signing up for and make sure that at the end of it, this opportunity makes you giddy with excitement – don’t settle for anything less.

What do you wish more candidates would do or say?

Have the courage to dream big. It’s always refreshing to meet people who have a zest for life, a vision to create something special and apply themselves to achieving that.

What should graduates know about Kraft Heinz before applying?

Our Graduate Program is not a tasting plate of different functions. It is designed to mould our future leaders and so we hand-pick our Graduates and structure our program accordingly. It is essentially a traineeship for Management where you will be immersed into the business, stretched to uncover your potential and supported through the entire program to ensure you are successful. A lot of our existing senior leaders in the business, locally and globally, are products of this very program.  

What advice would you give to someone who was unsuccessful in applying?

Meet every setback with a stronger come back.

Final Thought: Widen Your Horizons

Looking for a job after graduation can feel like you’re treading water. You’ve finished school but aren’t working in a job you studied for – you’re just passing time. Pay attention to your application feedback and see if there is anything you can do to make yourself a more attractive candidate. Things like volunteering or up-skilling can demonstrate to employers that you are committed to being the best worker you can be. 

Don’t forget that you are in control. If you really think you can get a job or position somewhere, don’t settle for something you don’t want. You’ll be miserable. Not only that but you’ll be in the same position 6 months down the line looking for a different job. Don’t aim low – shoot for the stars. Like Shonali says, “Dream BIG!

Want to Join Kraft Heinz?

Want to know more about what exactly Kraft Heinz have done to be such a well-regarded graduate employer? Maybe you’re just ready to take Shonali’s advice? Either way be sure to check out the Kraft Heinz graduate page and take the plunge.

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