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A Guide For The Storm

 
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We’ve spoken to the people in the know about the crucial things to be aware of as an international student, job hunting in Denmark. Here is their key advice to all your questions.

We’ve spoken to the people in the know about the crucial things to be aware of as an international student, job hunting in Denmark. Here is their key advice to all your questions.

/Mike Wenøe & Maibritt Jensen
 career advisors at København Universitet

/Lotte Pedersen
 career advisor for Aalborg Universitet

/Annette Andersen & Mai Damsgaard
 Aarhus Universitet InterResource

/Jes Hyldig
 Ministry for Science, Research and Education

What should I be doing as a student to prepare for finding graduate employment?

Get work experience – Danish employers are less likely to look at your grades than what you have previously done. /Jes

Start preparing during your education – do not wait until graduation as you will compete with so many more students who felt they did not have time to apply for jobs until graduation. /Lotte

Before hunting for a job you must know who the employer is, what challenges he is facing, what skills you can offer and how you can utilize them in the service for this particular employer. Once you know that, you can begin hunting for the job. Until then you must look for information - not a job. /Mike

I’m struggling to find a student job, what should I do? 

Students need to realize that they are competing with not only the Danish students, but also lots of other international students, thus they need to be their best - creative and straightforward. Humbleness is not good when looking for a job - they need to be proactive and sell themselves. When you contact a potential employer suggest what you can do for them. /Lotte

Many small and medium sized companies are expanding into new export markets where they could use your cultural and linguistic competences for market analysis, communicating with partners, etc. /Annette & Mia

I don’t speak Danish, will this affect my ability to find work? 

Yes very much. Often Danish language skills at some level are required, so if you want to work here, study the language. Your chances of getting a job will increase. /Lotte

It’s still possible to get a job. Many Danish organisations don’t know that they might get great help from foreigners. /Mike

If you don’t speak Danish at all, go for the international companies with a high export rate, as many of them will have English as the corporate language. /Annette & Mia

What difficulties do international students face when seeking graduate employment in Denmark?

Difficulties can be due to lack of experience – the same as Danish students. Lack of cultural knowledge of Danish companies. Often international students are humble due to their cultural background. However, Danish companies like an outgoing graduate who offers a lot of input on what he/she could do for their business. /Lotte

How can I use my studies to help me find employment? 

One way is to cooperate with companies on your papers and thesis. This can give you valuable insights into the company and practical experience within a relevant field. It will also give you the chance to learn the company lingo and a better understanding of the needs of businesses. Also, you will get contacts within the company, who might prove useful when you graduate.

Another idea is to participate in case competitions, where a company presents a specific case which groups of students have to solve within a certain time frame. Often, companies use case competitions as part of their recruitment strategy, as it gives them the chance to see your cooperative and theoretical skills come into play. /Annette & Mia

As an international student, what can I offer a Danish employer?

You offer a set of both cultural and language skills that most Danish students do not have as well as your academic education. You need to make the Danish employer see that you can help them for example with your insight in your country in terms of new export/import possibilities. Studies show that workplaces with interdisciplinary employees are more innovative and your background and points of view will contribute to new ways of doing or seeing things in the company. In order for you to make your positive skills stand out you need to do your research about the company of interest as it will make it easier to convince the manager if you already know what the vision of the company, products, cooperation with different countries etc. /Lotte

Do Danes do anything differently when it comes to networking?

Many jobs in Denmark are never advertised, but spread through networks. Therefore, it is very important to establish a network during your studies.
/Annette & Mia

Try to get as big a network as possible, both professionally and socially. Actively pursue the acquaintance and friendship of Danes. This will in all likelihood help you learn the Danish language, which is a direct gateway to Danish culture, know-how and job opportunities. /Jes

I’d suggest that you consider anyone willing to spend 5 minutes providing you with information to help you on your way, as a part of your network. Then stick to asking for just that. Don’t be begging for jobs in your network. Try instead to approach your network by paying attention to them and their needs. Then you can ask them to pay attention to your quest for information afterwards. /Mike

What are the best methods for finding employment?

A good way to approach a job is to research companies of interest and contact them. A good strategy is to compliment a company. Instead of directly asking for a job opportunity it is much better to ask them what they would recommend you do. /Maibritt

You will get the job if you can present yourself as the solution to the challenges of the employer. Make a short list of the most interesting jobs that you’d like to have. Interview the guys who have it. Ask them about how they got the job, what they’ve accomplished in the position and what challenges they are facing now. Make sure that you approach them as interviewer – not a jobseeker. There’s a big difference. That will give you the basic facts and inspiration to find similar positions or maybe to apply for that job once the positions is free again. /Mike

What are the benefits of working for a Danish company?

Great career opportunities, great satisfaction in work life as Danish companies often expect their employees to be innovative and therefore listen to their suggestions and feedback, highly qualified co-workers, good wage. /Lotte

The workplace culture is defined by a horizontal structure with open dialogue where everyone is encouraged to put forward their ideas and participate in discussions. There is a high degree of freedom to exercise control over one’s own work tasks and a high degree of trust in the employee’s self-management. /Annette & Mia

There might be many different benefits. Start by interviewing specific companies and ask about it. Then ask yourself: What benefits are important for me? /Mike


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