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At the job fair, students got some inside tips for a career outside university
»1077«. Excuse me? »1077, do you want to play a useful game for you career?«
»You just have to find another person in this room with your number, and speak with him about what kind of job you are looking for, what you are studying, your aspirations, and your career… Do you want to take part?«
These were the first words I heard when I arrived at the career fair ‘Curb the Crisis. Kick Start Your Career’ in the Ceremonial Hall for students of the University of Copenhagen.
Marketing, industry, pharmaceuticals, consultants… Different types of corporations answered the questions of concerned students, both international and Danish.
At the fair, the University Post went to a talk aimed at exchange students: Job Search in Denmark-Kick-off by Eva Op de Beeck, who works for the company ‘Work in Denmark’.
It is serious stuff, but the tone of the session was light-hearted.
She used herself as the perfect example of a foreigner working in Denmark. Coming from Belgium, she had to work hard and in many different types of positions to reach what she is now.
Knowing about the work culture of the country is essential in order to start looking for an employment.
»Danes are reserved. They are kind and helpful, but it can be difficult to open them up,« she says.
Formal when introduced, people from Denmark are paradoxically informal in their dress codes and have flat job hierarchies at their places of work.
And they enjoy their work. On top of this, Danes have an important culture of discussion and consensus that newcomers soon become aware of.
For Danes, social events and activities are essential.
»Never miss a Christmas dinner«, Eva advises.
Eva stressed the usefulness of learning Danish. It improves your chances of getting a job, and it is a way of showing interest and respect.
That said, do not forget the strong power of your own language, she tells the students assembled in front of her: It is the added value that you can use to sell yourself and that Danes do not have.
Networking in Denmark is meaningful. There are many positions that you cannot find on the internet or in newspapers. However, you can discover them through your network.
You need to try and think about what your network is and how to use it, she explains to us.
For instance, keep your eyes open in the clubs and associations of Danes, where they meet to share their interests: sports, clubs, cafés, etc.
It is always a good idea to bring a business card, she explains. It may not seem so relevant for a student, but nevertheless, it gives off a positive impression and you will never loose the opportunity to give your e-mail and contact information to a person who might be interested in you.
A final piece of advice: Target your CV and cover letter.
»Do not write one CV and send it to lots of companies, it is better to send just 5, doing some research about the company and showing that you know about it and that you are interested«, underlines Eva.
The length of your CV should be no more than two pages and remember to write your contact information in each page.
In your cover letter you sell yourself, and show your market value in Denmark.
Don’t write sentences like »I believe that I could be able to…«, write »I am quite sure I can…«.
If you do not believe in yourself, nobody will do it, she explained to us.
With this as inspiration, I went back into the fair, to talk to company representatives and other students.
I still had my number 1077, but for some reason, I never got to find my partner: Maybe they’d already left?
So I keep my own aspirations to myself.