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Students: Career mentor programme helped us get jobs

Two economics students got mentored by Danish companies for a year via the UCPH career mentor programme - now they have jobs in Danske Capital and Maersk Oil Trading

“The programme allowed me to identify my unique selling points.”

The words are from Sorin Pirău (26), from Romania, who is now working as a portfolio manager for an Emerging Markets Debt Fund at Danske Capital, and participated in the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) career mentor programme back in the spring of 2012.

Sorin was paired with a career mentor from the Danish National Bank in the spring of 2012. As Sorin points out, his mentor helped him understand how he could sell his best qualities to potential employers and prove to them that he could be a valuable asset.

Valuable skills

Rodica Plamadeala (26) is from Moldova, and just like Sorin, she participated in the programme in 2012. Her mentor from Novo Nordisk continuously encouraged her to improve her skills.

“I learned useful tips and trick about the Danish labour market and I discovered where I need to work on myself in order to start a career in Denmark,” explains Rodica, who is now working at Mærsk Oil Trading, which is part of the A.P. Møller-Mærsk Group.

“I felt that my studies weren’t fully preparing me for the labour market. I felt the need to discuss my perceptions and my options with an experienced employee,” she says

Danish do’s and dont’s

The meetings don’t solely focus on personal skills, according to Sorin. They cover topics like how to work efficiently, how to handle stress, how to preserve a good work-life balance, how to structure short-term goals in a broader framework of long-term personal and career goals, and how to use one’s network as an effective job channel.

One of the reasons Sorin wanted to participate in the mentor programme in the first place was his lack of a network. Danes, on the other hand, may have this as their advantage.

He points out that as an international student you don’t have family and friends, who are anchored in the local labour market and can advise you on the country-specific do’s and don’ts. Having a mentor allows you to get an insight into the Danish job market.

Professional CV advice

Together with her mentor, Rodica was able to evaluate her career options as well as understand how to properly write her cover letters and CV’s.

Sorin also stresses the importance of getting your CV checked by a professional.

“The constructive feedback I received on my CV and different cover letters from my mentor was put to good use later on in the job application process.”

Glimpse of your future career

“I would definitely recommend the programme,” says Rodica, “only the fact that you have – for an entire year – a person to talk to freely about any doubts you might have regarding your future career, it’s fantastic!”

Sorin agrees, and thinks the programme is a great way to have a glimpse of what your future career may look like.

Be aware that there are a limited number of career mentors available for international students each year (15-20). See more information on how to apply in the fact box, above. This year’s application deadline is 3 November.

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