First steps: Expectations and new choices
Petra knew from the beginning that she wanted to find a job in Denmark after her graduation. While now, she has a clear plan for her development and future career, the beginning was slightly different. Coming from an education background within IT, Petra focused on finding a job within her field.
‘I applied for jobs within my field of study – I wanted to work within consulting, actually as an IT consultant. I started applying to jobs within Nordjylland. But I quickly realised that without Danish skills I will not be able to work within my particular study field. As a product designer and/or IT consultant, I would not get to the interview. That was my experience, at least. It is because I needed to be able to also talk with clients and in Aalborg especially, not all clients would have been comfortable with talking in English. So as a professional I would have needed to switch to Danish if the situation required it.’
The process of understanding why she was not successful in her job search lasted for a few months, but Petra quickly reoriented herself and started thinking what areas her skills could be needed and useful in. This helped her shape the path she wanted to go on and used her network to get in touch with other professionals and seek ideas.
Understanding the importance of networking
Petra was also part of the Young Professionals in Denmark programme during her Master’s studies and she benefitted from being part of the one-year programme by learning how to promote herself and her skills, but also understand a recruiter’s point of view:
‘The Young Professionals in Denmark programme was great in giving me ideas on how to showcase who I am in the CV and application, how to write the applications, and what to focus on from the job ad, etc. More importantly, for me, the programme gave me a holistic view on job search. For example, how to network and about the working culture in Denmark.’
‘And lastly, I think the programme helped me with giving me a head start. I have been unemployed before, when I completed my bachelor’s degree. But this time, after finishing this programme and I got to finish my degree I did not feel the same. I felt that when I got to the graduation I was not lost. I knew what to focus on, I had acquired all these soft skills somehow to be confident in my CV writing, I knew what to expect in an interview, I had confidence to call companies before sending in the CV and applications. Looking back on it, I think that the programme had given me a lot.’
During her unemployment period, Petra was actively searching for jobs, but also internships. And she was offered an internship in an IT company, but due to COVID-19, the internship was postponed. However, Petra got in touch with her network at International House and had the opportunity to work on a project as part of a virksomhedspraktik – a special form of internship which is part of a job training if you are unemployed:
‘It was such a great experience to work there, I learned a lot about how complex project management is, about leadership and I was happy to be able to help with some digital solutions. I think the job training I did in Aalborg gave me such a good insight into leadership, how processes work and how to show ambition and persevere in the first couple of months to show your dedication and what you are capable of. I learned about how to present ideas in meetings, how to organise thoughts and to sell the idea in the best way.’
Moreover, applying the knowledge she gained from the programme, Petra got her current job as Digital Campaign Specialist at Wunderman Thompson through a recommendation, after 6 months of unemployment. It was Petra’s openness to new perspectives, such as the marketing field, and asking for feedback from recruiters after being rejected, that got her to the point of being recommended for a job.
‘I got my current job from a recommendation; I spoke with a great friend of mine who told me about the company. I learned about the fact that the corporate language is English, and I could stand a chance and I immediately applied. Rest, the application process was something I did not know much about, but I got the idea to apply from networking. I got guidance mainly on what position I would fit in. Also, it gave me confidence that I stand a chance!’
What about the future?
While Petra found a full-time job she enjoys very much, she does not want to stop here, and wants to keep developing as a person and professional:
‘I have a professional development plan and for now I have the ambition to become the best asset for the company. I am getting challenged in ways that make me grow and I love being a part of my team, working with them and completing tasks. I am just wishing to grow and develop. I get a lot of accomplishment out of being helpful, meeting deadlines, teamwork, achieving goals that our team has set and working with great professionals in the company. I want to advance at my own pace and become more and more knowledgeable within my field that I am working in right now: marketing.’
Petra’s advice for you
Petra emphasizes on the importance of networking:
‘I would advise students to network and talk with the people in your network. Don’t underestimate what you can learn from people who went through the unemployment experience before. And ask for feedback, it was the thing that helped me figure out my trajectory and what to do in order to change the outcomes.’
About Petra Mihucz
Age: 26 years old
Study programme: Information Studies at AAU in Aalborg
Year of graduation: 2020
Years in Denmark: 7 years
Job title: Digital Campaign Specialist at Wunderman Thompson