AAU Career

Networking

Many positions in Denmark are never advertised. Instead, they are filled through networks and unsolicited applications.

Therefore, unsolicited job search is part of a beneficial strategy just as well as replying to job ads. And for this, your network is crucial and can be the decisive factor to your first job, internship, or student job.

➡ But how do you go about it when you're in a new country? On this page, we will provide with some insights and ideas to help you get started.

How can I use my network in Denmark when looking for a job?

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    How do I network?

    There are many ways of hearing about a possible job opening or of establishing contact to a potential employer. Think about all the places where you meet up with friends or others such as the sports club, at professional events, at career fairs, or online.

    Wherever it may be, opportunities rarely just fall from the sky – it takes a conscious effort, the right contacts and a bit of luck.

    Unfortunately, luck is not something we can ensure, but we can encourage you to seek out situations that present job opportunities to strengthen and expand your network.

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    What can I do with my network?

    Your network can give you knowledge and contacts.

    What you need to figure out, is which employers are relevant to your interests and profile and which job opportunities are available. 

    Networking is a way of making yourself more visible at the same time as gaining relevant insight into a specific company, a position, or an industry sector.

    Don't make the typical mistakes - here are 2 points to help you avoid it:

    1. It is a 2-way process! So think about what you can give your network as well – relevant knowledge, insights, contacts, etc.
    2. Never ask for jobs directly – ask for information. If someone from your network has information about job opportunities at their own workplace, they will tell you if they think it is relevant.
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    When can I use my network?

    Use your network regularly to keep it intact and functioning.

    Think of it as a machine that needs regular use and maintenance to ensure that it works when you really need it.

    You can use your network when you are still studying, in an internship or employed. Is it help with a difficult task, project collaboration, or a (new) job? You can use it for many purposes, as long as it is professional.

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    Is my network too small?

    Having many contacts does not necessarily mean that you have a good network. It all depends on how you use it and how often.

    A good network is a network used regularly and professionally regardless of its size.

    Your network is more than a number, and it is not a competition to have the highest number of contacts. This says nothing of its quality. An inactive network is not a network, but just a number. It is your job to maintain your network by using it – otherwise the network forgets you.

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    How do I expand my network?

    Here are some ideas on ways to expand your network:

    • LinkedIn: Here, you can find graduates from your field of study, learn about their career path and which companies employ students and graduates from your study and thereby know your skillset.
       
    • E-mail and telephone calls: Google people you find interesting and e-mail or call them. Have some questions ready based on your research and wonderment and ask them as part of a natural conversation, not a questionnaire. Be ready to schedule a new call if the person is busy.
       
    • Events: E.g. AAU Career, your union and your unemployment insurance fund will often offer events where it is possible for you to network and meet people within your field.
       
    • Collaboration partners: The companies that you are doing project collaborations with are also relevant contacts, as they hopefully remember your work and could be interested in hiring you if you are looking for a job or another project collaboration. If this company does not have any vacancies now, ask them politely if you could get back to them in a couple of months, thus showing your motivation. In addition, you can also ask them if they know of people in their network whom you could contact. Make sure to let them understand in what ways you can contribute.
       
    • Career fairs: Fairs are great ways to get in touch with people. Rather than giving an elevator pitch, we recommend researching and preparing a list of important points to weave into the dialogue with the person already in your network or about to be part of it. You still get to say what you want to, but in a much more natural and less offensive manner. In addition, good questions are necessary, because they show your interest, preparation and give insight into aspects that would otherwise be inaccessible to you. At fairs, you can also get information on how different sectors or companies understand your skillset and education. This could provide good pointers on how to communicate – that is, translating and exemplifying – your potential contribution and relevance when applying for solicited and unsolicited jobs.
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    What questions can I ask people when networking?

    Prepare your own questions but keep it as a dialogue, rather than an interview or pitch. During the dialogue, be ready to answer any questions and listen carefully. Don’t worry too much about “I don’t know”-situations, since no one knows everything. Spend enough time researching the company to come up with good questions and reflect on how you can fit in.

    You can find inspiration in the following questions when making your own:

    • How did you end up in this job?
    • How do you use your knowledge and expertise in your everyday working life? (Particularly relevant if you have a similar academic background)
    • Was ending up in your current job part of a plan or more of a coincidence?
    • If it was a coincidence – how did it come about?
    • What is most exciting about your job?
    • What particular competencies do you need for your job?
    • What advice can you give me that you wish you had received?
    • Do you know three people that may be relevant for me to talk to within this field?
    • With your knowledge in this field, where would you suggest me to put my energy in relation to my future career? 
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    So, how do I get started?

    No matter how you want to approach and use your network, take it easy and try to feel comfortable contacting people.

    1. Write down your goal – e.g. the information you are looking for.
    2. Research well.
    3. Make a list of people you wish to talk to, what you believe they can provide you with, what you can provide them with, and how you plan to contact them. Keep in mind that they may also point you to other persons and organisations, which can help you on your way with more information.
    4. Contact them when you feel ready and prepared.
    5. Don’t forget to follow up if necessary.

     

    Need help?

    When you are preparing, you can book a career counselling session to get help on researching, communicating your competencies and experience, and how to open the dialogue.

Inspiring stories about networking

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