Finding a student job in Aalborg
When Denis arrived in Aalborg, he first started looking for student jobs. He found it rather challenging:
“Aalborg is a quite small city, so the amount of student jobs is already limited by that. And then, when you add that, in addition to other internationals, most Danes are also working while studying it becomes quite challenging because they have something that most internationals don’t – they speak Danish.”
Denis intensified his job search and went to a few job fairs hoping for a student job where he could use his skills. One of them was a Kickstart Aalborg job fair where he talked to some startups who were looking for a UX/UI Designer. Eventually, he got a student job at one of them. However, this lasted only a couple of months because he then had his internship abroad.
When he came back to Aalborg after his internship, once again, he was looking for a student job.
Research is the key to unsolicited job search
“I remembered that when I worked for the previous company they had an office in NOVI Science Park where a lot of other startups have offices. So, I went to NOVI’s website to see all companies that have an office there and might have use of my skillset.
Denis found a company that was working on projects that interested him and where he thought they might benefit from his skill set. He also considered where he could gain experience and new knowledge to improve his professional skills.
The company Denis chose, 2Operate, did not have any job openings when he decided to apply, so he had to make sure he would sell himself in the best way towards what the company might need in the future.
“I thoroughly researched what they were working on and how I would fit into their story. I used every channel they were on: Their website, LinkedIn, blog page, google news… I used that information to edit my CV and application accordingly.”
“When applying unsolicited, you first have to pitch to them why you are the missing piece of the puzzle in their organisation. By employing you, what the company will benefit from. Your fresh perspective? Your specific skillset?”
“Putting in the work to get to know what the company does can make a difference between getting a job or just another ‘thank you for your application but we’re not looking for anyone at the moment’.”
Make your application relevant to the specific company
Denis recommends that you always pay attention to what they have written in the job ad – or try to look for an old job ad if you’re applying unsolicited.
“Try to build your application from that. But obviously, do not lie about what you did and know.”
“While I was researching the company, I noticed a couple of things that might make their website and platform a bit better in terms of usability. So, I told them this in my application. I explained what they would benefit from if they hired me. What helped is that I already had examples of such tasks in my portfolio. This helps to eliminate any doubt that you can do the tasks described.”
Denis has a strategy for his application: A maximum of 1 page and a 3 paragraph structure:
“First is the introduction where I briefly say who I am and why I’m interested in this position. The second paragraph is where I describe one of my projects that aligns with something that they are looking for. In the third paragraph I explain how my previous experiences and skills fit what they are looking for in more detail.”
Design makes your cv stand out
As for the CV, Denis emphasises the importance of a nice layout that makes it easy for the company to skim though it and quickly understand the main points relevant to them.
“If you’re not especially good with design, get a simple template online, or ask your design friend to make one for you – but do not use the Europass CV because it looks like you’ve put low effort into it!”
“As for the content in the CV, try to add a couple of bullet points for each work experience, uni project or education. Then, write the bullet points with action verbs and try to answer 3 questions for each bullet point: What? Why? How?”
Look for the smaller companies
From his experience with unsolicited job search, Denis was able to draw some conclusions:
“Do your homework. If you’re looking for a job that doesn’t exist (is not listed) you have to show and explain to them why they need you and how you can help their company. Try to be confident but not arrogant in your application. No one is expecting you to be an expert - you’re still studying, there will be time for that. Lastly, never lie in your application.”
“Sometimes it’s better to reach out to smaller companies and startups. Since they are small, you generally have a much better chance of someone reading your application and not just putting it through ATS software with the pile of the rest of them.”
Job search is about hard work and a bit of luck
After doing all his research, as well as creating a targeted CV and application, making it clear what 2Operate would gain from hiring him in a student job, he sent it to them in an e-mail.
Usually, you have to follow up after applying unsolicited, but Denis was lucky: He had found the right company and offered them the right skills at the right time. Therefore, they actually got back to him a couple of days later – and he got the student job!
Summing up, Denis says:
“Searching for a job is tough and requires a lot of work but also luck. If you’re struggling with something try to extract what is it. For example, if you in most times get to the first interview, but not the second. Could be that your CV and application are ok, but what you have to work on is preparation for the interview. “
About Denis Macek
Age: 27 years old
Education: Information Technology at AAU in Aalborg
Year of graduation: 2020
Previous student job: UX/UI Designer at 2Operate
Current job: Product Designer at BESTSELLER