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How your spare time activities are valuable in your job search

How your spare time activities are valuable in your job search

While looking for a job in Denmark, Alberto found out how he could use his spare time activities as an asset, telling the employers who he is as a person, colleague, and employee. Here, he shares his experiences and learnings, creating a social life in Denmark, and using it as an advantage in his job search.

Last modified: 09.02.2021

Social life in Aalborg – lots of opportunities

”Being aware of the rich mix of nationalities and cultures in Denmark, I hoped to expand my horizons and get to know other cultures that I could not interact with in my home country. Living in a dorm and working in teams at AAU makes this process even easier, and I am very pleased with the way this helped me grow as a human being.”

In his spare time, Alberto enjoys cooking, especially with friends.

“I am always on the hunt for new recipes and inspiration. One of the good things about living in an international dorm is that we organise “international dinners”, so I get to taste food from all over the world. I also love movies, which is a very nice hobby for the hygge-filled winter evenings.”

Alberto was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of outdoor facilities in Denmark, even though before moving here, he was thinking that because of the weather, locals would probably prefer spending time indoors.

“In spring and summer, I like to enjoy life outdoors: Going downtown, walking in the forest, playing sports and swimming at Fjordparken... We even did a camping trip to the beach in Blokhus! So, even though Aalborg may seem like a very monotonic place at the beginning, it is always possible to find something for anyone’s taste.”


Use your spare time activities to raise your self-confidence

Alberto also enjoys working out in his spare time. When he first arrived to his dorm, one of his neighbors gave him a tour around the facilities and explained how everything worked.

“At some point we got to the basement and I realized we had a gym. It was pretty basic, but it was free and had everything I needed. After a few months working out, a friend asked me if he could join. I prepared a basic routine for him, and he liked it so much that we started working out together 3 times a week. After him came 2 more friends, and a few weeks ago another one joined. Now we all go to the gym together and have a great time.”

“As time goes by and they make progress, I teach them new and more complex exercises, always making sure they have the right positions so they do not hurt themselves. It is very fulfilling to see them gain interest in improving their health and to become fitter and stronger every week.”

From this experience, Alberto realized that he learned a lot:

“Helping my friends at the gym has taught me how to detect and understand the needs of the person in front of me. In the future that could help me when dealing with customers, a manager, a colleague... anywhere where empathy and attention to detail are essential skills. I have also become organized in a different way to the academic one: I have to observe how they do the exercises and how they progress, and then change or adapt the routine based on that. Most of the time I have to figure out how to get this information myself, since sometimes their feedback is scarce. Finally, I have also learned how to be a better “salesman”. I had to design the workouts in such a way it was fun and entertaining, so they would not quit after a couple of days.”


Your spare time experiences show the employers who you are

When searching for a job, Alberto found out that he could use these experiences.

He also learned that competition in Denmark is high among job-seekers. Therefore, he realized that you have to put a lot of effort into each and every application, as well as tailor every single application to the specific position and company.

“If you are not a complete match but still want to apply, then an extra effort has to be put in the application letter to show the recruiters that you deserve the job even if you do not meet some of the requirements. Of course, living abroad means that some language barriers will appear, but I am learning Danish so that this will not be a problem in the future.”

“From what I have learned so far, when recruiting graduates, many Danish companies are not so focused on finding a certain set of skills, but they are more interested in getting to know the person behind the CV. In this respect, my spare time activities serve as a means for the company to get a better idea of how I work, how I relate to other people, and if I will be a nice addition to their ranks.”


How to find friends in Denmark

In regards to being an international struggling in your social life, Alberto thinks it is important to take it easy and go step by step.

“Moving abroad is a great opportunity to broaden one’s own comfort zone by discovering new activities, sports, culture, food... but that does not mean that you should leave behind your old hobbies. As a matter of fact, one of the best ways of expanding your network is to try to find people who share your hobbies.”

“If you want to become friends with the Danes then most of the effort will have to come from you probably. Always keep in mind that building solid and durable relationships takes time and care, so don’t give up. In general, try not to become frustrated or anxious if some of the people you meet at the beginning do not crystallise into lifetime friendships. We have all been through this. In time, you will find a group of people who you really enjoy spending time with, and they with you. Lastly, learn to enjoy and appreciate your time in your own company.”

Alberto has a few pieces of advice for anybody moving abroad to start new studies or a new career:

“Find the things you are passionate about and share them with the world. Talk to people, those who think like you and, especially, those who have drastically different points of view. Learn, teach, share, debate. Dive into the local culture and traditions. Find a buddy or language partner if you are in it for the long run. Be empathetic. Keep your mind open and your plans flexible. Expect the unexpected and adapt fast. Set clear goals and be patient. You will pour a lot of effort and care into achieving them, but it all be worth it when you get there.”


About Alberto Barragán Moreno

Alberto camping in Denmark

About Alberto Barragán Moreno

Age: 25 years old

Nationality: Spanish

Study programme: Energy Engineering at AAU in Aalborg

Semester: 10th semester

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