What do some of our former international students have to say about their job hunt?
On Wednesday 8 May, a panel of four alumni shared their experiences of how they landed a job in Sweden. Current international Masters students had the chance to listen in and hear first-hand about life after studies, while getting some useful tips for the job hunt. Whether it was submitting over 200 job applications or utilising their network, we got the inside scoop from these alumni.
Panel members included Allisa Lindo, Angel Nikolov, Markéta Urbanová and Sarthak Das.
Allisa Lindo is an alumna from the master’s degree programme in Media and Communication Studies, class of 2017. Today, Allisa works as a Growth Marketing Manager at Brandox in the Malmö start-up scene.
Angel Nikolov is an alumnus from the master’s degree programme in Management at the School of Economics and Management, class of 2017. Today, Angel as a Sales Development Representative, reaching out to new potential clients, at Web Manuals in Malmö. He is also board member of the Web Manuals Foundation whose focus is girls’ education and women entrepreneurship in developing countries.
Markéta Urbanová has two degrees from Lund University and is an alumna from the master’s degree programme in Globalisation, Brands and Consumption (2016) and the master’s degree programme in Asian Studies (2018). She started her career in Sweden as a Search Marketer at Sony Mobile Communications. Last year she moved on to try her wings in Denmark and works today as a Digital Marketer at DFDS.
Sarthak Das finished his studies from the Wireless Communications master’s degree programme at the Faculty of Engineering (LTH) in 2016. After a year in Gothenburg, Sarthak is back in Skåne working as a Developer at Ericsson.
Top tips and words of wisdom from the panel:
- Book an “informational fika” (a.k.a. informational interview). This is a great way to network and reconnect with your contacts, who could be helpful in the job search. It is also a chance to present your qualifications, leave a good impression and present them with the opportunity to help.
- When applying for a job, create a map that tells a story of your experience and what you can do, in relation to the job description. Mapping out your skills and experiences based on the job description can help you better construct your cover letter and CV so it stands out to the employer.
- It is good to have a strategy/plan for finding a job, but often times you need to modify it. Be open to that possibility.
- Reach out to interesting companies, even if they don’t have any postings. Or, even if you are not a fit for the posted position, reach out and see if there is a potential position that is similar and/or suitable for you. Sometimes it leads to getting hired, or possibly an internship. Worst case, they simply say no.
- Don’t be scared if you can’t speak Swedish. However, the openness to learn the language is a desirable trait. All panel members got a job without being fluent in Swedish.
- Everyone you know is your network and everyone in your network has a network. That’s lots you can tap in to!
Here are a few tips for networking:
- Attend meetups and events
- Utilise informational interviews/fika
- Write LinkedIn messages to enhance and expand your network
- Check out InterNations.org
- Remember that networking is not only about getting something from others; always present what you can bring to the table
- If you get rejected, ask for feedback. This can help improve your approach in other job applications.
- Our brain is limited to what we know and/or have experienced – so how do we know what our “dream job” really is? Don’t get too locked in on your “dream job” vision.
- Don’t be deterred if you don’t match 100% of the job description. If you are interested or bring something to the position, apply! Think of the job description as the employer’s wish list.
- Reach out to the HR staff during the application process so you’re in their mind when they review your application. (Note: There is a fine line between pushy/needy and genuinely enthusiastic. Keep it professional and contact companies only with relevant questions.)
Bonus tip for engineering students: ARKAD job fair is a good place to meet companies and potential employers!
Lastly, one of the attendees asked our panel, did you panic while waiting to hear back from the companies you applied to? If so, how did you handle that panic? Great question, and yes, they panicked. Our alumni advised that the best way to handle the feeling of panic is to accept that things are not always going to end the way you think…however, it can still be a successful ending. Remember that all job hunters are in the same situation. It is easiest to give up, but don’t do that!
Thank you, once again, to our panel of alumni! Your honest stories and experiences have inspired us all!