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Getting a student job in Denmark: Like learning A, B, C all over again

young woman by her computer

(Private photo: Aisya Nizar)

Blog |   17. Feb 2021

young woman smiling

Aisya Nizar


“We like your profile and personality, but unfortunately you do not have enough experience for this position,” the hiring manager told me.

One thing when I came here and started as a student at CBS was that I did not know the concept of a “student job”.

It is not common to have a student job back home in Malaysia because most students just study full-time at university.

From my point of view, the definition of a student job is a part-time job (normally maximum 20 hours a week), where the student is employed by a company to work and be assigned specific tasks. It can be on the operational side, accounting, finance, marketing, HR, or in the strategic department.

Being an international student and not knowing how the Danish market works is still a very tough challenge for me. I have sent countless CVs and cover letters to many companies out there through LinkedIn and job portals. Some were positive, some were negative. I have received some positive responses that led me to secure interviews with hiring managers or HR representatives.

However, after the waiting game from the interview, I have been told over the phone, “We like your profile and personality, but unfortunately, you do not have enough experience for this position”.

I had a Danish online class and we learned about the “unwritten rules in the Danish job market”

My determination to secure a student job did not stop there. The rejections motivated me to learn new things and prove to those people that I do have experience.

I would like to share a few things that I have learned while still having no student job that helped me gain so many valuable skills and opportunities.

One: Attending Danish Classes

I am currently attending Danish evening courses at Speak, Hellerup.

To my surprise, not only have I learned new words, but I have also learned about the Danish job market indirectly.

Yesterday, I had a Danish online class and we learned about the “unwritten rules in the Danish job market”. My classmates and I had an interesting discussion comparing our home countries’ unwritten rules with those in Denmark.

One of the unwritten rules that I find interesting in Denmark and I have experienced is “greet colleagues while coming and going”. I remember going to class here, my friends would say “Good morning” when we met up or “Have a good weekend” when we separated.

This is something that I would not have known directly if I was not attending the Danish classes. They are a big help in understanding the culture, language, and rules of society, and achieving a fluent level of Danish (hopefully, one day!).

Two: Volunteer for Students Organizations

I am passionate about contributing back to society and using my energy for something good.

I have therefore been lucky enough to be volunteering as a management team in TechLabs, which I enjoy, as I like the idea of offering students tech training with a blend of modern e-learning. Being an active member of the organization, I have gained countless skills by handling projects and communicating with students.

I have also made new friends who have helped me a lot and taught me a great deal about how to work efficiently in an organization

These skills have helped me to create a set of skills (communication, leadership), and indirectly I know what kind of tasks I enjoy doing. I have also made new friends who have helped me a lot and taught me a great deal about how to work efficiently in an organization.

Indirectly, I am also able to build a valuable network, and this leads to my next point….

Three: Make New Networks!

I remember thinking to myself “Why is building a network so important? I just don’t get it?”

Now, I put myself out there on LinkedIn and try to add people to my connections and socialize on the platform. Corona has made it hard to have physical human interaction, and that is why LinkedIn is a good platform for socializing nowadays.

Here in Denmark, I would say that most employed people have LinkedIn. I have extended my network considerably by volunteering at TechLabs, and adding my Danish course classmates, and my IB classmates.

I have just realized that making a network is super valuable here, and will help you so much in the future in terms of referring to mutual acquaintances. As I mentioned in my last post, the Danes value trust in their society and the network chain here is based on the value of trust that they are proud of in the business community.

Four: Learning Digital Skills

I applied for some marketing student positions and got rejected because I did not have enough skill sets, such as graphic design, content creation, and experience of managing social media accounts. I took that as a challenge and learned some digital skills by learning graphic design through InDesign and Canva.

I would say that I am super satisfied with the result

I implemented the things that I have learned by helping my family’s business LinkedIn profile to scale up brand awareness of the company. I would say that I am super satisfied with the result from this learning outcome that I have gained. Now, there are so many ways to learn digital skills such as YouTube and Coursera.

The key takeaway here is to never stop learning, and knowledge is accessible nowadays.

I wanted to improve myself in so many ways to be prepared for the Danish job market and to also gain more knowledge in skills that I know will be useful for me one day. I hope this would be motivation for some of the international students out there facing the same struggles as I am.

Women smiling

(Private photo by Aisya Nizar)


  1. El Emir says:

    Well said Aisya. Glad to know little about Danish culture from you. Hope to hear more about your helpful tips and amazing stories!!!

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