I think applying for a student job has always been challenging and involved a lot of self-doubt. How can you turn your academic qualifications and sometimes fluffy course titles into tangible tools and professional skills?
The imposter syndrome kicks in and you might drift into a downward spiral. Do I need to check everything off the list of qualifications to be eligible to apply? How do I make sure that I’m not just another CBS student with a general understanding of finance?
I do not have the answers to all these questions, and it is a jungle out there. A jungle that can often seem very overwhelming and challenging to navigate – especially for someone who already has a bad sense of direction. However, I did manage to find a student job during the pandemic after returning from my fantastic exchange in Korea and reality kicked back in.
I have reflected on three main tips on how to find a student job during a pandemic.
However, I think it is very important to also state that a big part of finding a job, and especially a student job, is also about chance, luck, and personal chemistry. Sadly, the current pandemic, where most interviews take place onscreen, has not made it easier to let your personality shine.
I believe the most effective way to approach finding a student job is to try and treat it like a job. Set time aside to plan it out, do the research, and set it all up nicely.
I know that a lot of people are applying right now, and many people are overqualified for the jobs they are applying for, which does not make the application process any easier. Of course, it all depends on how set you are on a specific company or field of work, but broadening your horizons will, naturally, give you more opportunities.
As a true CBS student, I made an Excel sheet with color-coordinated columns of the company names, job positions, deadlines, and links leading me to the application page. In order to find all these job positions you can, of course, look at the specific company website, but other good external portals are CBS career gate, Djøf’s job site, and the job tab on LinkedIn.
I think LinkedIn is actually a really good tool, even though I believe we already have too many online profiles to keep track of.
That being said, I do think it can be a really good place to highlight your academic and professional achievements in a forum where people pay attention and recognize them. It can also be a place to find great discussion topics for the coffee machine waiting area.
I really think leveraging your network can make all the difference.
In my job search, I really did find my network was a big help with getting information and experiences from their workplaces and good tips on what to potentially focus on when applying to join their companies.
I think the mentality should very much be that you have nothing to lose, and most people are more than happy to help. I found that the first time I overcame the hurdle of reaching out to people, they would mostly go way above and beyond my expectations.
If you know anyone who has recently been an employee or who still works at the given company, reach out!
Pick their brains and get all the dos and don’ts. A lot of application forms also ask whether you know anyone working for the company, and this could be a perfect time to name drop that person (with their permission, of course).
I think it is really important to find something to make you stand out, maybe especially as a CBS student with many of us having the same general academic qualifications. An exchange stay or internship is, of course, a good way to do so but given the current state of the world, this has not been possible for many over the past year.
However, there are still many things you can do to position yourself as a more attractive candidate. Being engaged in CBS organizations can really make a difference. I have my own personal preferences in terms of organizations but, overall, I would encourage everyone to take part in organizational work.
In all the job interviews I had along the way, they would focus mainly on all my organizational engagement at CBS and really acknowledge the skills and experiences that it has given me. The organizational work is voluntary, but you get more than your money’s worth in experience and tangible tools for your future working life and hopefully also some great friends from different study programs along the way.
Depending on the organization, you can acquire skills with project management, stakeholder engagement, risk assessment, teamwork, etc. A lot of the organizations also have very impressive partnership portfolios with all kinds of professional external partners that also give you incredible insight and potential networks within those companies.
On a final positive note
I just want to say that having a student job gives you excellent experience and a chance to gain insight into an industry, but I think it is also really important to remember that you will probably only be a university student for five years, whereas you have at least 50 years ahead of you on the job market.
Enjoy being a student! Engage in the student organization, try out different ways of working, and go for a coffee in between lectures because the flexibility allows it.
I feel extremely fortunate to have a job that I really like but I am equally happy to have taken time to focus mainly on my student life and the incredible initiatives we have the opportunity to be a part of. It would be a shame to not allow yourself to have five years as a student in one of the, in my opinion, best study cities in the world, out of a whole lifetime of work.