Welcome to the warped labor market

When you start searching for your first job, you will be competing with experienced employees. Therefore, you must show companies how your educational background may be valuable to them.

As a graduate, you have to make an extra effort. The labor market for engineers is warped – in the sense that it is easier for an experienced engineer to switch jobs than it is for a recently graduated engineer to get his or her first job.

Capax did a poll, which shows that 13,8 % of 18-29-year-old members of IDA are unemployed, whereas only 2,4 % of members belonging to the older member groups of IDA, who pay their fees to Akademikernes A-kasse, are unemployed. The poll was done in 2015, so rest assured that, in general, the labor market for engineers is improving, and chances are that unemployment for young engineers is likely to drop.

Older members of IDA in Akademikernes A-kasse:

  • 2,4% unemployed

18-29-year-old members of IDA:

  • 13,8% unemployed

Translate your skills
However, this also means that right now, you have to work extra hard to get a job. Therefore, it is important that you let employers know exactly what your qualifications are. Improve your LinkedIn profile, tailor your résumé to fit each and every application, take care to describe in-depth your subjects and courses – the person reading your application may not have any idea which qualifications a “Bachelor in Engineering with a Specialty in Integrated Design” has. It is important that you translate your subjects and courses into skills, which can be easily understood by people in the business.

Being a graduate proves more challenging than being employed, since the supply of engineers exceeds the demand. If you are mobile and willing to relocate because of a job – for instance to Novo Nordisk in Kalundborg or Siemens Wind Power in Brande – you will also increase your chances of getting a job.

Add your name to the catalogue of candidates
Writing résumés and job applications is hard work, especially since, during the last five years, job recruitment agencies have become more professional. Thus, HR departments are now more conscious of whom they would like to employ – and they know how to search for you on LinkedIn – yet, if you have not listed the relevant keywords in English, they will not be able to find you.

If you get a call from a headhunter, you should jump at the chance of getting your name on their catalogue of candidates. If you write unsolicited job applications, you have to work even harder on explaining, in your application as well as in your résumé, exactly how you fit in the company. Capax, a job recruitment agency, estimates that every sixth recent graduate writes unsolicited job applications. Unsolicited applications need to fulfill more requirements, so remember to check out the company’s web site first; do they even accept unsolicited applications?

Further, young recent graduates spend less time cultivating their professional and personal networks than those in their 30s and 40s, who experience getting new jobs through their networks. Primarily, as a student, you surround yourself with people who remind you of you. The key is to be more active and expand your network to include people you meet in study groups, via student jobs, volunteer work, at job fairs, and at professional events.
And, of course: Create job agents at some of the major jobsites. For engineers, ­Jobfinder og JobIndex are most relevant.

Kilde: Christina Just, Capax