Union Views: Graduation – then what? – The Post

Union Views: Graduation – then what?

You thought your studies were bad, but the real work starts this summer (photo: istock)
May 7th, 2016 7:00 pm| by Steen Vive
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

We are closing in on graduation day. In a few weeks, thousands of university graduates will hand in their theses – and by thousands, I literally mean thousands.

I imagine the majority of them will be looking for jobs. To paraphrase Game of Thrones: ‘Summer is coming’, but at the large corporations, summertime results in a recruitment shutdown.

Luckily, there are alternatives. I just read a joint study by Djøf and Håndværksrådet predicting there will be at least 13,000 new jobs suitable for the leavers at small and medium-sized companies across the country.

If I were a graduate, I would spend my summer trying to land one of those jobs.

Essential skills
The study investigated the skills these companies demand, and the top four are: sales (e.g strengthening the pipeline to increase sales among new and existing customers); marketing (e.g conducting market analyses and launching new products); communication (e.g updating homepages and newsletters); and business development (e.g facilitating process and workflow improvements).

These needs closely fit the skillsets many graduates possess. But what are these companies looking for, and what is it like working for one?

A strategic generalist
Companies want generalists who can complete a variety of tasks. The companies all have projects they need completed, but they might not necessarily know what skills are required to do so. Thus, employees are hired based on a combination of who they are and what they can do.

I have talked to several people who chose this career path. They told me that entry positions often cover a range of practical tasks. Therefore, operational skills are important.

By solving practical tasks, employees get an understanding of the core business. This understanding makes employees practical and realistic when solving analytical tasks. Once employees start combining operational activities with development across their job functions, they begin to create true value.

Diligent job-searching
Unfortunately, these companies rarely post positions. Instead, prospective employees need to go through the business sections in newspapers searching for leads and to contact the companies unsolicited.

This can be time-consuming, so it would be a good idea for graduates to spend their summers tackling this task.

Steen Vive


Steen is senior advisor at Djøf, the Danish Association of Lawyers and Economists. He is a blogger and manager of various projects aimed at generating jobs in the private sector. In this column he writes about trends and tendencies in the labour market. Follow him on Twitter @SteenVive