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Five tips from the "super student": “How to succeed in the job search process”

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DNV GL employee and author Olav Schewe (29) shares his best tips on how to succeed when searching for your next job.

"I wanted to work in an exciting company that operates globally.”

After Olav Schewe had completed a bachelor's degree from the Norwegian School of Business and Economics (NHH) and a master's degree from the University of Oxford in 2014, the man from Halden chose to apply for the position as Global Trainee in DNV GL.

"I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to work with, which was one of the reasons I would join a larger business with many opportunities. In addition, I wanted to work for an innovative company with a clear social mission,” he says.

Over the past three years, Schewe has specialized in financial tasks in DNV GL and has, among other things, operated as a financial analyst in Singapore.

"The team I was part of had 11 people of 11 nationalities. It was amazingly educational, both professional and cultural.”

In addition to the job as Finance Manager in DNV GL, Schewe is also an author. His best-known books are "Superstudent" and "Job Search Code". The latter he wrote together with recruitment expert Sverre Haugen, and it gives advice to jobseekers on how to make a stronger job search process.

How to succeed in the job search process

“Some jobseekers want to work with people, some with numbers, and some with sales. If there is an overlap between what makes you comfortable and what you want most to do, then you have a good starting point for getting the job you are applying for,” says Schewe.

For candidates who have just started their career, he has five tips before starting the job search process:

  • Customize your application and CV

"No matter what sorts of jobs you apply for, many jobseekers present themselves in the same way. It's natural, but you will benefit from customizing your application text for the current position,” Schewe believes.

He understands that the texts can quickly become similar if many applications are to be sent simultaneously, but believes that many underestimate the effect of tailoring the job application.

“Also your CV should be customized. Oftentimes, only small adjustments will make the reviewer take notice.”

  • Understand what the employer needs 

“This point is related to the above. If you want to apply for a job, you should be careful about what the job actually is,” Schewe says.

He believes that your interest in what the position is about, largely reflects the motivation you have to apply for the job.

"Whether or not you have done your homework will be quickly revealed in both the application and the interview.”

  • Prepare good personal examples 

”You can present yourself as you like when you apply for a new job, but if you do not have any examples that can support your "good leadership skills", "creative skills" or "programming skills", they will lose their power.

Schewe therefore advises to make a list of concrete examples of situations illustrating the aspects you want to emphasise during the interview.

  • Ask questions and be interested

Virtually all interviews end with an opportunity to ask questions of the interviewer.

“Use this opportunity to ask a few questions. It shows that you are really interested and care about the job," said Schewe.

“What if you don’t know what to ask about?”

"There is always something to talk about. For example, you can ask what qualities they are looking for in the ideal candidate, what's best about working in that particular company, or how the process will develop,” Schewe advises.

  • Practice on the interview

It is also important to practice conversation.

“What questions you can get, strong and weak aspects, which concrete experiences to present, and what you want to say about yourself. When you prepare, you think of the answers, but you don’t say them out loud.”

Schewe's advice is therefore to set the time to answer questions and what you would like to convey in the interview.

“Then you will appear both more confident and credible. The best way is to ask friends, or others you know well, to practice with you," he says.

“Part of the game to get rejected”

Most people are not in a situation where they can pick and choose from job offers. For many, it’s all about “getting the fish to bite”. If you are unlucky, unqualified, the labour market is not going well, or you have not prepared yourself well enough, the refusal will be granted.

"It's important to keep in mind that it's quite normal to apply for more jobs than one. It's just a part of the game," says Schewe.

Early in his studies, he himself applied for some 40–50 internships before he was offered a job at the Hydro aluminium group.

“If you get rejected at first, you should learn from it. Ask yourself what you can do better next time. Use the opportunity to ask the employer what caused you to be rejected,” he concludes.

Olav Schewe
DNV GL employee and author Olav Schewe.