Match-making your dream job

What matters when picking your first job after graduate school?

Graduation season is coming up, which means that a lot of student are actively starting to look for a job. As part of that process there will be a lot of questions coming to the surface. What am I good at? What do I want to do? Where can I get paid well? Who should I work for? Which industry am I passionate about? All of these questions are important. However, I will argue that one particular question is more important than the others:

What are my values and do they match the values of the company?

There are several reasons why you should be asking yourself this question:

  • Joining a company is like joining a new family and you will get new brothers and sisters. Some will be annoying and others will be lovely. This is your opportunity to join a family that you care about.
  • You spend more time at work than you do with your companion. Make it count.
  • If you are not passionate about what you do, you will never do a good job. This will affect the company and it will eventually affect your continues career.
  • Your life is short! Why waste time working on something that doesn’t matter to you.

To help you map the companies that match your values I have created a simple model.
I have chosen to call it: “The 3 Core Values Model”

3 core values model by Alexander Hold 20-Feb-2016
3 Core Values Model by Alexander Hold 20-Feb-2016

The model consist of six elements. 3 core values, job function, industry and location.

The 3 core values
The core values are the 3 values that matters the most to you. You must select 3 values that you really care about and which should serve you as a guideline for choosing the right employer. The rational for choosing 3 and not 4 or 5, is that it is important for you to focus. 3 stands for Past, Presence, Future. Birth, Life, Death. However, most importantly you must focus and narrow down what really matters to you.

Job Function
Narrowing down on your preferred job function is very important. Sadly too many graduate students, especially within business are not focused when applying for jobs. Because they are educated generalist, majority will apply to Marketing, Strategy, Finance, Communication, Operations and whatever course they studied in school. The lack of self-awareness affects your concentration and will come across as unprofessional with employers.

Industry
Selecting the right industry is similarly important for you to target your job search. If you know which industry you are really passionate about you can take on any job function and over time excel to become an executive manager of the firm.

Location
Location is for some really important and for other less. A lot of global companies’ value mobility and international profiles do often have a wider variety of companies to select from.

These are my 3 core values that matter the most to me:

Sustainability – as I want to work for an organization that makes a positive impact in the world.
Innovation – as I want to surround myself around people that challenge the status quo and make changes in their industry.
Growth – as I want to accelerate my career and see greater opportunities to excel with a fast growing company.

Now it is your turn to customize the model to fit your values. It is important that you take the time to reflect and figure out what really matters to you. Maybe you are all about fame, money, or maybe you seek security. It is all about YOUR true values.

Playing Bowling with Bumpers

When a student you live in this bobble of cool people, lectures, impressions, and if you are lucky you find some time to reflect on it all. According to the theory that is where the true learning is to be found; reflection.

My friend Oskar Kader shared this analogy of playing bowling with bumpers. At the time I didn’t think about it; however, when giving it some thought I realized that it’s a great analogy for growing up in Denmark. When living abroad you meet a lot of people from different cultural background. As you get to know these people and you hear their stories, it becomes obvious that the simple nature of where you were born has a great impact on the opportunities that is given to you.

When born in Denmark, you have to do pretty bad not to live a decent life, catering for the majority of the needs you might have. Every citizen is offered free education, access to free hospitals, and the government will even provide for you if you can’t do so yourself. These are privileges that people of the 3rd world can only dream of. The good thing is that they are actually dreaming and they are working extremely hard to change the nature of their social and financial status in society.

In other words; growing up in Denmark is like playing bowling with bumpers, whereas the majority of the world’s population is playing bowling without and is aiming for the strike.

The privilege of fresh air

Oh I am so privileged! So privileged to breathe fresh air, so pure and clean that 50 years from now, my doctor will compare my lungs with that of a new born child. However, that isn’t the reality for certain regions of this plant and I have come to discover that with my recent move to Singapore.

When growing up in Scandinavia, no one is questioning the quality of the air. True there is smog and pollution in the air mainly from cars and from a few fossil fuel power plants. All over the air quality is considered very well on the PM10 and PM2.5 indexes.

However, that is not the case everywhere in the world and currently Singapore is one of those places. Not that Singapore choose to be a polluted environment, but because of its geographical location that allow its neighbors to contaminate the air of Singapore. Every year Indonesia is hit by forest/wild fires that are intended to clear the land and make space for plantations, mainly for producing palm oil and paper.

Naturally the firers causes smoke that is send into the air and can travel for hundreds of miles, depending on the size of the particles in the smoke. This is defines as haze, which is currently contaminating the populations of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and other neighbors. The implications over time can be serious health issues and in worst case lung cancer.

When living and experiencing this smoke season, where people are encouraged to wear N95 masks, and avoid outdoor activity. That is when you realize that fresh clean air is not a birthright and something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. A lot of people’s health is jeopardized for somebody else’s profit. A professor of Nanyang Technological University shared this article about how we as political consumers can exercise our powers to avoid haze in the future. Exercise Consumer Power to Fight the Haze

If you want to know more about the effect of haze, the Straits Times shared this explanatory article, which features a live satellite map provided by NASA, showing the fires all over South East Asia. Straits Times Haze Graphics

Fires South East Asia