Tips and tricks for career development
If you are an international student looking for work in Norway you might find this information useful.
This is an introduction to how you can find vacant positions in Norway. You will also find links to websites that provide more information.
We also suggest that you look at the webpage Work in Norway - the official page
Work permit for non-EU students
Please refer to your residence permit card about your eligibility to work while studying at NMBU. The back of your permit card will specify how many hours per week you can work. For first-time study permits, the part-time work permit is for maximum of 20 hrs/week during the semester and full time in the vacation periods. Part-time work permits for renewals can be adjusted down depending on the student’s academic performance.
Work for EU/EFTA/EEA students
Once you have registered at the local police as living in Norway and you receive your registration certificate (registreringsbevis), you are allowed to work in Norway.
When you work in Norway, employers will ask for your tax card because they are responsible for paying your income tax. Until you have a tax card, you will be taxed 50%. You can contact the tax authorities to find how to order a tax card. For more information go to Skatteetaten website.
Regardless of whether you are looking for a professional job or a part-time job, the most important factor for your success is to know Norwegian. Although many Norwegians master English quite well, the fact is that most employers prefer to be able to communicate with their employees in Norwegian. Therefore, the best advice we can give you is to learn Norwegian as soon as possible.
Norwegian classes are offered at:
Job opportunities for non-Norwegian speakers
There are some types of jobs you can apply for even if you do not master Norwegian - but speaking English is a necessity. Here are some examples:
- Newspaper delivery
- Advertisement distribution
- Warehouse work
- Production work within industry
- Embassy work
- Work in restaurants/pubs/cafeterias, e.g. cook, waiter, dishwasher (particularly in restaurants/pubs with a profile from your native country)
- Businesses with English as working language (e.g. big international companies)
- Travel-business: guide/courier (here it is an advantage to master several languages)
- Seasonal work in agriculture (e.g. picking strawberries)
- Packing of books, fruit etc.
- Forwarding and transportation
- Park service/gardening
- Providing private services (gardening, baby-sitting, maintenance work, cleaning, handiwork)
- Work in moving companies
How to find vacant positions
- Search the Internet – good web search pages are: NAV, FINN, jobbnorge.no, linkedIn.com, careergate.nmbu.no
- Contact a temporary staff recruitment agency – e.g.: Manpower, Adecco, Proffice, Express Rekruttering, Stepp Inn
- Look for job advertisements in store windows and on message boards
- Read professional journals and specialized magazines
- Contact employers directly
If you come from a European country, you can look for vacant positions in Norway from your home country through EURES (European Employment Service).
At velkommenoslo.no you will find a very informative page with lots of useful information in English for foreigners in Norway. There is also a separate page on job hunting.
If you are unsure about choice of study, opportunities for work or want to plan your competence it is important to see what the options are. On this web page we have gathered some tests and tools you can try in order to find out what you like and have interest to do. Find what your strengths are and read about the application process as well.
Have a look to:
- Find out what motivates you and the work that suits you
- Have a look at strategies for improved study technique
- Survey and plan your competence
- Review the career choices
- Make a career plan to reach your goals in a longer term
The NMBU Business Committee (Næringslivsutvalget (NU)) is a student driven contributor towards building network for the students with local companies. One of their activities is the Career Day, where you could possibly meet your future employer, or that you will find assignment collaboration, or even part-time job or summer job. On this web page you will find more information about the NU and about the Career Day in the autumn semester 2023.
Job search - how to
There are often many applicants for the same job. How can you stand out among others with similar background?
It is very important to customize your application and CV for the position you are applying for. Therefore study the ad thoroughly to determine how your qualifications match the job description. Underline the key words. A god job application and CV will make sure that the match between your qualifications and employer’s requirements is immediately obvious.
If you are a student or newly graduated, you usually don’t have a lot of relevant work experience. Still, you might have gained skills that are needed for the job.
- What are you good at?
- What subjects/courses do you like the most? What in particular are the reasons that you like them?
- What is your dream job?
- Why is that your dream job?
- What have you learned through your studies and work experience?
- Do you like to work on a team or independently – what is your experience with independent and team- based work?
- What role do you take on a team? Do you for example take the initiative, are you the promoter, the creative one, or do you make sure the work is done?
- What is your working capacity? Have you had jobs besides your studies? What about your other positions, tasks or duties and voluntary work?
- Do you have any professionally relevant hobbies?
- Have you been living abroad (studied, worked)? What surprised you the most when living abroad? What impact has the experience of living abroad had on you?
- Have you achieved any concrete results you can refer to? A project/thesis delivered on time can for example show your capability of completing a task.
- Ask a friend, fellow student or colleague how she/he would describe you.
It will be easier to write a god job application and prepare yourself for a job interview after you have analyzed your qualifications and you feel confident about them.
CV (short for curriculum vitae) is a summary of a person’s experience and qualifications from education and professional life (Store norske leksikon). It is usual to enclose a CV when applying for a job.
There is no single “correct” way to write a CV or template to use. The standard templates may also differ from country to country. These suggestions are intended for jobs in Norway.
The CV should be clear and easy to read. It should be written in a simple and objective language without spelling mistakes. Every CV should be customized for the position you are applying for.
CV should contain:
- Personal details and picture, this is optional (top of the page)
- Education and qualifications
- Work experience
- Experience from other positions, tasks or duties and voluntary work
- Computer skills
- Language skills
- Relevant key skills. Target them directly to match those required for the job as advertised.
- Relevant hobbies and interests - this is optional
- References -there are no rules to whether you should write your referees in the CV, or not. (You should contact them first if you choose to include them in your CV, so they could be prepared and know what kind of a job you are applying for.)
CV should be no longer than two pages.
Write your work experience, education etc. in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent events.
Education: Describe your education shortly. If you have taken a course that is especially relevant for the advertised job, highlight it. Include the school attended and dates of study (beginning and degree year and date).
Work experience: Include jobs you have had even though they don’t seem relevant to the advertised job. It is important for a newly graduated to show work experience. Think about what you have learned through those jobs. Were you given any specific responsibilities? If you have worked in a store, have you gained customer experience, counselling and sales experience. Have you experienced teamwork? Describe in few words what was included in your position. Compare it to the requests in the ad. Highlight your experiences that corresponds to what the employer is looking for. Write dates of employment (month and year of beginning and end).
Other positions, tasks or duties and voluntary work: This shows that you are engaged and have interests besides your studies. What have you learned through those activities? Were you responsible for finances, marketing or something else? If you have gained the skills that are relevant to the advertised job, describe shortly your position, tasks and duties.
International experience: Have you studied or worked abroad? A lot of employers are looking for students with this kind of experience.
Honors and awards: Have you got any honors or awards, for example through student enterprise or professionally related competitions, mention them in your CV.
What are employers looking for when hiring someone? These two main questions need answering:
- Why do you want to work here? (What really motivates you for this job)
- What can you offer in this job? (What makes you the right person for this job)
Your job application should therefore be a direct reply to the advertisement.
The job application and CV provides a prospective employer’s first impression of you. Try to capture the employer´s interest from the beginning.
A job application typically consists of three parts: introduction, body and closing. Here are some tips on what to pinpoint:
Describe your interest in the particular opening and highlight the reasons you are the right person for the job, to show your motivation for the post. Be precise about what inspires you instead of just saying “that you are motivated for the job”.
The body of your application should tell why you would perform well in this job. Give examples of your skills and/or qualifications from your CV that you believe make you a particularly strong candidate for the job. Mention experience from studies, specialization or case work, voluntary or other work and hobbies that are likely to be important for the position you are applying for. Describe your personal qualities that are relevant to the job. Illustrate how you think your qualifications and experience can contribute to the organization. Avoid discussing weaknesses, focus on what you can do.
Finally, you should sum up. You can briefly reaffirm your interest in the role. Convince the employer that you are a safe and god choice.
- Never use the same application twice. You can certainly re-use elements from your previous applications, but it is very important that you tailor every single application to the specific job advertised.
- Review your application. Is it persuasive? Ask someone you trust to give it a second look.
- It is very important to format your application neatly, both from a content (the information you include) and presentation (what you application looks like) perspective.
- A job application shouldn’t be more than one page.
- Use simple and natural language, avoid obviousness and too many details.
- Have you marked your application with the correct reference number, if the job ad contains it?
- Double check it for spelling and grammar. Make sure that the names of the company and hiring manager are correct. Spelling errors leave a bad impression.
- Have you enclosed certified copies of your diploma, other certificates and references, if requested?
- It is usual to send application electronically by e-mail or in recruiter tools.
- If you send your application via snail mail, make sure you mark the envelope the way it derives from the ad.
You can contact the company about the status of your application if you haven’t heard back from your potential employer within 2-3 weeks after the closing date.
Both layout and expected content in a CV varies from country to country. Make sure that your CV is fit for the Norwegian labour market.
About to finish your studies and looking for work? Stay in touch with your academic network. A good network can be a deciding factor on you being selected for the dream position.
Networking is one of the most common recruitment channels for many companies, and some positions are never advertised.
- Your university network is very important, even after you have finished your studies. In the future, many of your fellow students will be working in industries and companies that are of interest to you. If you connect with them now, you will be able to contact them later, for example if you are interested in a position in the company a former fellow student works in, or wish to organise a student reunion.
The word alumni is an international collective term for former students, and networks through the university are called alumni networks.
All NMBU graduates are recommended to become part of the NMBU Alumni, our network of former students. We facilitate knowledge sharing, competence enhancement and networking, among other things. This way you can stay in touch with your fellow students and the university, and the university can stay in touch with you.
LinkedIn is the world largest professional network, and having a good LinkedIn profile is becoming increasingly important. Making yourself searchable in NMBUs alumni overview on LinkedIn will make it easier for fellow students, NMBU staff, and others looking for your expertise to find you. Update your education site to NMBU, and check to see if you are appearing.
By having contacts on social media such as LinkedIn, you don't have to worry about being left with an invalid e-mail address or phone number when you want to get in touch. By liking, sharing and creating posts, you can also make yourself interesting and visible to a potential future employer.
NMBU has a career portal: careergate.nmbu.no. Companies can upload job postings, academic collaboration and search for people in the database to find interesting candidates. It is therefore advisable to create a good profile on careergate. Here are ten tips on how to do it:
- Upload a profile picture. Make sure that the picture shows you from the shoulders up and preferably with a white background. If you don't have a profile picture, you can have a friend take your picture with your phone. You can use a selfie, but the photo often gets better if photographed by others.
- Complete the summary. Write a brief description about yourself. It may include what you are studying, the topic on your master's thesis, and what you want to do in the future. This can be, for example, what you imagine you want to work with, certain subject areas you find extra interesting, etc. The summary should be forward-looking.
- Fill in your education. If you have a CV already, or a LinkedIn account, you can copy in a lot from these. Remember to give a brief description of your education. For example, describe subject areas, any bachelor's theses or other major projects or assignments you have done or plan to do.
- Enter your work experience and work-related tasks. Add everything, even if you think it's not relevant. It is nice to show that you have work experience, employers do not expect you to have relevant experience yet. These could be keywords employers look for. For example, if you have worked in a grocery store, you can enter customer care. This experience will be attractive in many different positions such as consultant.
- Have you been on study exchange? Enter it in the field “exchange stay” and give a brief description of your subject areas. Perhaps you were able to take some subjects that are particularly relevant to your studies or not offered at NMBU?
- Add skills. These are keywords that allow you to show up in searches. Examples of skills can be sustainability, climate and environment, renewable energy, economics, statistics, etc. Start typing and suggestions will often come up. Don't be modest and think that you should know everything really well to add a skill.
- Have you had positions or volunteer work? Create a new section and use the heading "Recruit" or "volunteer". If you are a member or hold positions in an association that has names that may seem a little strange outside NMBU's world, you might call it social association J. If you have had responsibilities, it is nice if you describe these briefly.
- Enter language skills.
- Upload your CV.
- Finally, check that your profile shows as 100%. If not, go through and see if there's anything you've forgotten.
One of the most important things you can do is to be well prepared.
Analyze the job posting and research the company: Visit the company web page, review the company mission statement, learn about their culture and business needs. Read up on the company’s latest news and updates. You have to go beyond the explanation that you have recently graduated and that advertised position suits you. The employer wants to be sure you really want the job and you are the right person to do it. Your passion and motivation for launching your career is a selling point.
Do you know someone who works there? They can help you find inside information.
Review the job posting. Are the job description, duties and requirements evident? Is there something vague? This can be a starting point for your own questions during the interview.
Read your application and CV once more. The interviewers will often use what you have written as a starting point of the interview.
“Tell me about yourself” is one of the most asked interview questions. Think about what do you want the interviewer to know about you when you leave? Rehearse. Employers want to get to know you as a person: your background, interests and personal qualities as well as your professional skills. Remember – the employer is not hiring a diploma, but a person.
Prepare yourself for the difficult questions. Practice your responses to the questions about your weaknesses, how you can contribute to their company and why they should hire exactly you. Practicing will make you feel self confident in an interview. Think through your own strengths and weaknesses, and provide concrete examples for them, if possible.
Dress code: Regardless of the work environment, it is important to dress professionally for a job interview. Research dress codes for your position and company.
Job interviews differ from one another, but they do have some common features. There are several different types of job interviews, depending on the different industry, employer, and how many interviews they tend to do.
Examples of different types of interviews: structured interview where employer follows a scheme with questions, candidate group interview and case based interview. The most usual kind is a structured interview. You will usually be informed if another type of interview will be conducted. You will generally meet two to five persons (interviewers). The interview will sometimes be conducted by a recruiter, but it is likely that the employer will be joining the interview.
It is quite common that hiring managers begin the interview by explaining shortly what the company does and what they are looking for in candidates for the advertised job. After that you will be asked questions and that is the main part of the interview. Most of the employers save some time for your questions as well at the end of the interview. If the interview ends without a brief discussion of what the next steps are, ask: What is next in the hiring process, can you give me a rough estimate of when you expect to make a hiring decision, when do you think you can get back to me?
Focus on the questions and keep your answers short and to the point when being interviewed. Show engagement and enthusiasm for the position as well as for the company.
Pay attention to:
- Punctuality (Be on time).
- Dress appropriately, research the company’s dress code.
- Firm handshake, eye contact and a smile.
- It is perfectly normal to be nervous. Employers know that.
Rehearse answering questions in preparation for the interview. Some typical questions:
- Tell me about yourself.
- How would you describe your strengths?
- How would you describe your weaknesses?
- Tell me about a successful project you have worked on.
- What did you do in the years that are missing from your CV?
- How can you contribute to our company?
- What are your greatest abilities in a work situation?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- Why should we hire you?
Several tools and tests have been developed that can help you if you are unsure about your choice of study, if you are going to orient yourself in the labor market or just unsure how to plan your career.
The reason why more companies use tests when hiring is that they want to reduce the possibility of hiring errors. There are many different tests, and many different suppliers of tests. It is most likely that you will have to undergo tests when applying for a job in large companies in both the private and public sectors. It is less common to use tests in smaller businesses.
If you have been asked to take a test in connection with a job search, you may want to look at the tests in advance. This is especially important if you are going to take an aptitude test. You should take the test when you are focused, concentrated and clear in your head. On personality tests, it is important to answer honestly.
Aptitude tests: Maps your cognitive tests and general intelligence. The purpose is to measure your ability for logical and analytical thinking and your potential to learn new things. Aptitude tests can be used to screen out relevant candidates even before the job interview. Since the aptitude tests measure general intelligence and logical thinking, there is little point in practicing these.
Proficiency tests: Maps specific skills, such as language skills or how fast and accurately you type on your computer keyboard. It is possible to train yourself for better results. For example, if you know that you will be tested in English, you may want to brush up on both your speaking and writing skills in English. Such tests are commonly used at all levels of the recruitment process, so they are just as likely to be tested at the initial interview as later in the process. These tests can also be used to screen out relevant candidates even before the job interview.
Personality tests: The most common form of tests. It is different from the other two types in that there is no right or wrong answer. It's more about assessing how your personality fits the tasks to be performed in that particular job. The goal is to map general behavioural patterns and tendencies among the candidates. Not to define what type of person you are, but to predict typical behavior patterns, such as whether you're introverted or extroverted. Personality tests can be used at all levels of the recruitment process but are used more from the point of having progressed from the initial rounds.
Free practice tests (examples)
- The Job Compass: Not sure what you want to become? Try the job compass. Here you can choose an area you are interested in and find professions that can fit.
- Personality test based on OPQ32R, which is one of the most used personality tests in Norway.
- Personality test: 16 personalities
- Job Test Help
You have finally been called in for an interview, but are you aware that there are questions that the employer cannot ask you? The prohibitions exist to prevent factors that are not relevant to the job from being emphasised in a recruitment process.
An interview is not only important to you, but also to the companies that conduct them. Hiring new people is often a challenge, and hiring the wrong person can be expensive. Therefore, companies often think that it will be worthwhile to do as thorough a survey of candidates as possible. However, the right to ask questions related to certain topics is subject to strict restrictions.
Norwegian law applies
It is Norwegian law that specifies what is illegal for employers to ask questions about. The guidelines come from the Working Environment Act and the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act. It is illegal for employers to discriminate against candidates based on the topics below. In that case, it is also not legal to ask for anything that indicates these topics, unless it is particularly relevant to the position in question.
Topics that are not allowed to be asked about:
Age: although it is very common to state one's age in a resume, it is forbidden to discriminate on the basis of age when hiring processes. It is forbidden to prioritize younger applicants over others, but it is still something that happens occasionally. But it is forbidden to do it systematically and deliberately.
Sexual orientation: it's illegal for employers to ask you about your sexual orientation. It shouldn't matter what orientation you have for whether you are going to get a job or not.
Religion and belief: some jobs may require employees to put down religious symbols, but the religion or beliefs you practice should not determine whether or not you get a job offer.
Ethnic origin: a good number of jobseekers state that they experience that the Norwegian job market chooses them not to have a foreign name. It's illegal, but it's very difficult to actually prove that employers are doing it systematically. In an interview, it is also not allowed to ask about ethnic origin.
Political views and unionization: what political beliefs you have should not determine whether you can get a job or not. Your job prospects should also not be affected if you are a member of a trade union.
Disabilities and health: it is forbidden to ask you or others you know, such as family members, friends, your doctor or previous employers, about your health condition. It is also forbidden to ask if you are pregnant or have plans to become pregnant. Nor is there an opportunity to ask about adoption or cohabitation.
There has been discrimination when the employer asks a question that concerns these issues, but there are grey areas that make the questions sometimes legal.
Exceptions and borderline
As a general rule, the employer is not allowed to ask about these topics. However, if the questions are particularly relevant to the position being applied for, the employer can ask them without breaking the law. However, if the employer plans to ask such questions in advance, this must be stated in the job advertisement. As an example, questions related to health will be limited by whether it is important to clarify whether the candidate can perform the work task stated in the job advertisement. However, questions related to previous sick leave must not be asked about.
What the employer can ask about
Questions asked during an interview should preferably be related to the employment relationship. They should shed light on the candidate's suitability and qualifications for the position. Relevant topics to investigate will include professional competence, cooperation skills and reliability. For the employer, it is also interesting to map the candidate's mood, type of person and the like. Questions like this will be quite crucial to how a person will fit into the work environment of their company.
The employer has the opportunity to ask about drugs such as alcohol and smoking. This is not defined as a disease, and is therefore not included in the health topics that cannot be asked.
If you are asked illegal questions
If you find that you are asked questions that are not legal and that you do not want to answer at the interview, you can ask about the relevance of the question according to the position. Then an explanation for the question must be provided. You have to assess for yourself whether the explanation is good enough, but often they will realize it is not relevant anyway, and take it back. You have no obligation to answer these questions, but you often have to weigh up what the risk of answering is, versus questioning why the question is being asked.
The article is based on sources from arbeidsom.no, arbeidsrettsadvokater.no and NRK.no/ vestfoldogtelemark.
Phone number: 67230123,
Where to find SiT: The Clock building, Ole Sverres plass 1 1433 Ås,
Postal address SiT: Postboks 5003 NMBU, 1432 Ås
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