How to use your network and references as a new graduate

As a new graduate, you'll have to leave your comfort zone and actively use your network and references during your job hunt.

Everyone has a network. You might think it can´t lead to a job, but there are many ways to use your network when looking for a job.

Everyone has a network

It’s a good idea to use your network as a new graduate. You may not feel that you have a particularly useful network, but you do. And you must use it to find your first job.

“It’s a good idea to use your network when you’re looking for a job as it can help get you closer to the front of the queue.  You’ll have a head start if somebody is already familiar with your abilities and knows that you’ll develop them quickly at the company – which means you’ll also be able to apply for positions that require a bit more experience,” says Julie Navntoft.


Video: What is networking about?

Get a name to use for your unsolicited inquiry

It’s a good idea to check whether you might know someone at the company to which you want to submit an unsolicited enquiry. 

“Then you can be sure that your CV will land on the right desk, and your name will be familiar to other people at the company. Furthermore, you’ll also be sure that the relevant department sees your profile quicker rather than if you had to go through a longer process,” says Julie Navntoft.

It’s important to attend job fairs and have a chat with the department heads at COWI and Rambøll, for example, to see whether your profile might be a good fit for a position there. 

“By talking to representatives from companies, you’ll learn whether they’re interested in hiring new graduates that they can train and shape to the needs of their department. And you’ll have made a contact who can be your access point to specific departments – and to whom you can send your application,” says Julie Navntoft.

Take a few deep breaths and use your network

As a newly graduated academic, you might not feel that your network is bursting with possibilities. But think of your network as every person you’ve been in contact with during your studies. 

“Your network can help you in your job search. Maybe they’re your friends, your fellow students, your teachers, your parents and their friends or your old boss.
Many people will know you well enough to help you during your process.

You’ll need to take a few deep breaths and get out of your comfort zone. It’s best to call, as only few people would turn you down when you ask if they can help with a contact at a company, or if they can keep an eye out for any job openings in their network. Maybe they’ll know someone who knows someone. Most people would like to be known for helping others,” says Julie Navntoft.


Video: Get an overview of your network

Keep references in your back pocket

Be ready with who you will use as a reference when job hunting. It can be colleagues or bosses from your student job, an internship at a company or sabbatical. It can be your professor, supervisor or your teachers. 

“Your references will know your abilities within the areas you’re applying to. However, IDA recommends not including references in your CV because you never know who their data will be forwarded to,” says Julie Navntoft. She continues: 

“You should bring a document to the job interview, which you can hand over to your interviewers if they ask about references.”