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When Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen applies for jobs as a recent graduate, she doesn't get interviews. This changes after a career counseling session with FTFa, as Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen discovers what motivates her in a job. Today, she sits on the other side of the table in a permanent position as a leader, responsible for 70 employees.

Looking for jobs - 06. September 2023 - Charlotte Lange

31-year-old Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen loves her job. Every day, she ensures that delicious food is prepared for many of the municipality's administrative staff and elderly residents in nursing homes. Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen is employed in "Mad & Måltider" under the Health Administration in Odense Municipality and is responsible for seven staff canteens, a guest chef arrangement for the municipality's nursing homes, and "Blomsterservice."

However, the importance of leadership as a crucial factor for Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen's job satisfaction was not immediately apparent to her when, in the summer of 2021, she graduated with a health-related master's degree on top of a PBA in nutrition and health and was about to start job hunting.

"My education is really broad. And that's both its strength and potentially its weakness when facing the job market. What can I directly apply? What can I do?" Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen asks herself.

Therefore, the jobs she chooses to apply for are selected very carefully. Leadership is not a skill that Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen mentions in her applications as a recent graduate, and she doesn't get interviews.

"It's as if I don't have the words for the position I want. I fall short in the way I write a CV and an application. I have a lot to offer, but cutting it down or explaining it is difficult," recalls Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen.

After four months on unemployment benefits and several rejections, Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen's motivation wanes. Fortunately, at that time, she meets Martin Nielsen, who is a job and career counselor at FTFa.

Finding a Safe Space

Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen and Martin Nielsen meet once a month.

"Our meetings became a sanctuary, which was both about job hunting and about me. With Martin, I could vent and share my frustration. He was good at catching that it was okay to be annoyed and demotivated," explains Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen, elaborating:

It was an incredible gift to be allowed to sit and talk with someone whose job is to be present with me, listen to my frustration, and analyze what my next step should be. Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen

Part-time Job as Chief Barista is a Clue

After a few conversations with Martin Nielsen, it becomes increasingly clear to Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen that she should focus on leadership in her applications.

"Martin was good at putting keywords on everything I told him about and saying, "try to focus a bit on this." Coordination, organization, and leadership were recurring themes," says Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen.

It's her part-time job as a chief barista that shows Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen that she should move in the direction of leadership.

"My part-time job as a chief barista was the best job I've had. I had responsibility, and I had some frameworks to adhere to, but there was also a lot of creativity and flexibility within those frameworks. I liked that I could switch between administrative tasks and something very concrete," says Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen.

Therefore, Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen adjusts her CV and highlights her specific leadership experiences from both part-time jobs and volunteer work.

Gets Temporary Job via LinkedIn

Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen and Martin Nielsen also make a plan for how she should apply for jobs. It includes, among other things, that Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen should reach out to people on LinkedIn who work at companies she would also like to work for.

When Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen finds "Mad & Måltider" in Odense Municipality, she immediately knows that it's an organization with an exciting strategy that aligns perfectly with Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen's expertise and leadership values.

"I found the head of "Mad & Måltider" on LinkedIn. I had never met her, but I could see we had many mutual contacts, so I sent her a request. She accepted my request, and we were linked."

They meet for a coffee, and Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen is offered a temporary position. She works there for two months. Afterward, she's job hunting again until she applies for a leadership position at "Mad & måltider," which she gets.

It's Okay to Feel Disappointed

Looking back on her time as a job seeker, Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen recalls both frustration and gaining insight into herself.

"When you don't get interviews or are rejected for a job, it's okay to take the time to feel disappointed. It's okay to be annoyed and frustrated, and even to be sad. You should allow yourself to feel disappointed for a while, but then you should put that disappointment aside, take your thoughts and experiences with you, and move on because you've definitely become wiser and need to start from a new point," explains Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen, emphasizing:


I believe there is an important thought process and some crucial learning in attending those job interviews or receiving those rejections. Hannah Tinggaard Nielsen


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