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Time to apply – who are we looking for?

Category: Business Processes European Finance Global & European Market Access Global Finance Global Marketing Global Procurement Product Supply R&D Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control Graduate Programme R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (2) comments

The deadline for applying for one of the graduate programmes is closing in – you have to send in your application here no later than 12 February 2017. I can imagine that many of you who are considering applying for one of the graduate programmes have thoughts about what type of people Novo Nordisk is looking for. So to clarify this, I will briefly go through the formal qualifications needed to apply, but also the profile and characteristics we hope to find and how you can implement this in your application.

Formal qualifications needed to apply:

  • A Master’s degree from 2016 or 2017 in a relevant field (depending on which programme you apply for, but it could be economics, international business, public health, marketing or similar).
  • Above average academic achievements.
  • A minimum of 6 months of relevant work experience or extracurricular activities.
  • International experience from working, studying or volunteering.
  • Professional fluency in English.
  • The right mind-set with a can-do attitude, high ambitions and excellent interpersonal skills.

The graduate profile we are looking for is characterised by being:

  • Driven – You have to know why you want to work for Novo Nordisk and why you want to be part of the graduate programme.
  • A team player – You should be able to work well in teams and have a humble attitude. Great work is not done by one person alone, but in a team, so we expect you to have a team player mind-set.
  • Proactive – You have to be ready to take initiative and show enthusiasm. We need people who are proactive and not sitting around waiting for someone else to do something.
  • Ready for change – You will be put through three different rotations (read more about the rotations in European Market Access here), so we want someone who can adapt and enjoys change.
  • Result oriented – You have to be able to deliver results and be a high achiever. We are looking for talents who knows what they want and who can deliver great results.

A good way of demonstrating that you possess these characteristics is by giving concrete examples! This applies to both your cover letter, but also in interviews. Examples are great because your previous behaviour in job situations is the best indicator of your future behaviour. The examples shouldn’t be too long, so don’t explain all the details. Instead you should emphasize your role, who was involved and what the results were. And most importantly – what did you learn from it? Remember that the best example may not necessarily be one where you achieved the best result, but where you played a major role and your great competencies were expressed clearly. If you are lucky, it might be the same example.

So, use examples in your online application (including the 1-minute video) to show who you are and why Novo Nordisk should hire you for a graduate position. Read other good tips and tricks for the application process here and here. I wish you the best of luck with your application and feel free to leave a comment or a question below!

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The video.

Category: Business Processes European Finance Global & European Market Access Global Finance Global Marketing Global Procurement International Operations Business International Operations Finance Product Supply R&D Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control Graduate Programme R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (0) comments

Creating a video to accompany your traditional CV would be a great way to stand out from the crowd. So, do not fear the video, the video is your friend!

The video was actually my favourite part of the application. It really gives you a chance to put a human touch on your application package and provide more insights into what you can offer. Yes, the video can be challenging. Depending on the person, one minute can seem like either way too little or way too much time. Here are a few tips to nail your video:

Look good, feel good, play good. The quality of the video isn’t tied to just that one minute in front of the camera – it also matters how you prepare. Clean up and rest up so that you feel at your best! Like I said, your video can show things about yourself that can’t be captured on a cover letter and CV!

Don’t repeat yourself. This helps us make sure you’re not a robot. Try not to repeat exactly what can be read from your cover letter and CV for the whole minute. Sure you can refer to a couple of relevant aspects, but make sure to tie them to yourself as a person. For example, I spoke more about my experience moving from Canada to the US and how it sparked my interest in the way the relationship between the public and private sectors impact patient access to treatment (personal), ultimately pushing me to study Public Policy & Global Health (on CV).

The most repetitive advice of the day – be YOU. It really doesn’t get simpler than this. Make sure to reflect on who you are as a person – what makes you a unique fit for Novo Nordisk, specifically – and show it in your video. A sense of authenticity can definitely be captured over a video, so make sure to show that.

These tips should set you well on your way to making a video that George Lucas would be proud of! If you are still on the stage of your cover letter, check out some advice from Albert here.

The deadline is Feb 12th for most programmes, so get applying!

All the best,


"Don't make the same mistake that I did, Luke."

“Don’t make the same mistake I did, Luke” said the robot.









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Déjà vu! Giving Your Application a Purpose and a Voice

Category: Business Processes Global Finance Global Marketing Global Procurement International Operations Business International Operations Finance Product Supply R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs Uncategorized | (3) comments

Are you having that weird feeling between excitement and dread that accompanies an application process to that prestigious programme you have been eyeing for some time now? Are you incessantly searching for some quick tips to make your application standout from the rest? Will you be eagerly checking your e-mails from time to time for some communication from the programme post application process – yes, even the “automated system generated” responses? If all these are true to an extent, then I can draw two conclusions – (a) You are super excited about this job; (b) The emotions look all familiar to me in hindsight and I can help you here;

Back in early 2015, I have gone through this gamut of emotions, and I realise today that most of them stemmed from uncertainty and my apprehensions about the role and workplace that I am getting into. Through this post I will share with one of the key ingredients that you could be missing out while you are preparing and working on your CV, Cover Letter and the Video. This ingredient, or its lack thereof, may well impact the quality of all the three (i.e. your CV, Cover Letter and the Video). Remember that these three uploads, will essentially represent you and all that you stand for in the first round. Hence it is important to pay heed to the content of your application. In all these three, you should project what you stand for and why you want to join Novo Nordisk. So how do you bring this element of purpose and give your application a voice?

Your step by step guide to researching a company throughout your application process

Step 1: Know the company and what they are looking for in you?

NN LogosThe best way to convince yourself that you know the company well is to be able to articulate what makes it special compared to its competitors. And yes, a little bit of its history. The good news? Companies will often tell you the answer to this question right on their websites. Do figure out the vision of the company and try answering how your experience could contribute to that effect or where you could possibly fit in the scheme of things. The “About Us” section is good place to start this research. Based on the programme you are applying, you should have a clear train of thought as to how this programme will essentially help you develop and enable you to contribute to the company’s success. And the best place to showcase this understanding of yours is in your cover letter and of course in your short video.

Step 2: Know the company’s sustainability

The new generation workforce is fast starting to realise that a company’s financial performance is not the only thing that will make them attractive but whether a company is viable and sustainable over a longer time frame. And how to know thTBLis? Social consciousness is becoming a critical aspect of today’s organisations, driven by an expectation of environmental responsibility in addition to the financial one. Think triple bottom line; people, planet, profit. For example, Novo Nordisk seeks to broaden the focus on the financial bottom line by its business to include social and environmental responsibilities. What do you think of this? Be prepared.

Step 3: Observe and participate in Community Interactions

In this era of social media, community interaction is an essential source of knowledge. Blog sites as these, Company’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter profiles – are just few prominent ones to follow the updates on. This will give you a lot of confidence when you are applying and even during the post application – pre-interview phase.

Step 4: Learn about the Company Culture

Understanding the corporate culture you are getting into will go a long way in identifying yourself with the organisation. As a student we often look at how strong a company’s financials are and how big a brand it has. There can be absolutely no doubt as to how strong the brand of Novo Nordisk is and its strong financials are a testimony to the positive market sentiments around it. But there is one more thing I have realized as an insider that makes Novo Nordisk an organisation with a truly “sustainable competitive advantage”: The Novo Nordisk culture! It mainly manifests itself in the form of an internal governance framework that reflects the ambition of the company, the direction of the company and the values and behaviours that the employees have to exhibit throughout the organisation. We call it the Novo Nordisk Way. It is good to know a little bit about it while you are applying. Graduate blogs and stories are another great way to feel this culture.

Step 5: Read Up on the Field and Competitors

Last but not the least; don’t forget to understand the business the company is in. For example, Novo Nordisk is the world leader in Diabetes Care. When it comes to the competitors, look up competitors by going to the LinkedIn company page and scrolling down to the “Other Companies People Viewed” section. There should be a few competitors there. Do the same thing with the competitors you find until you have a pretty good sense of who the big players in the field are. These are very simple ways to prepare and feel confident about your preparation.

After all this research, you’ll probably be deliberating, “So, what do I do with all this information?” Remember that your objective is to convince that you truly want to be a part of this company. Merely expressing enthusiasm will not be enough and you need to corroborate the same with your knowledge. Once you are aware of these, you will be better poised to give the final touches to your application and your sense of purpose will be stronger than many in the same race.

If you would like to know more about the graduate programmes on offer, please visit the link below: More on the Graduate Programmes

Wish you the very best!

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Cover letter and video: who are you?

Category: R&D Regulatory Affairs | (9) comments

Hi everyone! Today I would like to talk about the more individual/personal part of your application, which includes both the cover letter and video.

I have been getting a lot of comments and emails about both of these things so I would like to go into what is expected from you and give you some advice to help make your application stronger.

  1. Cover letter

A basic cover letter should highlight the credentials, achievements and experiences that make you a good fit for the job you are applying for. That being said, a cover letter should never just be a regurgitation of your CV. It needs to persuade the employer of something. A cover letter should also include your reason for applying to that particular job. A lot of people have asked me questions along the lines of “What can I do to make my cover letter stand out?” There is no single answer to this. There are many successful cover letters out there that are strong or convincing yet completely different from one another. The bottom line is it needs to be your own creation; your cover letter should represent you, so there is no sense in telling someone exactly how to write theirs.

  1. Video

The video should be 1 minute long and not any longer. There is a reason why it is short, and it is specifically so that you don’t simply read your CV or cover letter at 1000 words/s. The video can really be whatever you want it to be. If you have a creative side, here is your time to show it. However, this doesn’t mean that if it isn’t a work of art, you will not be considered. It should be used as a tool to demonstrate your personality, so that those evaluating your application can get a feel for what type of person you are. As a general piece of advice, if you are going to put the effort into making a video in the first place, be professional. If you are a very laid-back, go-with-the-flow type of person, that’s perfectly fine, but your video shouldn’t look lazy.


What I really want you to take away from this post is that there is no sense in being anyone other than yourself. This programme aims to find someone that is aligned with the company’s goals and who appears to be a good fit for the company culture and environment. This is not only for Novo Nordisk’s benefit but for your own sake. Why would you want to work somewhere that isn’t a good fit for you? For this reason, it is important to let yourself and your real-life goals shine through in these two parts of the application.

Applications are now open here and remember the deadline is Feb. 12th 2017!

Good luck :)


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What does a Regulatory Affairs graduate do?

Category: R&D Regulatory Affairs | (4) comments

What does an RA graduate do from day to day? What I can tell you right off the bat is that there is no “typical day” in RA. Although you might have a long-term goal, you are in constant communication with different departments and will have a number of small, daily tasks, threading throughout a bigger project, which makes it a continuously changing job.

With the help of my grad colleagues, I have put together small summaries of each our daily lives in our respective RA departments.

Mathilde: RA Clinical – Biopharm
I work in Biopharm, which handles all non-diabetes or obesity medication. Specifically, I work on a Haemophilia product and a Growth Hormone product. For the former, I am working on ensuring that everything that has occurred in a paediatric clinical trial is reported to EMA, which involves reviewing clinical trial protocols and identifying any deviations from previous binding agreements. For the latter, I am doing a Labelling Update. This is a process that occurs once a year and involves reviewing product information for a drug that is already on the market, and checking whether or not anything needs to be updated. Both of these tasks are enjoyable, as I am given the opportunity to deal with clinical data, which suits my scientific background.

Nat: RA CMC (Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control) – Modern and Human Insulins
We receive daily emails from our many internal stakeholders (e.g. quality control, microbiology labs, production sites, global affiliates). These emails usually provide me with a few, short-term, day to day tasks (which can take 1 – 14 days to complete). The challenge comes when I try to fit these smaller tasks into my long term projects, which can take 2 weeks to 3 months to complete. An example of a long term project could be the submission of a life-cycle management change to EMA. Over roughly 3 months and working closely with multiple stakeholders, I will have to discuss the scope and strategy of the change, agree on timelines, review documentation, and finally compile/submit the submission.

Line: RA Devices
Here is an overview of some of the tasks I have had so far:
-Compiling, quality checking and proofreading/reviewing the device section of a drug’s submission documentation
-Preparation of a technical file (device specific documentation) for review by a notified body (Assessors of Medical Devices accredited by health authorities from an EU member state) and delivery of this file to Birmingham
-Process optimization in the area of Devices
-Mapping and streamlining of processes for Medical Devices used in clinical trials

Caroline: RA Clinical – Modern and Human Insulins
I work with insulin products that are already on the market and are responsible for the regulatory clinical aspect of the products. We have licenses world-wide and we ensure that these are continuously updated when new knowledge or new regulatory requirements need to be implemented.

As you can see, there are a number of different tasks that a regulatory professional can do, and these barely scratch the surface! To be entirely honest, I had very limited knowledge of what RA was before I started the programme and it can be a difficult department to explain. A lot of it makes much more sense in context, and I am still learning every day.

Next week, I will be posting about what is expected from a cover letter and video! For now, feel free to check out the RA Graduate Programme website!


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Is a graduate position the only option?

Category: Business Processes European Finance Global & European Market Access Global Finance Global Marketing Global Procurement International Operations Business International Operations Finance Product Supply R&D Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control Graduate Programme R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs | (10) comments

The answer to that question, is of course no! There are many ways to kick-start your career in Novo Nordisk. Novo Nordisk is a global leader within diabetes care, and to continue our business success we need to attract young, qualified people, including students and recently graduated talents. In this blog post, I will take you through some of the many opportunities within Novo Nordisk. Below you will find three sections, based on your graduation timeframe, which will make it easier for you to find the most relevant information. As I imagine that a lot of you reading this blog are students, I will focus a little extra on the student opportunities in Novo Nordisk and base it on my own experience back when I was a Public Health student.


Graduated in 2016 or 2017? Apply for a graduate position!

If you graduated in 2016 or will graduate this year, you can apply for a graduate position. As you probably already know, the Novo Nordisk graduate programme is a talent programme for recently graduated master students. In 2017 we offer 30 global graduate positions within Research & Development, Finance & Procurement, and Marketing, Business & HR. Within these three categories, you can choose between 11 different programmes, including both a Global and a European market access track. As I wrote in my last blog post, I am part of the European Market Access programme, which is a new programme covering an extremely exciting area of the business. The market access environment is becoming increasingly challenging and therefore it will become more and more important.

You can read a lot more about the graduate programmes in the posts on this blog or find more information on the website here. Apply from 20 January 2017 until 12 February 2017 by completing the online application and by providing a 1-minute video of yourself explaining why you are the ideal candidate for the position. Keep an eye out for blog posts in the near future touching upon the application process or read some of the older posts, like this one or this one.


Graduated in 2015 or earlier? Apply for a full-time position!

A graduate position is a unique and amazing opportunity, but it is not the only way to get your life-changing career going. Novo Nordisk is a big and successful company with more than 40,000 employees in over 75 countries. So, naturally a lot of interesting positions are available within various areas. Novo Nordisk believes in making a difference to both patients and society, but we also believe that it is crucial to grow and develop employees in order to make such a difference. Therefore, by joining Novo Nordisk – in any full-time position – you will experience a strong focus on personal and professional development. For example, you might encounter the talent and leadership development programme, and you will definitely come across the individual development plan, which includes both short-term and long-term goals for your career. So, if you don’t see a track in the graduate programmes that speaks to your professional interest or if you are graduating outside of the timeframe, there are still plenty of exciting job opportunities! You can see all available positions here and sign up for the email job agent here.


Don’t have a master degree yet? Apply for one the many student opportunities!

If you are a student and will graduate in 2018 or later, you still have the possibility to get to know Novo Nordisk better. Novo Nordisk is very interested in getting to know the talents of tomorrow, including students taking the first step on their career path. For that reason, Novo Nordisk offers internships, student assistant jobs and even has a yearly case competition called Innovation in Action. While I was a Public Health student, I participated in the case competition and I had an Internship for six months working full-time.

Innovation in Action is a unique opportunity to show your talent, test your problem solving skills, and network with other students and employees from Novo Nordisk, including people from top management. The case competition is an intense one-day event where students are challenged to work together and present their solution to a real and highly relevant case. The case competition is relevant for master students from all academic backgrounds, nationalities and universities. In order to be selected, you must demonstrate that you are a team-player and that you have a creative and innovative mind-set.

I participated in Innovation in Action in the fall of 2015, where the case asked us to come up with an innovative approach to how Novo Nordisk can contribute to improving the education of healthcare professionals on obesity and on its treatment options. Participating in Innovation in Action was my first encounter with Novo Nordisk, and I was happy to confirm my positive view of the company. I had a great experience and my fantastic team even ended up winning the case competition!


Innovation in Action 2015


Novo Nordisk offers a lot of different internships and they are a great way for master students to get valuable, hands-on work experience. It is an opportunity for a unique learning experience and a chance to turn theory into practice. To work as a Novo Nordisk intern, you are expected to be ambitious and willing to learn. So, if you are eager to start a life-changing career in Novo Nordisk, like I was, read more about internships here and find the available positions here.

I started an internship in Cities Changing Diabetes and became even more excited about working for Novo Nordisk. The Cities Changing Diabetes programme is Novo Nordisk’s response to the urgent challenge caused by the dramatic rise of urban diabetes. This was the perfect match for a Public Health enthusiast like me, especially because I got to work with research and evidence generation both quantitatively and qualitatively. I learned a lot and took so many positive experiences with me into the graduate programme – I can highly recommend spending six months on an internship, if you want to get a feeling of how it is to work in one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies.


To tie a bow on my student experiences with Novo Nordisk, I had the opportunity to come up with the case for Innovation in Action 2016, where the challenges with urban diabetes in Shanghai (part of the Cities Changing Diabetes programme) became the topic. Furthermore, I facilitated a Danish group and the winning group from the US, who was invited to Denmark to present to Novo Nordisk’s top management together with the winning group from Denmark. This was a great experience, having been in the students’ shoes just one year before.


I hope you found this overview of the many possibilities in Novo Nordisk valuable and please reach out by writing a comment if you have any questions or comments.

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A detailed overview of the application requirements

Category: R&D Regulatory Affairs | (32) comments

If you read my previous post ”Life as a Regulatory Affairs graduate”, you may have a general idea of what RA is and if this programme is something you are interested in applying for. But how do you know if you possess the right qualifications? The first step would be to look at the Regulatory Affairs Graduate Programme site and the Graduate Programme Application site.

I also thought it would be useful to go through each application requirement step by step in order to give you a better sense of what the RA graduate programme is looking for.

  1. A master’s degree or PhD from 2016 or 2017 in a natural science, for example within pharmacy, chemical engineering, biology, biotechnology or a related field. As a general rule, if your graduate degree falls under the umbrella of an MSc (Master of Science) you should be eligible. However, there are always exceptions to this rule. Basically, the RA programme is looking for someone with a strong science background who is accustomed to scientific language and data, and who is primarily a scientist by training. That being said, there are always fields or degrees that straddle the eligibility line so if you are really unsure, please feel free to ask. Applicants must also be recent MSc or PhD graduates, having graduated approximately less than a year before the application deadline ie. on or around February 16th 2016.
  2. A minimum of 6 months international experience from working, studying or voluntary work. It is preferable that you have at least 6 months of experience abroad, but no one is going to tally up the exact amount of time down to the day either. What is most important is that you’ve shown a tendency or have a history of venturing outside your home country. Have you learnt anything from your exposure to different cultures or work environments and demonstrated an ability to adapt to change? Did you relish these experiences? It’s great to see that you have done a degree abroad but if you didn’t enjoy this aspect of it, it might not be the programme for you. You will be working in Denmark for 16 months, elsewhere abroad for 8 months, and interacting with global RA affiliates. Being comfortable with different work cultures is crucial.
  3. Relevant work experience (no more than 1 year) or extracurricular activities. Relevant work experience does not mean you need to have RA experience; it encompasses either work, volunteer, or extracurricular experience in a field related to your study or even outside of it so long as it is evidence of professional and personal growth. In keeping with (1), you should have less than one year’s work experience, since you will have graduated within one year of the application deadline. This work experience does not include the total amount of work experience before beginning your Master’s degree however. For example, if you worked over the summer during your undergraduate degree or took a year off between your BSc and MSc, this is fine.
  4. Above average academic achievements. This speaks for itself. The programme looks for bright, enthusiastic, and committed individuals. These qualities should be reflected in your grades. We specifically look at the latest available transcript, whether that is from your most recently completed degree or the one you are currently completing.
  5. Professional fluency in English. You must be comfortable in English both oral and written. If you are a non-native speaker, you will likely either possess a degree or have held a job wherein English proficiency was required. There is absolutely no discriminating with regards to native and non-native speakers however! This is an international programme and diversity is what we strive for!

I hope this has given you a better understanding of what we are looking for and whether or not you are qualified for this position. Please remember, these criteria are not only meant for the programme to find the best candidates but also to ensure that you are going to get the most out of this experience. Look forward to my next two posts, which will address what a typical day in RA looks like and advice on the cover letter and video.


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Life as a Regulatory Affairs graduate

Category: R&D Regulatory Affairs Uncategorized | (16) comments

Hello and welcome to the Novo Nordisk graduate blog! I’m Mathilde and I joined the Regulatory Affairs (RA) graduate programme on September 1st 2016. So far, working for Novo Nordisk and my new life in Copenhagen has been fantastic, and I look forward to telling you about my experiences, as well as those of my fellow RA grads, in the coming weeks.

Let me tell you a little bit about what enticed me to apply for the program and how my expectations have aligned with my first 3 months here. I admit that when I first applied, I knew very little about what RA was. I had recently completed a Master’s degree in Applied Biosciences and Biotechnology in London but was not convinced that I wanted to do a PhD. I am drawn to science at the core, but wanted to find a place where I could use my knowledge of science and work with scientific data without having to work in a lab. I had also never held a position outside of academia so I was naturally curious about what working in a company would entail while also being keenly aware that my business skills and knowledge were slim to non-existent and might require a bit of attention.

I stumbled across Novo Nordisk quite accidentally one day on the internet when looking for job opportunities for graduate students and was interested in this particular position for a number of reasons.

1) I was curious about what RA was. A cursory google search revealed that RA’s role in a pharmaceutical company is that of the middleman between the company and health authorities. This was intriguing to me, as I’d developed an interest in science policy and how countries or governing bodies regulate scientific discoveries and advancements. For those of you who are still unclear about what RA is (as I was), in a nutshell the RA department aims to secure approval of a product by ensuring compliance with health standards and through direct interaction with health authorities. RA is involved at all stages along a drug’s development and life cycle.

2) As a Canadian, I was anxious to get out of North America and venture across the pond. One of the great things about this 2 year program is that it is split into 3 different rotations of 8 months each: one in Copenhagen, the second abroad, and the third back in Copenhagen. The rotation abroad could be in Brazil, Japan, US, China, just to name a few. For someone like me who is highly curious about other cultures and loves to travel, this fit the bill.

3) I like to learn and try new things. In each rotation, you are integrated into a different department, with new projects, new people, and new things to learn. This is exciting for anyone who thrives on change, yet it also offers you the opportunity to find out what you like to do and what suits you best. Because RA has responsibilities and provides input throughout the entirety of a product’s lifetime, working in RA means you will be given a whole variety of different tasks which keeps things dynamic and requires flexibility.

With all these aspects of the graduate programme in mind, I couldn’t have anticipated how great the programme would be for facilitating a social network, which was especially important for a foreigner like me who knew practically no one in Copenhagen. There are a lot of people to meet outside your own programme and if you take advantage of it, you can meet a lot of cool people. I can honestly say that after just 3 months, I already have both a rewarding work life and a whole other life outside of Novo Nordisk.

I hope this has given you a nice overview of what the RA graduate programme has to offer. Stay tuned for more information about the application process and more!

Bye for now,


RA 2016 grads on our first day

RA 2016 grads on our first day

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Application Tips to those applying to become a Graduate

Category: Business Processes European Finance Global Finance Global Marketing Global Procurement International Operations Business International Operations Finance Product Supply R&D Global Development R&D Regulatory Affairs US Rotational Development Program | (17) comments

Wondering what recruitment specialists are really looking for? What you will need to get through the graduate recruitment?
Lee Millian, a senior Talent Attraction specialist from our R&D division, has shared his application tips for future applicants! 

Competition is intense for graduate positions in any company.  Often there are hundreds, if not thousands of applications for each position.  You need to stand out from the crowd! This is certainly no different at Novo Nordisk.

It is a good idea to start thinking about applying early and to prepare yourself thoroughly.  In my capacity as Senior Talent Attraction Professional I am the person globally responsible for university relations for Novo Nordisk R&D. I have a number of years of experience of graduate recruitment and have looked through more graduate applications than I dare to remember.  I would like to offer my own personal tips to future applicants.  They are also tips which can be applied to any job application.

  • Read the job advertisement carefully – make sure you are fulfilling as many of the specified job requirements as possible in your application. I advise people to make a list of the skills and attributes the company is looking for.
  • Targeted and Specific – ensure every application you write is targeted towards that specific role. It is obvious to recruiters when you have just used the same general CV and cover letter.  Do not be general, but be precise.
  • Research – show in your application that you have really researched the industry, company, department and employees. The more you can show this the more recruiters can see how much you really want that specific position.  As an example, mention company projects which interest you.  Use as many sources of research as possible.  Make sure you have at the very least read the company website very carefully
  • Examples – use examples to back up statements you make. Just writing “I am good team player” is not as strong as backing it up with a specific positive example.
  • Well-structured application – make sure your application is well structured and “easy on the eye”. Remember, that your CV and cover letter are the first impressions we get of you.
  • Details – It is often the small details which count. As an example, make sure you do a spell check.
  • Exclude irrelevant points – Try not to include irrelevant points. Even if you are very proud of a particular achievement, if it is not at all relevant to the position you are applying for use the limited space more effectively.
  • Network – use your network as much as possible to answer questions you may have and give tips.
  • A second pair of eyes – I advise people to get someone they know and trust to look through their application before sending it. Another pair of eyes can see the application in a different light.
  • Passion! – try to show your passion for the industry, company, department and position. A good way for graduates to do this is by being active in relevant student societies.  Also to take part in company and industry related presentations, lectures and events.

Hopefully the above points will help you in some way. They can not of course guarantee anyone an interview, but they will improve your chances.  Good luck and maybe I will meet or interview you in the near future!

All the best with the application process! For more tips, advice and graduate insights read more of the blog posts full of guidance from former graduates, for e.g. this post by Nicolas on how to prepare for the interview.


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3 Strikes You’re Out? My Unique Graduate Recruitment Center Experience.

Category: R&D Regulatory Affairs | (3) comments

Over the course of your life I am sure there have been many moments where you needed to be at your best and yet the world was working against you. Perhaps it was spraining a wrist before a basketball competition, falling ill before an important presentation, or waking up to a snowstorm on the day of a can’t-miss exam (maybe this last one is solely a Canadian experience…). Whatever it may be, it is during these hardships that we find where our true strength lies and how we perform the face of adversity. I had to learn how to overcome one of these moments at the Graduate Recruitment Center (GRC) just last year.

It all started two weeks before the GRC where I sustained a very mild concussion at volleyball practice. Strike 1. I could lie and say that I sustained the concussion after making a heroic dive during a drill, but in reality I whacked my head on a low-hanging wooden beam after tying my shoes. Fortunately it was such a mild concussion that by the next morning I was back to my normal self.

Fast forward one week and I am at volleyball practice again, unaware of the impending tragedy I was about to face. While playing a game with my teammates I miscalculated a jump which led to a really bad landing and a severe ankle sprain. Strike 2. I was already begining to feel the stress of the GRC and here I was, one week away from the big event and unable to walk. Luckily, within days of my injury I went from being immobilized, to hopping around with crutches, walking with crutches, and finally, one day before the GRC being able to walk freely, albeit very carefully. What a relief!


Less than 24 hours before the GRC I found myself with a bacterial infection. Strike 3. At this point, all I could do was laugh. Bad things come in three’s right? Perhaps this last event occurred to give me the perspective of just how necessary pharmaceuticals are in our daily lives. One can only imagine.

So here I was, arriving at the GRC all in one piece physically, but definitely shaken from the various medical hurdles I had faced mere days before. Combined with the nerves of the event and how intimidated I felt compared to my competitors, I definitely was not feeling my best. I believe this really showed through, and while I never had a horrible presentation like some other past-graduates have written about, I just wasn’t being my complete self. My Day 1 self-assessment: mediocre at best.

As I sat in my hotel room at the end of that first day I decided that I needed to adjust my attitude and mindset for the next 24 hours or else I was not going to get the job. I started with a skype conversation with a friend where I ranted about my experience and received some encouraging advice. Then I watched (and re-watched about 10 times) a motivating youtube video (click here, seriously, it’s great!). Finally, I asked my friend to text me positive quotes throughout the next day and ended the night by creating a pump-up playlist to wake up to the next morning. This active decision to change my attitude, to give this competition my best shot, and to truly be myself resulted in an exponentially better Day 2. I was energized, I was motivated, I was happy, I was confident, and most importantly,  it showed! Without that turn-around decision the night before Day 2 I guarantee that I would not be sitting here writing this blog post.

The lead up to the GRC can be nerve-racking enough, especially if you are flying in from halfway around the world, have had a similar terrible lead up like myself, or have experienced something much worse! The key to overcoming these unpredictable set backs is to have tools that can get you out of your funk. It’s ok if a bad performance during the GRC momentarily knocks your confidence down, just ensure that it doesn’t keep you down! Start strategizing now about how you can have the best GRC possible, and be prepared to face hurdles and overcome them.

Best of luck!



For previous posts on our blog have focused on what happens at the GRC and strategies to cope(click here).

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