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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 | (30) 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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Q&A with an applicant (yes, it’s paid)

Category: Business Processes | (0) comments

Throughout the application process I have received a lot of very good questions from candidates all over the world. Questions that you don’t dare to ask publicly (salary, rent coverage, job security etc.) but is of interest to all potential future Novo Nordisk employees. The Q&A below is based on a real conversation…

One of the main requirements for qualification is that we should have a Master’s degree in a “relevant field” within economics, management, international business or marketing. Is there any flexibility to allow a Professional Science Master candidate?
Yes, there is flexibility and your master in biotechnology does not disqualify you. I thinks it’s great that candidates have different educational backgrounds. To understand chronic diseases is extremely complicated, so having a biologic understanding from your education is a really strong asset.

What are some of the important tips you can give me for making the 1-minute video presentation?
Be yourself. It can sound pretty basic, but be relaxed and don’t try to overdo the video. Prepare what you want to say but don’t read aloud from a script. Deliver your message right away with your own words as you would do if you met a Novo Nordisk recruiter in an elevator.

What are some of aspects that we should mentally be prepared for?
If you are invited for a Skype interview and later to the Global Recruitment Center, recruiters will focus a lot on your personality. So be ready to open up and deliver a message around your life story. Focus on international experience.

What are the prospective job positions that we can get into after the program? What is the acceptance rate of being offered a full time position after the completion of the program?
For Global Business Processes graduates, 98% continue in a full time position after completing the programme. The company invests a lot in the graduates, so to ensure return on investment it’s important that graduates get hired in a full time position afterwards.

How was your experience at the Graduate Recruitment Centre?
A very good experience! You can this video from the GRC 2016 (bottom of the page) which gives a good impression of the atmosphere. People were open, honest and helpful – just like Claudia. You could feel that only people you would like to work with were selected for the GRC. But I was tired afterwards and extremely happy when I received the job offer call the day after.

How competitive is the salary in the graduate program compared to entry level positions at Novo Nordisk?
The salary is equivalent to an entry level full-time position. Approximately DKK 35,000 a month BEFORE tax (which is quite high in Denmark).

When the programme ends, will we be offered a list of positions to choose from or should we apply to full time jobs at Novo Nordisk and undergo the recruitment procedure again?
Graduates should apply again. Either formally (job adds) or informally (through network in the company built in the last two years).

During the program does Novo Nordisk cover our rent?
When the rotations are in HQ in Denmark you will pay rent yourself but Novo Nordisk can assist you in finding an apartment. On the international rotation, Novo Nordisk will pay your rent.

I hope you found this useful. Feel free to ask more questions below in the comment field and most important of all APPLY :)

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How to stand out

Category: Business Processes Global Marketing | (2) comments

Hey people!

Recently, we’ve been attending a lot of career fairs around Europe. Whether we’ve met or not, I’m sure it will be valuable to most of you to share some common questions we received during these fairs.

“How can I make sure my application stands out among the huge number of applications you receive?”

“What is your one most important advice for the application?”

“What did you put in your cover letter? Is it even read?”

In today’s post, I want to shed a bit of light on these questions, in order for you to maximise the chances for your application to positively stand out (here, I am not talking about crazy fonts, colours or bolded text).



Our stand at the “careers in health” breakfast at LSE last week

1) The importance of the cover letter

Yes, your cover letter will be read – most probably a couple of times. The company takes a great interest in understanding your motivation to apply, how your background fits the programme, and how you fit in with the values of the company.

When I was applying for internships during my studies, I tried to increase my chances of landing a job by filing as many applications to as many companies as humanly possible. Now I know: that’s not the right strategy. Taking into consideration that the cover letter should be tailored to the company, its values, and how you fit in the picture, you should spend more time than only a couple of hours on your cover letter (read more about why you should spend more time on your cover letter here). After a not extremely successful search for internships during my studies (I was only invited to 2 interviews out of approximately 20 applications, that’s a 10% success rate…), I then decided to considerably change my application strategy for when I graduated: I picked 3 companies that I focused all my efforts on, crafted and re-crafted the cover letter and got invited to all interviews (100% success rate). This shows: A good cover letter increases your chances of landing an interview (and ultimately even the job) 10x. Hang in there – and maybe get some inspiration how Obama writes his speeches here.

2) When three charms, but four alarms

As a marketer by training, I was familiar with persuasion theory and behavioural decision making (if you’re not: read up on it here). One of the first lessons you’ll learn is that in settings where the customer (i.e. recruiting manager) knows that the message source (i.e. you) has a persuasion motive (i.e. you to be the perfect candidate), the optimal number of positive claims is three. Therefore, I advise you to sit down and think about exactly three topics that you want to put in your cover letter. Of course, this might be a prioritisation task, as most of you out there have done already so many things that you are proud of, and you of course want to convey to the recruiting manager. Still, in most of the cases, three categories are enough to convey your key messages. The good thing about knowing these categories is that you can really hone your pitch afterwards – since 3 categories make your key achievements so rememberable! Another good thing is that you can cover additional points (within these categories or also on top) in the application video (watch my video on tips for this part of the application here)

3) The Why

Probably the most important part of this post: WHY do you want to apply for this programme? What is it that Novo Nordisk can provide you with and what will you bring to the company? What drives you, what motivates you? What are your personal values and how do they correlate with the values that Novo Nordisk embodies? In case you are unsure about some of these questions, especially on how your personal motivation/values relate to Novo Nordisk, why don’t you reach out to people you know at Novo Nordisk, us graduate bloggers or also other people in your network that might help you answer that question? Before you do so, though, consider reading up on all information already available on the blog, novonordisk.com or also on other pages. Most of the things you are searching for might already be answered: You just have to look for it!

That being said, there is of course also a bit of luck in the equation of ultimately being hired. While luck is not in your control, you can of course bring everything that is in your control to ultimate perfection (i.e. the application documents, your preparation, etc). I really hope that this blog post will support you in doing so. If there is anything you’re still unsure about and that you can’t find in the application requirements or other blogposts (e.g. here), feel free to leave a message below!

All the best,



PS: even though it won’t help you being hired, I thought it would be fun to share a riddle we came across in London underground. Feel free to leave a message below if you get to the answer (and remember: bad karma points if you google!). You can click on the picture to make it bigger!


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5 things to highlight in your cover letter

Category: Business Processes | (13) comments

A cover letter is about one A4 page and you must have a really interesting story tell if it should be longer. Of course you have an interesting story to tell and you are truly unique. But so are the other thousands of applicants so you need to get your message rather clear. Below are five topics I would highlight in the cover letter. If you have a particular good story to tell within one of the topics it might be a good idea to spend more space on that and leave a couple of the other topics to the video.

International experience: Novo Nordisk is a truly global company with offices in 75 different countries and its products are sold in more than 180 countries. To accommodate this global footprint, employees with global mind sets are needed. The global mind set is often built from experiences abroad. Have you been living abroad with your family when you were young, been volunteering in a developing country after high school or studied abroad, you might have developed the global mind-set that is needed to succeed in the graduate programme. If you can tell how your international experience has shaped you as a person, I would definitely highlight it in the cover letter.

Striving for change: People come from all over the world to join the graduate programme. They have properly just wrapped up their masters abroad before moving to Denmark. After staying in Denmark for only eight months they will go abroad again. And after settling in and starting to feel comfortable in the international rotation, it is time to go back to Denmark. Graduates are challenged to get out of their comfort zones both geographically and in terms of tasks on the job. As soon as you get really good and feel at home, you will be thrown into new adventures. Rather than stating that “you love change and a dynamic work life” show examples of the personal and professional changes you have experienced through life and how you have responded to the changes.

Work experience: It is a benefit if you have relevant work experience from your time as a student. It can also be voluntary work in your community where you have shown initiative and leadership skills. Your work experience should be easy to understand for the assessors from the CV. Still, I believe it is a good idea to emphasize specific projects or deliverables you are especially proud of in your cover letter.

Why a graduate program: Why do you apply for a graduate program and not a regular full time position? I think it is important that applicants can answer this question pretty clear. For me, the graduate programme is a fantastic way to learn about different parts of the value chain in a global health care company. I am a generalist rather than a specialist and I hope these two years will tell me which areas that I am passionate about, so I – as well as Novo Nordisk – can find a good fit with a permanent position after the graduate programme is over.

Why Novo Nordisk: I didn’t have any experience from the health care industry before I started reading about the graduate programme. What got me hooked on Novo Nordisk was the global opportunities and the company’s values. If you don’t already know the Novo Nordisk Way it will be valuable to read and understand The Essentials – Novo Nordisk’s equivalent to the Ten Commandments (maybe not as famous, but there is also ten). The Essentials are ten clearly-defined statements describing how the Novo Nordisk Way works in practice, helping managers and employees to act in accordance with the company’s core values. I really believe that Novo Nordisk is a unique company in that regard and I hope that The Essentials will continue to be the guiding principles even when business gets tough and the financial bottom line is under pressure.

Good luck with your applications – feel free to ask further questions in the comment section below.

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CV, Coverletter, and wait….a VIDEO!?

Category: Business Processes Global & European Market Access Global Marketing | (75) comments

Hey everyone!

The job ads for the graduate programmes are now up and running, so I thought you would need some last minute tips before filming the application video!

I wish all of you the best of success (and a bit of luck) in the application process!

Best, Claudia

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