I’m often asked about the best ways to find employment in Denmark. When I arrived from the UK I was full of hope and had a CV that was both accomplished and varied. I was a specialist in nothing, instead a master generalist. Finding employment was difficult and after leaving a professional position in the UK I found myself applying for survival jobs, wanting to do something, anything. Fast forward 17 years and I am now the CEO of Welcome Group Consulting, a company that was founded to support internationals in their endeavour to settle down and feel at home.
Finding employment is fast becoming our focus area at WGC, as more Internationals are struggling with the challenge of finding work. New graduates, accompanying family members and lustful travellers arrive in Denmark with their sights set on finding employment, then enjoying everything that Denmark has to offer for the lucky ones that succeed only to be dazed by a reality that stings.
Today I work as head of operations and a recruitment professional that helps internationals and companies alike to better understand the needs of one another. Finding employment is often a laborious task, that saps energy. Over time with dwindling enthusiasm and few replies, confidence dwindles, which in turn has an affect on the application process.
Linkedin for Employment presentation at Google House, Copenhagen
The Stakes Are High
Many save for years, graduating top of their class, leaving family and friends behind to take the plunge to move abroad. I have spoken with people that have defied their families to travel abroad and try their luck. I have worked with people that have gambled everything by moving to Denmark, people that have graduated and spent over 15 months trying to find work or the lady that has lived here for 8 years and was fired from her position due to management changes and then spent 4 years unemployed.
The individual stories are heart breaking. The one thing I like to communicate to every single person is “don’t give up hope, you will get there”.
Advice I wish I Had Received
From one expat to another, here is the advice I wish I had been given when I first arrived 17 years ago.
1) Don’t just sit back and expect to be hired. Recruiters very rarely come looking for a candidate, so don’t post your contact details or hand out your CV and expect to receive a call. Instead you will need to be pro-active by networking and joining online groups.
2) Optimise your Linkedin profile. Linkedin isn’t widely used in the UK and certainly not by those that are happily employed and have never thought of creating a profile. Denmark is a small country and people often have large networks than span decades. Without Linkedin it is impossible to network professionally and to communicate what you can do. Put simply if you don’t have a Linkedin profile, then recruiters worry why!
3) Don’t send the same CV. In the UK, India and Turkey where I have lived and worked, they have different work cultures and different ways of communicating. That means that if you travel from one country to another, then the way you communicate should represent the country you are in, not the one you have traveled from. Adapt your CV to incorporate local customs and to respect the environment, people and culture of the country you are in.
4) Don’t forget the cover letter. The cover letter is a vital component to the application process and without it your application will be overlooked. The cover letter is your unique way of communicating with the recruiter and to bring your CV to life, so don’t waffle! Communicate what you can help them achieve, not why you need a job.
5) Don’t under or over sell yourself. Acknowledge what your unique qualities are and sell those. Don’t undersell yourself by applying for positions that a way under your pay grade, as the recruiter will over look you. Being over qualified is just as dangerous as being under qualified in the recruiters eyes and a rejection from a job like that only makes you feel bad and your confidence deteriorates.
6) Meet like minded people. Whatever it takes to get you out and to meet like minded people, then do it. You need to feel that you have your own ‘tribe’ and until you do, its you Vs the world. Meeting others even in an online community such as English Job Denmark will help you to realise you are not alone and that you can continue trying to find employment.
7) Learn & understand the culture. No-one prepared me for just how different Denmark was. They eat nearly the same food and look similar to the Brits, yet they are a different breed entirely. If you want to get ahead, then you need to understand their culture. Knowing this is key to getting hired!
Don’t sit around and wait for a recruiter to come knocking, that pretty woman recruitment style went out in the 80’s! If you would like to find employment, then take charge and make it happen!
Welcome Group Consulting proudly supports the international community with initiatives towards employment, education and community. To work with us or to receive help with finding employment you can read more on our website here.
Prefer to chat to someone in real life? No problem, we have an Employment Guidance HOTLINE, manned by experienced guidance advisors ready to listen and jump into action. You can book a call by clicking here.
Want 1:1 help towards achieving your career goals? Then why not consider employment assistance membership. Our membership is designed to give you all the information you need to help you identify your best assets in a way that speaks to Danish employers, we then help you to create a CV and cover letter that incorporates Danish customs and adheres to the unspoken rules. Our membership has been so successful that we can proudly boast a 70% success rate of finding people paid employment within 3 months. Now that is help I wish I’d of had when I arrived! Read more or become a member by clicking here.
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