Finding a job in Denmark as an expat can be challenging for many. The job market is small with limited vacancies and large number of applicants. You have to act fast and be consistent in the process to stand a good chance in job hunting process.
Looking back at the time when I came to Denmark with great confidence on my academics and work experience, I realized soon that it is not as easy as I thought it to be. Though it took me 2 months to have a job offer in my hand, I can relate to the stress of not having a job especially when you have been always working since your young age.
Some facts about me:
1. I have a Masters degree in Finance from my home country.
2. I don’t speak Danish yet (unfortunately)
3. I have been working as Group Controller. My both jobs in past 5 years have been in C-20 companies.
Here, I have tried to compile the steps I took in this direction which helped me to a large extent and believe it or not, a slight change in your strategy in this process can make a big difference.
- Visiting the job center, registering for host program
This program is only available for the residents of Kobenhavns Kommune as per my knowledge. It would be a good idea though to contact your Kommune if they have any similar program. The host program is a platform that facilitates a meet up between a mentor and mentee. You have to submit your resume to them and based on your skills they assign you a host/ mentor to help you find a job in your field. For example, I got a very nice and helpful host who invited me to his office for the first meeting and went through my resume, suggested amendments and gave me a homework. We decided to meet after a month but I found a job by then and the mentor-mentee agreement ended there. The maximum time period for this agreement is one year and my host’s experience was that most people find a job within this period depending on their skills, knowledge and experience in the relevant field.
It is a very helpful, voluntary service offered by a bunch of nice people who are registered as hosts in this program. I can totally recommend it.
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org (only for residents of Kobenhavns Kommune)
- Being super active on job hunting websites
You need to be proactive while keeping an eye on job market to make sure you do not miss a single vacancy that comes out in your field. For instance, I dedicated 2 hours every single day to go through all the vacancies that came up during that time and also in sending unsolicited applications to the English speaking companies by visiting their websites regularly thereby not solely counting on job sites to stay updated. Note that this doesn’t include the time I spent in drafting cover letters and CVs for these applications.
Website I used: https://www.jobindex.dk/
Other recommended websites:
Further, LinkedIn and Facebook (job functionality) are not be missed here.
- Structuring your job search
This was an idea I got from my host and I followed religiously. He asked me to make an excel sheet with a summary of my job applications and track it regularly. This gives you a good idea of where you stand in job hunting process. Further I also had a folder with sub folders for each application containing cover letters and CVs I sent for a particular company / job.
- ‘Not’ using a standard CV and cover letter everywhere
It is extremely important to highlight the skills that match your CV and the job description to make sure it adds value to your application. Sending a standard CV and cover letter for every job application is not recommended since every job role is different and despite being in the same field (for eg. Finance), the requirements may vary. Make sure you pick up the right key words from job description and add them to your CV and cover letter of course for the skills you actually possess.
5. 30 seconds rule
Now that candidates are usually aware of the fact that the applications are filtered using key words, they are focusing on having key words in. But what happens when as a recruiter you have 5 CVs which according to the system have the right keywords. That is when your CV and Cover letter are glanced at.
This is my self made rule but I believe it worked for me. Look at your CV strictly for 30 seconds (because that is the time sometimes they spend on it given the high number of applications) and try to recall what caught your attention. And you know then what recruiters and hiring managers are looking at. Do this test and improve your CV consistently highlighting what is important for that particular job role.
6. Networking and references
You may have got this guru mantra from many but it can not be stressed enough how important it is in Danish job market. To be honest, I also got my first job through a reference who forwarded my CV to the hiring manager and then I could fortunately crack the tests and interviews. Apart from job vacancies, keep an eye on networking events in your field, try to attend them as much as you can, ensure to have an impressive profile on Linkedin with a professional picture, ask for recommendations, increase your connections online and offline and this is surely going to help. Not just professionally, try to network informally too. If not in job hunting process, it will help you to polish your communication skills as an individual.
One may say that is it is only point number 6 that helped me with a job and probably thus all others things are not as useful. The fact is all other steps helped me in getting 3 interview calls which polished me for the fourth one where I got selected. And then I also got a fifth interview call in a span of one week which also offered me a job and I actually chose between fourth and fifth. Hope this sparks some positivism in your mind.
I can imagine that you may be aware of all or some of the points mentioned above but sometimes just a little reminder helps and with that intention, I wish you good luck in your job search. You may like to read – “A bitter truth you need to know before moving to world’s happiest country”.