Moving to a new country is undoubtedly a daunting task, the prospect of fitting into a new lifestyle, socialising and embracing the culture play a lot on the minds of many expats. This becomes even more challenging for those without the prospect of walking into a job when arriving in their new country.
Entry into the Danish job market presents its own set of challenges, from networking in the right circles to understanding its unique work practices. Fortunately, there are several organisations and service providers available to expats that will assist in making your next career move an easy one.
Knowing the market
But where to start? A good place would be with organisations offering labour market-related advice and courses aimed at newcomers to the Danish job market. This includes the likes of International House Copenhagen and its public partners such as WorkInDenmark and Business House Copenhagen (BHC) who offer different programmes for international jobseekers. BHC’s programmes include First Job Copenhagen’s five day job search course for highly educated internationals, Copenhagen Career Programme for spouses and Greater Copenhagen Career Programme for international students. They provide information about the Danish labour market and give international jobseekers tools that will help them in their job search.
Did you know: Unemployment in Denmark sits at around 4.3%, amongst the lowest in the world – Statistics Denmark (July 2017).
“We see a lot of highly qualified people from all over the world. For many, the barriers between them and a good job are that they have neither the basic knowledge of how to approach the job search, nor an awareness of their value in the Danish labour market,” says WorkInDenmark, a service provider offering tools to improve expats’ chances of getting jobs equivalent to their education and experiences. Once a month, WorkInDenmark offers a one day, free-of-charge career course held in English. The seminar covers job searching in Denmark, networking, research, how to find relevant jobs and how to apply for them. First Job Copenhagen offers a five-day long job search course, also free-of-charge and runs from 14 – 18 May and 11 – 15 June 2018. This is open for international jobseekers residing in the Copenhagen Municipality with a minimum qualification of a bachelor’s degree. “The course will give you an intensive introduction to job searching in general, how to write a CV and an application, the work culture you will be a part of in Denmark, communication across cultures, Social Media, networking and career planning. You will end the course with a workshop in ‘Jobinterview’. After the intensive job search course, you have the opportunity to get feedback on your CV, cover letter and LinkedIn profile. Furthermore, you can have one-on-one counselling regarding your job search process,” says First Job Copenhagen’s coordinator Mahak Laursen.
Where do I search for a job?
If you are new and looking for work in Denmark, there are several places you can get an overview of relevant job postings and opportunities.
Online: There are several online portals where you as a job seeker can look for a job, focus your search and upload your resume so employers can find your profile. The most popular is www.workindenmark.dk.
Networking: Even though the Danes use such online portals for job search a lot, it is often through networking that you find work. Therefore, it is a good idea to get involved in local institutions, your local kommune, and to spend some time researching expat communities and other relevant web communities. Canadian expat Geneva Tubby came to Copenhagen in the spring of 2014, and while searching for a job, focused on expanding her network, socially as well as professionally. “Networking is so important here. It really is about who you know, which means that you have to put yourself out there,” she explains.
Recruitment centres: Besides the various online portals, it may be a good idea to visit a recruiter. In Copenhagen there are many to choose from, including the WorkInDenmark-centre. The employees of the centre, and the various recruitment agencies, can answer questions and help with recruitment and finding jobs suited to your qualification and experience.
How do I apply for a job?
The way you apply for a job in Denmark is the same way as in many other places around the world. Typically, you send an application and a resume, but, as Geneva explained, many people find a job using their various network they have established – joining your local expat community is a great place to start.
Here are four of the more traditional approaches you can take when trying to land your first Danish job:
#1 Responding to a job advert that you find in the paper or on the internet.
#2 Sending unsolicited applications to all the companies that interest you.
#3 Registering your CV at some of the many job data- bases, who will contact you once they find potential matches.
#4 Establishing a professional network and making it known that you are looking for work which may lead to good contacts and eventually a job.
Typically, companies advertise available jobs, and then you apply for them. But often jobs are filled through networking, so make use of your network when you search for a job. It may also be a good idea to make sure you have a good LinkedIn profile, as many companies look for new employees here.
What about my partner?
As an accompanying spouse you have come to Denmark because your spouse/partner has either got a job here or is searching for one. Perhaps you are also pursuing a career here in Denmark?
As an accompanying spouse you have similar options and possibilities as others looking for a job in Denmark. Copenhagen Career Program, which is associated with International House Copenhagen, provides services for accompanying spouses living in Copenhagen Municipality. The programme offers regular meetings that spouses/ partners can attend free-of-charge, and discusses the ins and outs of job hunting in Denmark. “When we moved to Denmark we were completely lost. But the guidance provided by Copenhagen Career Program and its team has been extremely knowledgeable. It was good to meet other expats as well,” explains an Indian spouse of her experience at one of the meetings. Copenhagen Career Program also offers individual counselling, job match making and measures promoting employment such as internship and salary subsidy placements. “Thanks to the Copenhagen Career Program and support of the Municipality. I also wanted to thank them for their hands-on support with the salary subsidy. It has been really invaluable in finding this spot-on position in my field here in Denmark,” says an Austrian spouse who got a permanent job after she completed a salary subsidy contract.
Upcoming information meetings for spouses/partners are scheduled for:
Wednesday, 21 March 2018 at 10:00-12:30
Tuesday, 24 April 2018 at 10:00-12:30