Celebrating 15 years in Denmark
I am Leslea Petersen, the CEO of English Job Denmark and I am celebrating 15 years in Denmark this month. I never thought I would enjoy being here, be in a job I love and would balk at the idea of moving back to the UK, but hey, here I am! I thought I would share a bit of my story to encourage you in your job search!
I arrived in Denmark 15 years ago, all ready to carry on a successful career in communications and find that perfect Danish company who would be wowed by my skills and experience. Did I have a shock. I applied for many jobs and heard nothing. Not one interview.
Through a family connection, I landed my first job in administration, and I thought this would be a great start and hopefully lead to something more challenging. I happily went on maternity leave believing that my dream job was going to appear straight after. Unfortunately, the company was bought out so the chance of going back disappeared.
I then spent a few years searching for jobs, doing small projects and losing hope. I had no idea about the ‘unwritten’ rules, how to build my network or even write a Danish-style CV. Social Media had just started and the Job Centre was the only place available and my experience there was not great!!!
It took me a few years to build my professional network and through a lucky break with a friend giving me her Danish classes, I found a job teaching English at the same language school. It was a great experience in many ways. I regained my confidence, learned a ton about Danes as 99% of my clients were Danish and it inspired me to apply to one of my favourite organisations, the U.N.
Working in my field again!
I had officially regained my career and although now a consultant, I built a part-time job into 5 days a week. I learnt so much about health and worked with some incredible colleagues. However, craving some stability, I moved again and really thought this would be a job for the long-term.
Life takes unexpected turns
But life often doesn’t always go the way you had planned. Being unexpectedly back as a job seeker in 2018, I knew I wanted to work in an area where I could help others, use my previous skills and share what I had learned as a job seeker. And so English Job Denmark was the answer!
I would love to share my top tips for finding that elusive “Perfect Role” and now, having worked with hundreds of professionals and placed them in roles across Denmark, in the top organisations like Panduro/UN/Danske bank/Nordea for example, let me impart what it takes to do the same.
Here’s what I have learnt
Network, network, network: Join as many job-oriented groups as you can on social media – especially Facebook. Go to as many networking events as you can and be ready with your “elevator pitch” and to hand over your contact details (Use the LinkedIn app so you don’t need business cards). It doesn’t have to be job-related, use your social network too. Over 70% of jobs in Denmark aren’t even advertised so building your network is vital.
LinkedIn: Living in Denmark, where most jobs are not even advertised, creating a wide professional network is going to be a sure way of bagging that role. If you have found a workplace that really fits your experience and personality, then approach people within the organisation through LinkedIn, ask some great questions and get connected. Always ask a contact to refer you when you apply for a job.
Build a great profile and be engaging with companies on LinkedIn daily. Post an article/add a comment or add to your network. LinkedIn works on search Engine Optimization, so the busier you are, the more likely you are to be found BUT, you need a complete profile.
Unsolicited applications: Find organisations that attract you and seem to be a good fit for your profile. Do your research and work out how you could help them fulfil their goals/mission. It’s incredibly expensive to hire someone in Denmark – hence why an organisation uses their network- so if you approach a company and let them know how you can help them grow with the skills and experience you have, then you often have a higher chance of being employed than applying for an “advertised” role.
Life coaching: It’s not just the “in thing” but I think essential if you want to know your “why” and how to approach the job market here. There’s no point in applying for jobs or organisations that within 6 months, you desperately want to leave. Know what you want, and then it will be easier to create a shortlist of the organisations that are a great fit.
Dansk: You can live your whole life in Denmark and never HAVE to learn the language as Danes speak brilliant English. However, it really does affect your chances of fitting into a Danish company. Danes are fabulous to work with, highly social and Friday night drinks/work events play a huge part of their work life. Being able to speak even a basic amount of Danish shows you are willing to join in with it all!
There’s no doubt that it can be difficult to find a job but utilise all the resources available. Stay positive (queue candles, hygge and all that), network until your feet hurt and place yourself regularly in the uncomfortable zone (reaching out to the contact on your job application and asking good questions).
I have said it many times but the job search is not for the faint-hearted. It takes resilience, patience and it’s a full-time job finding one. Reach out, I know exactly how you feel and can guide you into your dream role.
Before you get going ….
Get our free newsletter with weekly job search tips and tricks. Join 24,000+ job seekers and we’ll send you articles, questions, plus our best insider tips for job seekers direct to your inbox.
Sign up by clicking here or on the image below: