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Working in Denmark - Advice & Tips

Denmark

Expatriate Affairs Consultant Nannette Ripmeester tells you below what it takes to get a job in a European country with record low unemployment figures. Together with its high standard of living and well-developed social services, this country offers great chances to a foreign job seeker. Be in time and find yourself a job.

Job hunting in Denmark

The Danish economy is primarily based upon services, manufacturing and trade. One of the most successful ways of finding work is through speculative applications. Even if the company has no vacancies at the moment of writing, they still might keep your CV in file, in case a suitable vacancy arises at a later stage. It is advised that you telephone in advance. This will allow you to find out to whom you should direct your application and enable you to introduce yourself and show your interest in the company. Useful in this respect are the international vacancy site ‘Monster’, the Ministry of Employment (www.bm.dk), the Danish Employment Services (www.af.dk) and the National Labour Market Authority (www.ams.dk). Of course, EURES (the European Employment Services) has to be mentioned as well. Useful information on speculative applications can be found in Directories such as 'Greens’ Index’, 'Kompass Danmark' and 'Danmarks største virksomheder'. Also the Danish employment service might be of help in finding a job in Denmark.

The Application Letter

A letter of application should create enough interest to make the potential employer want to look at your application more detailed by reading your CV and hopefully invite you for an interview. Your application letter, however, should not provide too much information about personal experiences and qualifications; this will be provided in your CV.

Although the Danes are good at languages, you have to send your application in Danish unless otherwise requested (writing your application in the language of the country concerned also applies to all the other countries, because not knowing the language will put you at real disadvantage from the local job seekers). The style of your covering letter should be formal, clear and comprehensible. The letter has to be typed. In your letter you should explain why you would like to have the job and why you consider yourself, based on your knowledge and experience ¬the right candidate for it. You can use quite a substantial part of your letter for this, altogether however, your letter should not exceed two pages. Always try to address your cover letter to a specific person. Start your letter not with "Dear Mr/Ms X", but write at the beginning "for the attention of Mr/Ms X". You can also put "Reference: personnel manager of XXX" to ensure you letter lands on the right person's desk. Include your name, address, phone number (including international access code) and e-mail address above.

The Curriculum Vitae

The CV is short and neatly presented, one to maximum two pages, including only the most relevant details. Start your CV with your name and address, include a daytime phone number (with international access code) and e-mail address. Subsequently, you mention in reverse-chronological order education (include relevant supplementary courses), your language and IT skills and positions of responsibility (particularly those displaying leadership positions). Follow with work experience, and mention the main tasks you fulfilled. If you have work experience, emphasize your practical experience. In general, a photo is not expected in Denmark.

The Application Procedure

It is difficult to generalise about the intensity of interviewing. The number of times prospective candidates are interviewed varies a great deal, depending on the company, the position and whether or not tests are involved. However, two to three interviews will usually be held.

During the interview the recruiter will try to assess your professional competence as well as your personality. He or she will want to hear about your previous responsibilities, the size of budgets managed, if applicable and above all, the results obtained. Your previous performance (even a student job or vacation work can be put forward as practical experience, but you have to ensure that you are able to ''translate'' the skills used, i.e. by working in a pizzeria you might have gained experience with stressful work and have learned to be service orientated) and current motivation are very important during the interviews. Psychological tests are becoming increasingly popular. Larger companies in particular use them. Aptitude tests and job simulation are most frequently used.

On-line applications are nowadays common. In fact, a lot of job agencies, but also employers who publish their vacancies on-line provide the opportunity to complete the job application form on-line.

If we got you started on Denmark – think about ordering the guide ''Looking for work in Denmark''.

About the author

Looking for work in DenmarkNannette Ripmeester is the expatriate affairs consultant to several multinational companies, which she advises regarding the strategy of international assignments and the practical implementation around expat issues.  Ripmeester started her international career at the European Commission, has worked on a project basis in 17 countries and is founder and Managing Director of Expertise in Labour Mobility (www.labourmobility.com).
She is co-author of a series of country-specific guides, the guide "Looking for work in Denmark", (ISBN-13: 978-90-5896-066-5) is part of that series of guides. To order this guide or other guides that will help you to secure the international job you want, visit our website: www.labourmobility.com.  As a reader of Eurograduate we offer you a 10% discount if you are your copy here.