As discussed in a previous article: Moving to Denmark – what you should know and expect, is quite a challenge to get even a “survival”, basic job in the Nordic country, especially if you are a foreigner and you don’t speak the language. I will share with you my tips and tricks to help you overcome this obstacle and find a job in Denmark, in the shortest time. There is only one condition: you do need to know English quite well!
1. Register with temp-agencies
For non-skilled jobs is by far the best, and sometimes the only way to get hired. Called “vikar bureaus” in Danish, you will find quite a few. Try to contact as many as possible, but concentrate on the local ones; from my experience, they are the ones that actually have entry-level openings.
– Be aware that applying only on-line is not enough. Go to their office and make sure you talk with someone in person and that you are being remembered. After you go home, follow-up by phone.
– Be open to anything they offer you. Don’t get picky about the type of work, (warehouse, cleaning, farming, delivery), the hours, (early morning or late night), or the distance. Answer the phone whenever they call and agree to any opening. Make it your priority and show them you are reliable and flexible. After you get into the system and win their trust, the jobs you will receive will be easier and more at your convenience. And, of course, your road to a full time position will be wide open.
2. Substitute positions in international schools
A great tip, which I know it worked for a lot of people, especially for students, is international schools (this are schools where they teach in English, so you don’t need to know Danish). Find the ones in your area and start applying for substitute teacher positions. Don’t worry if you don’t have any expertise or experience; if your native language is English or you have a great English, they will take you in consideration for kindergarten and day care. Again, remember to apply in person and to be flexible, schedule wise. You need to stand out in order to find a job!
3. Network, network, network!
I agree that is a general rule – everywhere in the world is important to know people, but in Denmark is quite vital. It’s a society based on trust and it behaves like a tribe.
It’s great if you will get to know Danes, some might be willing to help you, but from my perspective it’s as important to network among your fellow expats. Most of them already went through what you’re experiencing and if they can, for sure they’ll help get a paid position. Most jobs are not even advertised, so knowing someone from inside the company or someone who knows someone is highly important.
Therefore, talk to everyone, with your colleagues from school, with any acquaintances, with neighbors, and get yourself out there so you’re visible and meet new people. Go to any event you hear about and try to join groups.
4. On-line job sites
In Denmark, everything happens on-line. I personally tried the old method of just walking-in and asking “Are you hiring?” (which works great in the States, by the way), but with no success. Actually, it got to be a weird experience, because Danes are so aware of their personal and private space, that they are not at all comfortable when someone just pops-up.
So, apply on-line, but definitely do the follow-up by phone.
Again, there are a lot of websites specialized on job seeking (jobnet being the national one), but the one I recommend for English speakers is workindenmark. That’s where I found my job, even if it took me six months.
5. Finding a job means understanding the Danish society
Be aware of your surroundings and try to adapt to the new realities. Observe the culture, but most important live the culture!
And read, a lot! A great book, which I highly recommend is The little book of Hygge. The Danish way to live well
To wrap-up: you have a good chance to find a job in Denmark even if you only speak English. Make a plan and don’t give up, even if months will pass-by unsuccessfully. The sun will rise on your street, as well as on the sky. And, if there is any consolation, even for Danes is sometimes difficult to get a job.
Photo credit Omar Yassen https://unsplash.com/@oy?photo=NNwW6x1ZOMQ