About 4 months ago, before I moved to Denmark, I was reading one of popular english newspaper in Copenhagen, The Copenhagen Post, which gave me quiet negative perspective about the country. From news on deportation, racism around school, struggling with the difficult Danish language, to unemployment and xenophobic issues, these all had fear me, especially from a perspective of someone who had never lived in Denmark before.
I moved to Denmark in August 1, 2012, but only a month later I was granted a residence permit, which automatically allow me to seek for employment. So the next three months became my battling time to get the job. It was not easy. The feeling of repetitively being rejected gave me the impression that perhaps The Copenhagen Post was right, and perhaps I should just focus studying Norwegian language and find work there.
I have a bachelor degree in business and management and concentration in marketing, which is a very promising background in my home country, but was not enough, in terms of level, for Danish labor market where most who seek jobs within business and economy sectors have at least master’s degree secured in hand. Luckily, I had worked since my college time, and some internships and projects abroad, which make my CV look not so underdog. Yet, these backgrounds did not really bring me to quick result of being hired (for comparison in my home country, extremely speaking, I had been called to job interviews at reputable companies, less than 24 hours after my application being sent). Approximately 26 job applications had been sent to Danish companies between September to October, mostly on-line and in which all ended up with familiar phrase of “We are sorry that your backgrounds do not match our qualification”, or “There are more competitive candidates this year…”, and bla bla bla. Many also did not answer my reply for feedback requests.
Although I still registered my self to Job Center (a state-run work search and status platform), sending them my CV, and identified myself as job seeker, I did not really rely myself to this kind of platform. News have too often highlighted that many immigrants came over and over again to kommune to find work, and due to their abundant numbers, have ended up in helpless path of career such as remain unemployed or have to work in completely unrelated background with their educations. Job centers in each kommune are often too busy (and maybe tired and annoyed) when there are additional jobless people come to seek help. So, knowing that Job Center is usually an SOS place for immigrant with “critical” cultural, social, emotional, financial problems to stay and sustain in Denmark, I decided not to focus my search from this platform, and instead craved my way of getting the job in Denmark.
I then began to narrow and lower criteria on my job search, from bombarding any companies within general business to narrowing it to areas of marketing and communication, from title as consulting and manager to staff and assistant, even to internship, and from big infamous companies to small and start-up ones. I as well actively attended career fairs and did more approaches to contact people i met at the fairs, and sent them my CV regardless opening spots. Thanks to universities in Copenhagen which have publicly opened career fairs and sessions related such as mock-interview, CV and cover letter making, which has allowed me to meet with key persons in recruiting industry.
Being always interested in entrepreneurship, I also participated in many start-up sessions and open courses. From inspiring talks with owners and idea crunching at Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship every wednesday to tips and trick to build start-up and deal with Danish corporate law and tax, freely offered by Copenhagen Business Service. From these activities, my husband and I met a person from Venture Cup Denmark, and eventually submitted our business idea to this institution.
In addition to actively studying Danish language at one of schools in the city and take Danish culture and society class to better integrate myself, I also upgraded my LinkedIn into Job Seeker profile, giving me access to connect to key people in jobs easily, being exposed with more jobs, and marking my profile as “Seek for New Opportunity”.
In Denmark, it is true that most jobs are taken from poaching, a technique in which relation and networks are main access to get position at work. So as a new comer, attending career related events is important to get the sense of how unwritten career opportunities system works in this country. However, believe me that one particular way maybe what most people familiar way, but in fact there are 1000 ways to nail your objectives, and on-line platform is one of them.
One Saturday in October, I was in depressed due to constant failures in getting the job, but one says that “you can be in your utmost ability when you are in a right pressure”. So, I woke up from my tears and began reading one job advertisement from a medium, yet extremely growing, IT company in Copenhagen, TP (not a real name), published on LinkedIn. The job was titled as classification designer, and when I finished reading the tasks and skills needed, I began to smile. I have done about similar tasks when I worked in one Singaporean-based market research company few years ago. I did not waste time, and started jot down all key points to compose my cover letter and re-touched my CV, and sent my job application to the company, on-line, along with my LinkedIn embedded profile.
It had been two days, and I noticed one of TP HR staff visited my LinkedIn profile, but why there was not any contact yet from the company to me? Seeing me in sadness, my husband suggested me to send InMail (LinkedIn e-mail) to this staff. I proceeded and wrote to notify her about my application and feedback request despite decision on the application.
Sometimes, we may need to be a little aggressive and not to give up too quickly if we want something really bad.
Genius! The morning after I received call from her, and after quick question and answer, she finally invited me to the very first interview next week!
I could not imagine my happiness that day, though this joys were mixed with nervousness as reflected by me who kept making search information about the company, preparing initial ideas related to the job task, as well as engaging with my Danish friends on how to face job interview in Denmark.
Will I get this job? Will I pass my first job interview in Denmark and being offered for this position as classification manager? What insights I learned during the interview (as I also met and discussed with Linda, the lady from Job Center Copenhagen).
The answers will be available on my next blog “Stairway to Employment in Denmark. Part 2”.
p.s. Do not underestimate the power of LinkedIn 🙂
Helpful links to find works in Denmark:
- Uproar over rejected residency for Peruvian mother (testpost.typepad.com)
- SAS cuts 800 jobs in ‘final call’ savings plan (foxnews.com)
- Danish Economy Will Contract This Year, Governor Bernstein Says – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Norway leads Scandinavia in foreigner employment (icenews.is)