The job searching culture in Denmark might be different from the common ways in your home country. You might find that job searching in Denmark is just as much about branding yourself and about networking as it is about responding to job advertisements. Below you will find general tips and advise for job searching in Denmark and in particular in the Esbjerg region.
Whether you apply for advertised positions or send an unsolicited application you will in Denmark be expected to have knowledge about the company. The hiring manager will expect you to have researched their company before you approach them. If it is obvious that you have not done your homework, it is likely that you will not be considered. So take the time to find out what the company is about, for example regarding core competencies, product strategy and corporate values before you send an application or call the hiring manager. Make absolutely sure you target the specific company (and position) and describe what you can contribute with.
In Denmark it is not a good idea to send your cv through mass distribution mails. In many cases they will simply be deleted.
Only about half of the positions in Denmark are advertised on job boards. The rest is filled by unsolicited applicants and found via search and networks. Therefore it can be of great value to focus also on unsolicited job searching and to reach out to relevant companies directly.
In Denmark it will in most cases be considered a good method to phone companies and speak to a hiring manager or the HR department. Most companies will be happy to answer your questions, if they are relevant. You can for example ask them about potential future plans, about their prospects for expansion the coming years, if they aim at new markets or how they prefer unsolicited applicants to apply. In many cases you will end up with an email of the hiring manager and the possibility to send them your CV referring to your conversation. If your questions are relevant they might even ask about you profile on the phone and thus offer you a chance to tell them about you and your ideas on how you can contribute to the company.
Most job seekers approach the big corporations, and therefore the larger companies receive a large amount of unsolicited applications. Therefore it is often a good idea to focus also on small and medium sized businesses to have fewer job seeking competitors.
When you apply for an advertised position or even call a company unsolicited you are likely to be considered a salesman advertising yourself. It is of course an advantage that they know what you want, but it is also a possible disadvantage since it may make them reluctant to offer you a job if it feels to mush like a sales situation.
So when looking for a job, it can be a good idea also to get out there, where you meet people. Danish people are usually very willing to help the people they know and to use their network to look for opportunities for them. Therefore, if you have the possibility, it can be valuable to place yourself in a situation where you continuously meet the same people. After some time, they are very likely to start a conversation with you and ask you what you do. The more people you know, who know that you are looking for a job, the bigger your network will become. And you chances of getting a job will increase.
There are many ways of expanding your network. You can for example offer to take part in activities at your children´s school or kindergarten or you can offer a helping hand in the local community or in a local club.
Joining a club or a local network might be the easiest way of expanding your network. Clubs and networks are where Danish people socialize, and this is a good way to socialize with Danes.
You can find the clubs in Esbjerg Municipality at this website or by downloading the app Esbjerg Live.
Denmark is one of the countries in the top 10 ranking of citizens using LinkedIn. The Danish companies use LinkedIn for search and the job searchers use it for connecting. If you do not already have a LinkedIn profile, now is the time to create one. Many companies look you up at LinkedIn when they receive your application, and some companies even say that if you are not at LinkedIn, they will not consider you.
If you do not know the business market here, it can be a jungle to find out which companies to approach. The obvious option to identify companies is of course to google them and to look at job boards to get an idea about companies who are expanding their workforce.
You are also welcome to reach out to Newcomer Service for guidance.
Other suggestions on where to find ideas for companies are:
Some analysis have shown that hiring managers in general use between 8 and 20 seconds at the first glance of a CV, before deciding whether to look further at the profile. Therefore, you can chose to match the expectations on a CV´s layout in Denmark, and thus make it easier for companies to find what they are looking for in your CV.
In Denmark CVs are expected to show (in this order):
Danish companies expect cover letters to show what you can contribute with and the added value you can offer to the company. One way to do this can be to create a scenario that makes it visible what you can offer them in regards of for example problem solving, tasks, value, personality, ideas, innovation etc. If you can also enable your cover letter to reflect who you are as a person and what the company can expect from you in the given position, you are on the right track.
In Denmark companies tend to focus both on professional skills and on personal qualifications when looking for potential employees. Keep this in mind when you apply for a job or attends a job interview. Chemistry is important; however make sure you act as yourself, since it is usually easy spotted if you do not. One way of creating a good connection and a dialogue can be to show interest and ask (relevant) questions about the company, the department, the strategy, the company market, the position you are interested in or people working at the company. You are not expected to talk about yourself until you are asked.
When asked for information about yourself it is a good idea not only to provide a sales pitch, but also to offer them an insight into who you are. You can either allow your answers to reflect your personality or give competence based answers by providing concrete examples when you describe your competences.
In Denmark internships are commonly used, so be aware of this option. If you find a company who will offer you for example one month of internship without salary this will give you a chance to expand your network and to experience a Danish workplace culture from the inside. And sometimes internships can even lead to a regular job afterwards.
If a company offers you an internship you can reach out to the jobcentre to take care of the paperwork. Read more about the job centres in Esbjerg Municipality (in Danish).
Workindenmark displays Danish CV templates at their website.
You can find at guide to cover letters in Denmark at this blog about life in Denmark for foreigners.