Does the title above sound familiar? That’s because if you are an international student who is looking to find work or make a career in Denmark, this is probably you.
“But International Extraordinaire, I’ve heard the Danish job market is an abundant paradise of wealth and opportunity for international people and that I don’t even need to learn Danish!”
Yes, yes, you may have heard plenty of things in your preparations for finding work in Denmark. So many things, that you probably haven’t got the straight truth. Don’t blame yourself. It’s a confusing jungle of information out there and it is very easy to get lost in it IF you don’t have a proper guide! Although my own job-hunting experience is not as extensive as some others, what I do know is that the first thing you should do is: LEARN DANISH. Seriously, at the very least learn the basics, because you WILL need to know some Danish eventually (i.e., sometimes people forget to write work emails in English and Google Translate just doesn’t cut it all the time). Even a majority of part-time student jobs require knowledge of Danish before they will agree to interview you. Do yourself a huge favor and learn the language to get ahead of some of the competition!
At this point, my personal knowledge of the Danish job market is very weak. That’s why I think it’s best to direct you to people who are pretty much experts at this stuff (some of them even STUDY this!):
I. MythBox (click to go to the MythBox website)
What can be said about MythBox other than it is sent from a higher power to earth to save us poor mortals. In all seriousness, what the people at MythBox do is amazing. The project consists of a team of fellow international students: Lenka Chobotová, Iulia Kolesnicov and Florian Runge. Together they have gathered a series of common “myths” about the Danish job market, which they were inspired to do after several focus-group discussions in 2010/2011 revealed a pattern of “expectations vs realities.” MythBox was born out of the need to break these myths wide open and they have truly done so through a series of videos that each cover individual myths, such as “Denmark, the next English-speaking country,” “Denmark, the global job market,” and “The Student Job” to name a few. In these videos, a range of personal experience is given as they interview four different internationals already deeply emerged in the Danish job market. What these videos give you is what many job sites will not: an honest, realistic and personal account of job hunting in Denmark. Check them out and be sure to join their Facebook page for updates.
MythBox is a project partnered with InterResource and AU Alumni (both from Business and Social Sciences), so I think it’s only natural that I mention at least one of these in further detail.
II. InterResource (click to go to the InterResource homepage)
If you are serious about finding work or making a career in Denmark, visiting the InterResource page should be one of your first steps. That’s because the first step in job hunting is preparation for the hunt, which is exactly what this service provides; in other words, they are there to give you advice, tips and feedback on your CV, resumé, etc., so that you’re sure to dazzle future employees with all your sparkling qualities. This makes sense, since of course you wouldn’t go hunting for deer without polishing your gun first, would you? After making sure your gun—er, I mean your CV—is polished and shiny, the second step in job hunting is good ol’ networking. Although InterResource does what it can by putting in a good word on behalf of all international students to Danish companies, it is always up to YOU to be active: widen your horizons, put yourself out there, meet new people, and always be ready to handle every personal encounter professionally and politely. Be sure to check the InterResource page for upcomng events, such as ‘company dating’ events where students can actually come to directly meet and talk with representatives of companies. Note: these resources are not just for international students at Aarhus University, but also for students at Aarhus School of Architecture and AU Herning.
InterResource is making itself even more accessible to international students now, by setting up a booth at the International Centre. Every Tuesday from 12:00 to 14:00, InterResource representatives will be available at the entrance of the International Centre for all relevant questions (e.g., quick questions on writing your CV and cover letter, tips on job hunting, information on services and events and much more). Alternatively, you can email them at: Interresource@asb.dk, but why email when you can speak to someone in person every week?
With all that said, finding a job in Denmark can be grueling, disappointing and wholly not what you expected. However, don’t be disheartened because we believe that with the right resources, networks and tools, you have a fighting chance! Just remember: desperation is a stinky cologne, so don’t let them smell it on you! Oh, and fear; they can also smell fear.