Following your significant other into a new country is a great adventure. When a doctor gets a job in Denmark, nobody is happier or more excited for them than their partners, and not without reason, but figuring out your own career path can be a bit of a challenge. There is no universal guide on how to land a job in the Danish Kingdom, but here are easy steps to follow, that might make it easier.
Before you leave
Before you depart from your home country and start your Danish adventure, there are a few things you would want to make sure to do. In order to settle in Denmark, you will need to obtain a residence permit, which is dependent on the validity of your passport. Make sure to renew your passport before you move and you might want to ensure that it is valid at least for the next 5 years, so you wouldn’t have to bother with requesting another one through the embassy. Be meticulous about packing important documents. Do not leave your (and your kids’) birth certificates and your certificate of marriage behind, it will save you a lot of trouble when applying for residence in Denmark.
Besides the packing, you would not want to go into this unprepared. Read up on any and all aspects of living in Denmark, watch videos, ask questions, join fora, where you can connect with other expats and exchange thoughts and experiences. If you haven’t participated in the Danish language course with Medicolink, try to look up some phrases in Danish. It will make all the difference in the world if you can say Hello and Thanks from Day -1. It never hurts to start learning the language early on.
Nothing will help a new arrival in Denmark more than having a certain level of Danish language proficiency (which goes for the professional life and for the social life in general).
The vast majority of Danes speak some level of English, and many Danes are likely to reply in English to a foreigner trying to speak Danish (because Danes will hear them speaking in a foreign accent, hence they try to be “polite and help”). However, Danish language proficiency will be required even at workplaces where English figures as an official work language. Obviously, establishing a social circle is crucial upon relocation as well, for which the Danish language is crucial, and overall the Danish language proficiency will help in the everyday life.
When you touch ground
The first thing you want to do after you got a good night’s rest in your new home is to apply for your (and your children’s) residence permit. Without a residence permit, you cannot officially settle down and start working in Denmark and you are not listed as a citizen, therefore you are not eligible for benefits either. Since your partner is going to sign a work contract in Denmark, they will have fulfilled the criteria for receiving a residency permit as a worker.
The easiest way to go for you if you are just beginning your job hunt is to apply for residence in Denmark as an accompanying family member. The process goes down in approximately four weeks, it is free of charge and it is generally less complicated than it may sound at first. You will need to have a valid passport, as the validity of the permit will last until three months before its expiration date or a maximum of 4 years, that can be extended.
To complete the application, you will need to provide proof that you are genuinely a family member to your doctor partner, e.g. marriage certificate or, for children, birth certificate. You can complete the application in an online form, that is what the Danish immigration system preferred. As soon as you receive your permit, you will have the right to settle, work and start a business in the Danish Kingdom. You will also be able to attend state-financed Danish language course at a local institution.
When you have your address and your residence permit, you will receive a Danish ID number – a so called CPR number, which will also help you to get health insurance.
Without obtaining these documents, you will not be able to start working in Denmark.
How to get started?
Applying for a specialist job in a foreign country is no easy task. You have to be prepared that you might not get a job right away. As it is usually characteristic for developed countries, Denmark has a wide span of highly trained specialists of its own, therefore the key to successfully landing a job is turning your background and expertise into an asset and offering something very unique and specific to the market.
The Danish appreciate a proactive approach from potential employees, so be prepared to send out unsolicited CVs to companies where you would feel that you might want to work.
Take the initiative into your own hands: do a thorough research of potential workplaces and find companies that would best fulfill your expectations towards an employer.
It is also common practice to find a person within the company, who is most relevant to your prospective position and call them before applying or sending your CV.
Be prepared with questions and a brief but well-put elevator speech, to highlight how would the company benefit from opening a position for you, or hiring you over anybody else. Make sure you make a good first impression and make yourself remembered after the call. After you sent your application, it is your job to follow up on the process, so don’t be reluctant to call. This level of personal contact might seem unusual at first, but for the Danish it’s common practice and seeming well-informed and interested in the eyes of hiring managers might just make the deal for you.
Dane-proof professional portfolio
Having a strong Curriculum Vitae and Motivation Letter is a key part of any hiring process. After your pitch call, this is the first time any potential future employer sees your face and qualities lined out in front of them, so you would want to ensure that it is in the best shape possible. Nations differ from each other on the deepest cultural basis and it has an impact on company culture as well, therefore there is a difference in what kind of attitudes and highlights are human resources managers looking for in the application documents of candidates.
First of all you should check if your diploma or other certificates of higher education need to get accredited in order to be acceptable when applying for jobs in Denmark. Secondly, here you have some tips and tricks to make your materials attractive to Danish employers. Every application starts with a CV. A good CV represents you both as a professional and as a person, highlighting your best qualities and experiences that make you stand out from a crowd of applicants.
Don’t be afraid to put some personality into your CV. Remain professional, but feel free to make your CV look nice and list every skill and trait you find important and relevant to the job.
Employers in Denmark are keen on seeing a so-called Personal Profile in the beginning of CVs. This is a brief – 5-6 sentence long description of yourself that should summarize why are you a good choice for the position/a well-trained professional and describe some personal qualities that make you a good hire.
Start by looking at job ads for positions similar to yours and narrow down some keywords, that should be included here.
They have a problem? Show them you have the solution!
Danish companies are appreciative of individual proactiveness and they prefer working in teams, so you should highlight, that you have an opinion of your own and you can represent it, but also you are a collaborator and a team player. Take your time in phrasing these few sentences and make sure it reflects your personal character.
The general conclusion is that there is no success without hard work. Go out of your comfort zone, call the right people, be polite and kind. Make sure you’re well prepared, know what you’re talking about and don’t waste time. Prepare a pitch talk for yourself and ask relevant open-ended questions. Remember, everything has a double purpose: showcasing you to your new workplace and gathering information about them for yourself. Make sure your documents are in order, be resourceful and be patient. Good luck!