How to land a dream job in Denmark
Daniel from Spain shares his story about landing his dream job in Denmark
Name: Daniel De Las Heras Gonzalez
Title/education: DevOps, Master in Telecommunications Engineering
Tell me about yourself
My name is Daniel De Las Heras Gonzalez, I am 34 years old, and I come from the Canary Islands in Spain. I have a Master in Telecommunications Engineering from the University of Las Palmas of Gran Canaria, Spain. Before coming to work in Denmark, I have worked and lived in Hungary and Latvia.
How did you become aware of Denmark as your next career destination?
Where I grew up, the Canary Islands, most jobs are in the tourism sector, so I always imagined myself finding a job outside of the islands and eventually though about moving to another country. While studying, I joined an association, Board of European Students of Technology (BEST), which really opened my eyes to international possibilities. Joining that association also made me aware of the importance of mastering English, so I started improving my English skills.
When I was finishing my thesis, there was a job fair in Gran Canaria with people from Denmark, Germany, and other countries. At this job fair, I met a Danish Eures* Adviser, Sven Michael Jørgensen, who did a presentation about living and working conditions in Denmark, and he invited all interested candidates to come to the Denmark stand in order to talk to him. I did, and he was able to tell me more about Denmark. He was also able to give me some great tips about my job possibilities in Denmark.
I guess one of the things I really liked about Denmark was the flat structure at the work place, and the great balance of life. This made me very interested in Denmark. I read a book about the Danish concept of “Hygge”, and I also visited the Capital Copenhagen – and I became more and more interested in trying to find a job in this country up North.
How did you find a job in Denmark?
Being a graduate, I tried applying for some jobs in Denmark, but most jobs required work experience, so I decided to get some experience and try to find a job in Denmark later.
I got an internship in Hungary and worked there for a couple of years. There I met my girlfriend, who is from Latvia. We both wanted to try working in different countries, but we needed some more experience. My girlfriend was able to start an education in Latvia, so I applied for jobs in Latvia and was able to get a great job there.
After working in Latvia for some time, I actually asked my employer if I could be relocated to Denmark. My girlfriend was able to get a higher degree in Denmark so we were both keen on moving to Denmark. Unfortunately, my employer was not able to offer me employment in Denmark. Therefore, I tried to search for jobs in Denmark.
Contact the employer before you apply for a job
What made a difference in my job search was, that when I saw a job offer that I was interested in, I noticed that the jobs always had a contact person. So, before applying for a job, I contacted the person in order to ask questions about the job, because there would always be something in the job description that I wanted to know more about.
That was actually what happened for this job that I am in now. I contacted Hesehus with an email saying that I was interested in the job, but that I had some questions because I was not sure if I matched the job. They replied back to me in order to arrange a phone conversation. We actually had a conversation on the phone for more than one hour. I guess that really made a difference. In Denmark, it is really important how you are able to connect with people and how you are able to communicate. Because at work, you have to be able to talk to your team members and I think that me reaching out to the recruiter really made a good impression of my communication skills and personality. Therefore, I only had to send my CV and not a motivation letter, because the recruiter had a good impression of me and my skills from our phone conversation. I did send recommendation letters from my previous employers, and to my surprise, Hesehus called them to get a reference. That was the first time I have experienced that.
The interview in Denmark is informal – like a conversation
After that, I was formally invited for an interview in Odense, Denmark, and I did some technical tests. After a few days, Hesehus said they were interested in me, and I also said that I was interested in working for them. We had to talk about my salary. It is quite a thing for an outsider to find out if the salary the company is offering is ok. Hesehus asked me what I expected, and that was the starting point for a discussion about my salary. It seems that both you and the company have to agree and be happy with the salary. I have found out that the unions in Denmark are very useful and you can try to contact them to get advice about the salary level. You have to be a member in order to get assistance from the union, but newcomers to Denmark can try to ask – you might be a potential new member and therefore they might be willing to help you.
Relocating to Denmark
Hesehus was really nice and informative. They told me about the possibility to apply for financial aid for relocating to Denmark through the project Your first Eures job, and I was able to get the aid. It took some time, but I received funding both to come for the interview (travel expenses) and for relocating to Denmark.
EU targeted mobility schemes (TMS)
Finding a place to live was quite a challenge. We were lucky that a recruiter from Hesehus, Magdalena Zaremba Andersen, was very helpful. She would visit houses for us and send us videos of the sitings. We had a bit of a challenge to find a place where they would allow our cat to move with us. We found out that it is not normal to rent furnished flats, so when you move to Denmark, you have to buy everything from lamps to furniture. But we found a great place in the end.
Getting the paperwork done
Registration in Denmark was, compared to other countries, really easy. Everybody speaks English, the papers that you have to fill in are mostly in English. Odense has a local office that is really helpful to newcomers – Odense International Community –and they can help you with how to register, finding a place to live, and they also arrange social events for internationals.
International Community Odense (new window)
Hierarchy is really low
I had a good introduction when I started working at Hesehus. The first couple of weeks were introductions to the company and their product. My job is a new role for the company, so I also had time and meetings with other staff and managers in order to discuss and investigate this new role.
I have been working in international companies previously, and this is the first time I am working for a smaller local company. It is true with the low hierarchy. If I have something I want to discuss with a colleague, I do not first have to ask my manager for permission to talk to that person. I can just go straight to my colleague – and the same applies to managers. Their door is open and I can just come to them if I have something I need to discuss. So yea – that is true!
If something is a challenge at work, I can always go to my colleagues to discuss the matter. In other cultures, you would never let others know if you think something is a challenge, or if you have doubts. You would rather hide it and hope it does not become an issue. In Denmark, it is quite opposite. If you are not sure about something, it is seen as a strength if you try to find a solution together with colleagues or managers. You are not supposed to hide it or not make others aware of it. That would in fact be seen as a big mistake on your part. In Denmark, you work with your team and the entire company, and you all have a common goal to do well, and therefore you are supposed to discuss challenges.
Danish colleagues – and the language
My Danish colleagues are very open and friendly, but it is a challenge with the language. You cannot just understand what they are talking about. When things become complicated to talk about, people tend to turn to their mother tongue. But I find my Danish colleagues very open and willing to speak English with me, and very nice. I am also learning Danish and will attend language school too. The language is difficult, but I will get there. In my opinion, because I have worked in different countries, I understand and believe that it is very important to learn the language of the country that you live in. You can work using English, but if you really want to be part of the decision making process and get a good life also outside work, you should learn the local language.
Life in Denmark
I live in Odense, which is the 3rd largest city in Denmark. For me, Odense has the right size, it has all that I need and great connections to the rest of the world. The capital Copenhagen is only 1 hour 10 minutes away by train, and you have two international airports within 1hour 30 minutes.
I have been used to living in capitals, and I really like a smaller city so that I do not have to use a lot of time commuting from one place to another. Odense has a lot to offer also for your free time activities. Especially if you like sports activities and social activities. Odense municipality’s International Community help internationals with arranging social activities such as Chat in Danish, Spouse Café, parties and much more. They can help you find out about where to practice e.g. sports or other activities.
My best advice to jobseekers
Be outspoken, be open and curious. When you move to another country, it will be different. Give it time, be patient and stay positive. Reach out and make an effort. Denmark is a very equalitarian society, and it really shines though in all of the facets of life. I really like it here and can only recommend others to try it out!
I found my job at the Eures portal, and those jobs are usually also found at Workindenmark.dk and on LinkedIn. I found out that LinkedIn is used a lot in Denmark both by jobseekers and recruiters. So, if you want a job in Denmark, have a great profile on LinkedIn.
If you are an EU citizen, remember that you can apply for financial support if you are invited for an interview in another country, for relocation costs, and other things – Your first Eures job. Newcomers should know that it is normal that you have to pay a deposit and several months of rent in advance when renting a flat. All together is usually between 2-6 months of rent, so you have to have some money ready for that.
EURES (European Employment Service) is an organised network of public employment services and other partner organisations in the EEA, coordinated by the European Commission.
EURES has three main objectives:
- To inform, guide and provide advice to potentially mobile workers on job opportunities, as well as living and working conditions in the European Economic Area.
- To assist employers wishing to recruit workers from other countries.
- To provide advice and guidance to workers and employers in cross-border regions
Tips for your job search from a Danish recruiter - Hesehus