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How to find a job in Denmark without knowing Danish

Talent acquisition professional Luke Hannon shares relevant tips and hints in your career search.

Photographs: Pexels

Text: Luke Hannon

I moved to Denmark 5 years ago without speaking a word of Danish.

Looking back, it was kind of a crazy (or stupid?) thing to do. Moving to a new country and being unable to communicate with others was a challenge, but I'm glad I stuck with it. Five years later, I have a job I love, a family I love even more, and a relatively good grasp of the Danish language. I just wish I had a simple guide to follow to survive and thrive when I started my job search.

So, if you've just moved to Denmark or been here a while - this is for you!

Look for multinational companies

Did you know that Mærsk has offices in 130 countries?

And that Lego has offices from Denmark to Shanghai? I'm not saying that you should only focus your job search on large, multinational companies, but due to the size and scale of these companies, it's far more likely to use English as the office language to allow communication between the different offices. Despite not speaking Danish, I found my first job in Denmark at a company called Unity, as it was a large multinational tech company. They had an international team of recruiters and were happy to add one more to the team.

Looking for a job in Denmark, but you don't speak Danish? Focus your search on multinational companies!

Create a personal brand

Creating a personal brand is the single best thing you can do to find a job.

It's the reason I got the job I have now. It's the reason I started my own side business (message me to get hired) and it's the reason for so many friends and acquaintances. It's important to apply for jobs, but it's essential to be visible online by writing on places like LinkedIn. This means recruiters can find YOU. If you don't create a strong personal brand, you're seriously limiting your chances of finding a new job.

So, what should you write about?

Always write about what you know. If you're a software engineer, write about the challenges you can solve with your technical knowledge. If you're a student, write about your experiences in Denmark and what you've learned.

Anything goes, just make it authentic and make it your voice.

Build a personal brand and watch the recruiters swarm to you.

"If you don’t create a strong personal brand, you’re seriously limiting your chances of finding a new job."

Learn Danish cultural norms

Language is an important part of Danish work culture, but it's only one part.

There are so many other things that you can learn to help you integrate into the Danish work culture. Denmark prides itself on flat hierarchies and an approachable, informal management style. If you want to thrive in the Danish workplace, it's crucial to think independently and be comfortable discussing ideas with your colleagues, and you need to be able to challenge authority.

The same goes for teamwork.

The lone genius type only really works in movies. Danish companies value teamwork highly when assessing new hires. If there are two candidates of similar ability, the one who works best in a team will get the job every time.

To find a job in Denmark, you need to be comfortable working as part of a team.

Learn Danish

Okay, okay!

I know I said that you can find a job without speaking Danish. You can! But learning Danish is still a huge advantage to not only being able to speak with Danes but also to understand the culture. It will open up a whole new understanding of Danish life and help you to fit in amongst your colleagues. Check out classes from your kommune, hire a private tutor or find a Danish friend to teach you. You won't regret it.

Learn Danish and watch opportunities open up for you.

That's it! Follow these tips to find a job in Denmark without speaking Danish!

Stay tuned for next month!

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