Job search for internationals
There are good opportunities for international graduates to find a job in Denmark after finishing a degree. The best strategy for entering the Danish labor market is to find a relevant student job or get other relevant experience while you study. Denmark has a strong tradition for employing students in part-time positions while they study, and a part of them are hired as full-time employees after they finish studying.
Study relevant experience
Most companies are looking to hire students who are in their final year of their Bachelor’s programme or in their first year of their Master’s programme. If you are studying for your Master’s degree at CBS, it is therefore recommended to look for a study relevant job in the first year of your programme, since the companies are typically looking to hire students who have a minimum of one year left of their studies.
There are also other opportunities to gain relevant experience, for example by participating in case competitions, do volunteer work, and internships.
The biggest challenge in finding a job as an international graduate in Denmark is the Danish language.
Even though the Danes pride themselves of being international, the majority of Danish companies still have Danish as corporate language. Increasingly more companies change to having English as corporate language, and many big companies have already made that transition to be able to attract the best talents from all over the world; but approximately 96 % of companies in Denmark are small and medium sized companies (SME’s), and the majority of those still operate mainly in Danish.
For some positions you are not required to speak Danish. There will typically be more competition for these positions but it is definitely possible to land a good job in Denmark without being able to speak Danish. If you plan to stay in Denmark for a longer period of time, we recommend you learn Danish.
GUIDE: TIPS FOR YOUR JOB SEARCH
Finding the jobs
There are several ways to land a student job, internship, or full-time position. You can find student jobs, internships, and full-time positions for recent graduates in CBS’ jobsite CareerGate. Another good option is to take a more unsolicited approach and attend the CBS Career Fair, where you have the opportunity to pitch yourself directly to the companies, you wish to work for.
To Danish employers it is important what competences you have, but not so much where you have them from. If you have gained experience from volunteer work it will be valuable in your future job search in Denmark. If you for example have experience crafting marketing campaigns for social media as a volunteer job, it will help qualify you for a job with matching tasks in a company.
Be open to various employments
Broaden your areas of interest. Keep your perspectives open so that you do not cut off any opportunities. Do not only focus on full-time jobs, look also at temporary positions, and send unsolicited applications. All this could open doors to other opportunities.
Work permit while studying
Be aware that there are rules regarding working and work permits when you are not Danish. Read more about these rules at Work In Denmark.
Learn the Danish language
If you plan to live and work in Denmark after graduation we advise you to learn Danish. The chances of getting a job increases when you speak the native language.
Please also be aware that even though the majority of Danes are fluent in English and many organizations have English as a corporate language, the lunch breaks and small talk within the company are usually in Danish. You may feel isolated if your colleagues are talking Danish and forgetting to switch to English when you are around. Learning Danish and being able to understand the basic conversations is very important in order for you to feel more integrated at the workplace. Moreover, by learning and talking Danish you show interest and appreciation for the Danish culture.
CBS formally collaborates with IA Language School, but you are free to choose any language school that offers Danish language courses for foreigners.
Language and cultural skills
Be sure to highlight your language and cultural skills when you apply for a job, as this aspect is what clearly distinguishes you from the Danish speaking graduates. Do your research and see what markets the company is already involved in and sell your expertise of becoming their future international employee.
Danish workplace culture
Understanding the Danish workplace culture is one of the key issues you need to be aware of when you apply for a job, prepare for an interview, or start your career in Denmark.
Independence is the key
In a Danish workplace it is expected that you take initiative and work independently. The work culture is very open and your boss will not always check on what you are doing or give you tasks. You are expected to figure things out for yourself and work independently on tasks. Of course, you will always receive sparring from your colleagues and from your boss, but you will always have your own responsibilities and autonomy in the workplace.
Most Danish companies have a flat structure where there is short distance between managers and workers. Everyone has the opportunity to share their opinions and offer suggestions. However, your boss will still make the final decisions but his or her door is open to all employees at any time.
Danes are on first name basis with their colleagues and even their superiors. As a student worker or intern, you are also expected to use people’s first names, just as others will refer to you by your first name. Titles are rarely used.
Social activities at the workplace
Danish people are often involved in social activities at work. Some companies have a set calendar of social events to which everyone is invited. Such events might be: Christmas holiday parties, summer outings, cake on Fridays, etc. and almost everyone participates in these events.
As much as Danes prioritize and appreciate social activities at work, they tend to keep their work life and their own social life separate. In many workplaces, it’s not so common to be close friends with colleagues and to socialize with them outside working hours. Danes tend to leave work and go home to spend time with family and friends.
To sum up, here is a list of things you should remember for your first day of work in a Danish company:
• Informal tone: Everybody is addressed with the informal “you”
• Discussion and debate: Everybody is expected to participate/contribute
• Independency: Show initiative and independent thinking and don’t sit down and wait for tasks
• Take part in social activities at work and be part of the team
• Language: Learning Danish will enable you to better take part in social and/or work activities
STRENGHTEN YOUR NETWORK
You can attend and take part in events that you feel could have relevance for and help you in your future career.
CBS Careers offer a wide range of services that can help you with your career planning and how to optimise your CV and cover letter. You will be able to find relevant seminars and workshops in CBS Careers' Event Calendar.