Introducing The Local’s job advice column

We're teaming up with the co-founder of customized CV service NemCV to bring you tips and tricks for finding that perfect job in Denmark.

Introducing The Local's job advice column
Before you can wow them at the interview, your CV needs to get you in the door. Photo: Colourbox
You search for relevant jobs, work hard on customizing your CV and cover letter before applying with the hope of an elusive interview that never comes. All you get, after a few weeks or even months of anxious waiting, is an impersonal email, often a system-generated one that 'regrets to inform' that you were 'not selected this time' as there were 'other more suitable candidates' for the job position. 
All your energy and time goes down the drain, and as this starts to becomes a regular occurrence, you begin questioning if there’s something wrong with you because no one seems to find you good enough to be employed. 
Does all of this sound familiar? Well, you are not alone. 
Anyone looking for work in this difficult job market knows how frustrating the exercise can be. Fresh graduates, very senior people, young professionals or those currently unemployed all face the same challenge: How to find meaningful employment without losing your mojo? 
With Denmark being such a difficult job market for everyone – especially young graduates, foreigners and highly-qualified green card holders – there is a big need to help this sidelined potential workforce.
Franco SolderaThat's why The Local Denmark has decided to start a new column for job seekers by Franco Soldera (left), an IT consultant and co-founder of NemCV, a startup with a social cause that has helped more than a thousand job seekers voluntarily. In our new series, Soldera will answer all your employment-related queries and doubts.
An Italian living in Denmark for the last ten years, Soldera co-founded NemCV three years ago with his colleague Zubair Quraishi after they realized how difficult it is to find a job in Denmark. Both of them saw a lot of good candidates struggling to find jobs and felt pity for both the dejected jobseekers and the companies that are missing out on them. Each week, the duo help customize CVs for free to help people get those elusive interview calls.
According to Soldera, writing CVs is difficult and a time-consuming process, but having the right structure is necessary. 
"Your facts make for a personalized CV. People confuse the personalization part with changing fonts, layouts, etc. However, it’s the content that matters. So does the way you present it. Even HR specialists may have a hard time writing their own resumes. A CV should not only talk about you but also what value you will add to the company,” he said. 
The CV template used by NemCV was developed after a lot of legwork and meetings with several HR as well as hiring managers and makes the content and design very HR-friendly. There are almost 10,000 users in the NemCV database. So far, Soldera and Quraishi have pitched in their own resources for running this social initiative. However, they need funding in order to continue helping the job seekers' community and companies.
"It has been tough for us to carry on with this social service on a weekly basis while also working our full-time jobs. We would like to devote ourselves completely to this initiative and help not only job seekers but also companies that find it difficult to fill up positions. That looks difficult without funding. We don't make job seekers pay to use our service; it's the companies that should pay and use it as a ready database,” he said. 
“Companies having a hard time filling vacancies should use NemCV to find their best candidates," Soldera told The Local.
So, dear reader, what do YOU want to know about finding a job in Denmark? Send us your questions and Franco Soldera will provide the answers. We look forward to hearing from you and good luck! 

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‘We wanted to make chocolate to reflect Denmark’s seasons’

Stuart Eve moved to Denmark with his family after his wife, an archaeologist, was offered a job at Aarhus University. Nearly four years later, he is the co-founder of a fair trade chocolate business in the Scandinavian city.

'We wanted to make chocolate to reflect Denmark's seasons'
A chance meeting at their children's daycare resulted in the Ørbæk and Eve families starting their Danish business. Photo: Stuart Eve

Eve still works full time at his day job, also in archaeology. But the sweet-toothed entrepreneur told The Local that Denmark provided him with inspiration to try something out of his comfort zone – starting his own business in a foreign country.

After meeting business partner Anders Ørbæk at the daycare centre attended by their children, the two began the project, initially producing the chocolate out of their own kitchens.

“That has now moved to the renting of a professional space, so that we can scale up production and also get all the relevant food hygiene certificates and so on,” Eve said.

The archaeologist said having Danish partners had been beneficial in the course of setting up a business in the Scandinavian country, even though the process itself was straightforward.

“Actually starting the business was a matter of filling in a few forms online and showing we had 100 kroner [13 euros] in the bank. However, I think without our Danish partners, it would have been quite hard – mainly because of the technical Danish required. My Danish is pretty awful – and there are a lot of financial terms that are difficult to translate,” Eve said.

READ ALSO: Danish: Is it really so hard to learn?

“So I think for us it was essential to have Danish partners. Also, the food hygiene rules and health and safety, while similar to the UK, are quite onerous – and again very technical.

“I run my own archaeology business in the UK, so that has set me in great stead for the financial and business side,” he added.

The startup currently sources some of its supplies from Eve’s native UK – one aspect that may be complicated by Brexit, he said.

“My secret dream is that the chocolate business will enable us to beat Brexit and stay in Denmark for a lot longer — but we'll have to see how it pans out,” he said.


Packaged up and ready to go #somerferie #chokolade #beantobar #chocolate

A post shared by Ørbæk & Eve (@oerbaekandeve) on Jul 3, 2017 at 2:40pm PDT

It was not just the administrative side that Eve had to learn on the hoof for his Danish-based business, though – the process of producing the chocolate itself is also new.

“I was eating some Ritter Sport one evening and wondered to myself how chocolate was made, thinking it must be some incredibly complicated industrial process. So I checked out a few YouTube videos and it turns out you can make chocolate in a coffee grinder – it tastes awful because it is so crunchy, but it shows the process. From there it was a matter of buying a bigger grinder and starting to experiment. We have so much to learn still, but people seem to like what we are producing so far,” he said.

The chocolate produced by the startup – which is both fairtrade and organic – is heavily influenced by Denmark’s nature and seasonal variations, including a quarterly subscription service which can be signed up for via a crowdfunding campaign.

“We have been trying to find a way to really represent the beauty and abundance of the Danish countryside and combine it with something that Danes really love – chocolate,” he said.

“Strawberries from Samsø for summer, hazelnuts foraged from the woods for autumn, etc. Between us we have six kids so the family always come in and help during the production days,” he added.

A longer term aim is to consolidate the new company – named Ørbæk & Eve after its co-founders – as a well-known ‘bean to bar’ company in Aarhus.

“Our main reasons for doing this are two-fold. First, we eat a lot of chocolate and have become increasingly concerned by the human and environmental costs of industrialised chocolate production – there are new reports about destruction of rainforest for cocoa plantations and slave labour in West Africa, for example. In order to not be complicit with this, I wanted to figure out how it was made – and to do it myself.

“Second, we have really noticed the differences in the seasons since we moved to Denmark, so we wanted to make chocolate that reflected and celebrated the different qualities of the changing seasons,” he said.

Eve, Ørbæk and their partners are currently spending evenings and weekends on the chocolate production runs.

“As things pick up, I suspect I will move to one dedicated day a week, but we have four of us working on it, so we can usually juggle the time,” he said.

READ MORE: The Local's 'My Danish Career' series