Is a CV in Danish really necessary?

In our first job advice column, NemCV's Franco Soldera tackles one of the most common questions he receives: should jobseekers make their CVs in Danish or English?

Is a CV in Danish really necessary?
For many, converting a CV into Danish can be a frustrating experience. Photo: Colourbox
“I am a team player”, “I am a fast learner”, “I am looking for a company that makes me grow”, “I want to improve my skills”.
How many times have you written these common sentences? No shame, I wrote the same sentences many times years ago too.
And, how many times have you heard “your CV shouldn’t be more longer than pages”, or “you should personalise your CV”?
In this new series, I will explain the reasons behind the common beliefs surrounding the CV (Curriculum Vitæ or résumé, depending on which country you come from). I will talk a lot about perception, which is a central point in finding the key for presenting yourself properly to a company.
Keep in mind that I am going to write about the CV only from the hiring company’s perspective. You have probably been writing your CV thinking about yourself, but the company reads your words from their perspective and consider their own needs, not yours.
I apologise if that sounds harsh but that’s the point: I would like you to try something different, so you can get different and hopefully better results when applying for jobs.
Let’s start from a question that I have got a lot of times at NemCV’s workshops: “My CV is in English and right now I don't think my Danish skills are good enough to qualify for Danish-speaking jobs. Is a CV in English good enough or should I also struggle through making one in Danish?”
To figure out the answer, we have to look at the hiring company requirements.
As a general rule, if the job advert is in Danish, then the Danish language is a requirement, even if the language is not mentioned in the job requirements. So, please, turn Google Translator off when browsing jobs!
But before giving up completely on a job in Danish, make a search to see if the same position is available in English too (of course only if the local language is not a primary requirement, like in IT jobs, international marketing and others types of jobs).
Here is a handy chart for deciding which language to use in your CV (click for larger version):
CV in English or Danish?
There might be times where you know enough of the local language but are not sure how important the language is for the role you would like apply. In these cases, you might want to call the hiring manager and ask for clarification.
Keep in mind that applying in English doesn’t prevent you from making a brilliant career abroad. In Denmark, there are more and more companies where the primary language is English. Not only the big ones like Novo Nordisk and Maersk, either. Smaller companies are also starting to move in this direction with the understanding that Denmark is a small country and many companies have to sell outside of Denmark to be successful. It is also worth mentioning that I have met so many colleagues that don’t speak Danish and have been working successfully in Danish companies. The thing that really matters is to have the right skills to match the company’s needs.
What do YOU want to know about finding a job in Denmark? Send us your questions and NemCV's Franco Soldera will provide the answers.
Franco Soldera is the co-founder of NemCV, together with Zubair Quraishi. Since 2011 they have focused on creating the right web application that allows a superior match between companies and candidates, overcoming the common misunderstandings that affect the hiring process. They have helped more than 1,000 foreigners in Denmark get their first job interviews.
Franco is an IT consultant with more than 15 years experience and has a past as musician. He got his first job in Denmark in 2003 and moved from Italy to settle in Copenhagen. You can follow him on Twitter at @fsoldera.

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