You got your first job in Denmark. What do you do next?

Human resources expert Nancy Rasmussen gives an overview of the basics that need to be in order before starting your first job in Denmark, from your contract to your CPR number and telling the difference between NemID and e-Boks.

You got your first job in Denmark. What do you do next?
Unrelated file photo of people in Copenhagen. Photo: Jonas Olufson/Ritzau Scanpix
You’ve written a great CV, been on some interviews and finally received the call. The job is yours! It’s an exciting period of time but there are some initial practicalities to take care of, especially if this is your first job in Denmark.
1. Your contract
Your employer is generally required to give you a contract, with limited exceptions. The contract will specify the conditions of your employment such as your salary, working hours, and other relevant terms. Before signing it, make sure to review the contract carefully and ask questions if you don’t understand some of the terms. As a general rule, if any of the terms should change in the future, you will receive the amendments in writing within a required notification period. 
2. CPR number
Although you can get through the interview and acceptance process, you can’t actually start to work in Denmark until you have permission to do so and a CPR number.
Nordic citizens are allowed to work in Denmark and simply register at their local Citizen’s Centre (Borgerservice) to get a CPR-number. 
EU/EEA citizens need to get a registration certificate first and then their CPR-number. This can be done at one of the International Citizen Service Centres
Non-EU citizens will need a visa that allows you to work in Denmark and be issued a CPR number. If you don’t already have a visa, it’s possible that your employer would be willing to sponsor you, but you will still likely have to deal with some paperwork. You can learn more about visas here if you need to apply for your own. Note that there can be long waiting times to get approved for a visa.  
3. Tax card
The tax card isn’t so much a card as it is a form where you fill out your personal information and  expected income. The Danish tax authority Skat keeps this information in its database and your employer will also receive this information in order to correctly deduct taxes from your paycheck. It is extremely important to have a tax card on file, because if you don’t, you will automatically be taxed at 55 percent until you get a tax card set up. While taxes are notoriously high in Denmark, most employees have a lower tax rate than that.   
If you forget to do this before you get paid, all is not lost, as you just need to get a tax card set up to get back on track, and then your taxes can be reconciled in the following tax year.  You can also speak to your company’s payroll department to see if they can do anything to get the money back to you sooner. 
You can get your tax card at one of the aforementioned International Citizen Service Centres or contact Skat for information. Skat has also created a tax guide in English which can be found here
4. Bank account, NemID and e-Boks
Your salary will be deposited into your bank account, generally at the end of the month. But if you still have to open a bank account in Denmark, you need to have your CPR number ready first. You will also want to get a NemID, which is a kind of single sign-on ID that is used for many sites in Denmark, including your bank and Skat.
NemID is also used to set up your account on the e-Boks site, a service some people don’t hear about right away when they move to Denmark. Basically, e-Boks is a digital mailbox where you can receive all your official documents, such as notifications from your municipality. This is also where you will receive your payslips. 
If you live in the Copenhagen area, you can get help for most of these services at International House Copenhagen.
Now you should be all set with the first steps! What else do you want to know about being an employee in Denmark? Let us know.
Nancy Rasmussen
A previous version of this article was originally published on February 24th, 2015 and was written by Nancy Rasmussen, a change management consultant for IT projects with 12 years of experience within large, international companies. 
The column was part of a series contributed by Nancy in her free-time in connection with NemCV and was not affiliated with her full-time employment. 
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Ten ways to improve your chances of finding a job in Denmark

Job searching in Denmark can be a daunting and lengthy process with many hurdles to overcome. The Local spoke to Kay Xander Mellish, author of 'How to Work in Denmark', for her tips on submitting a successful CV and application.

Ten ways to improve your chances of finding a job in Denmark

CVs in Denmark often have certain aspects of layout, presentation and content in common. By writing a CV that sticks to some of these recognisable customs, you may improve your chances of catching the eye of a potential employer.

1. Length

“Keep it to one excellent page, or two if you’re more senior. I’d say if you’re aged 30 and under, one page will be enough. Only add the jobs that are relevant. Employers don’t want to hear about that restaurant server or babysitting job if it’s not relevant to the role,” Mellish said.

2. Format

At the top of your CV, a paragraph describing your experience, skills, education and character is a common way to lead into a CV. This text can be adapted depending on the job you’re applying for and how you want to present your skills.

“Add three adjectives about yourself that you can support with an example, rather than ten adjectives with no story. For example, say you are innovative for this reason. People don’t like hot air in Denmark,” Mellish said.

Aside from the profile text, chronological lists of qualifications, relevant employment history and other relevant experience should be kept brief enough to fit the one to two pages.

3. Show your personal side and a photo

It is expected that applicants include a section about their hobbies, even family situation on their CV in Denmark, as well as a photo, to give a sense of who they are as a person.

“Danish employers are interested in you as a human, more so than employers in other countries so include information about yourself, including your age and your hobbies.

“Choose a good quality photo that is not too serious but shows you looking friendly and approachable,” Mellish said.

4. Story telling

“Think in terms of story telling”, Mellish advised. “Pure letters and numbers don’t mean a lot to employers in Denmark, they need to know what projects you’ve done, what role you played and what kind of person you are through your CV.

“So rather than writing ‘I have these grades’, it’s better to say ‘I worked on this project, it took this long, I achieved this'”, Mellish said.

5. Hit the ground running

Mellish called this “plug and play”, where you show you will slot right into the company and get going with the role.

“When employers are reading your CV, they want to know what you can do on day one of the job. Sell your ability to solve someone’s problem. You need to give the impression you can add value straight away.

“In Denmark the average length of time in a job is two and a half years, because you can take your pension when you move, so employers don’t want someone they need to spend time training,” Mellish told The Local.

READ ALSO: Five tips for writing an effective Danish CV

6. Teamwork

“Group work is very important in Denmark, more than individual achievements. So talk about your teamwork and how you worked with a group to produce a good business result. It shouldn’t be ‘me, me, me’ – that’s a turn off,” Mellish said.

7. LinkedIn

“People in Denmark love LinkedIn so you need a fabulous LinkedIn profile with a good picture. Before anyone calls you for an interview they’ll have looked at your LinkedIn profile.

“In your profile, include the storytelling, explaining the projects you’ve worked on. If your job involves a uniform, I recommend wearing it in your LinkedIn photo so people get that impression of you right away. Your background photo should also be work-related, not rainbows or puppies. Use it to tell the story of who you are,” Mellish advised.

8. Unsolicited application

This is when you approach a company or department you would like to work for, without a job being advertised. The Danish term for it is uopfordret ansøgning. 

“Many people make contact on LinkedIn and ask to meet for a coffee, where they chat and rather than pitch for a job, they ask if the person knows anyone looking for someone like them. Danish employers welcome this and many people are hired this way,” Mellish said.

Another way to network is to join a union, Mellish advised. They often have career events but can also help read your contract when you get a job offer, or help with any problems in the workplace. 

9. Ring the recruiter

The phone number of the hiring manager will often be in the job advert. Mellish advised finding a quiet place to ring them from and spending ten to fifteen minutes asking some good business questions.

“This also helps you work out if you might want to work for this person,” Mellish said.

“Send your CV within 24 hours of the phone call and mention you spoke to them in your application,” she added.

10. Patience

“On average it can take six months to find a job in Denmark. If it’s under this, you’re lucky. If it takes a year, it’s not you, it just takes a long time because employers are looking for someone to fit into their team.

“I wrote 100 letters, I got ten responses, three interviews and one job which I had for eight years,” Mellish told The Local.

“Danish employers are not always good at getting back to you. If you don’t hear anything, just keep applying for other jobs. If you sent an application on June 1st, you could send a follow-up email on June 15th, then you’ll have to leave it and move on,” she advised. 

Kay Xander Mellish’s book ‘How to Work in Denmark’ offers both job-searching advice and tips on how to succeed in the Danish workplace.