Choose your partner carefully in jobs as in life

Job search expert Franco Soldera from NemCV continues to walk you through the job search process, focusing this time on the importance of ranking and prioritizing your options.

Choose your partner carefully in jobs as in life
Just like you won't have time to talk to everyone at a party, you don't have time to properly apply for every job - so choose wisely. Photo: Colourbox
This is the second article in which I am going through the different stages of finding a job. This time I am going to write about one of the most overlooked phases of the job search: ranking the job positions you want to apply to. (if you missed the last instalment, find it here)
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In fact, very few people stop and think when they get at this stage. As we normally are in a rush when looking for a job, we would like to get our first paycheck not in two months or in two weeks but right now! Let’s suppose that from the previous step of the process you got a list of 10-15 suitable jobs. Does it mean that you should send your CV to all those companies?
It’s like a party
Pretend you’re at a party: there are a lot of interesting people around, and you would like to connect with all those you find in some way appealing. You could apply two strategies: you can do something memorable or crazy that impresses everybody so that everyone will come to you, or you can approach every single person that you find interesting and start a conversation with each of them. But how long does the party last and how many minutes do you need to spend to get in touch with everyone at the level you desire?
The same goes with job applications. Since you can’t impress all the companies you like, you need to spend quality time with each of them. That quality time starts with the preparation of the CV, which is your very first approach to a company. As your time is not infinite, and to properly prepare a CV requires hours of work, you need to prioritize and choose the companies that are the best match to what you can offer and what you would like to achieve in your career.
Be focused and realistic
Two factors need to be considered to make the right ranking of the suitable job positions: how strongly you match the company’s expectations and how strongly it matches yours.
These two factors need to be considered together, otherwise you risk wasting hours of solid work and energy.
To prioritize you list, open a new spreadsheet (or take a piece of paper, as you prefer) and divide it in four columns: Job position, What I can offer, What I can receive, Ranking. 
Then start filling the list with the name of each job and its pros and cons.
Every single time I have tried this, I’ve been surprised by the result. Problems that were looking very hard to solve or deep dilemmas suddenly find an answer as soon as I start to fill out the form.
Adopt the employer’s point of view
The “What I can offer” column in the sheet is the most tricky to fill in. You have to consider what skills and qualities you possess that are valuable for the employer, not for yourself! Having, for example, a PhD is not necessarily an advantage for the employer, unless they are requesting skills in the job description that make your PhD very attractive to them.
Consider every aspect
When filling in the ”What I can receive” column, remember that a job is not only about career, professional growth, training, colleagues, benefits and company culture but also other more practical things, like your commute time, for example. You can of course compromise on all these factors, but try to imagine what it will be in like in six months’ time to go to work every day: could you deal with three hours a day spent on the train?
At this point you should be able to easily fill the “Ranking” in your list. And after the ranking exercise, your are ready to start writing your targeted CVs for the jobs with the highest ranking. The strengths listed in your “What I can offer” column will greatly help you in the writing of the CV, as you will need to take in consideration the company’s needs and wishes, which I will take up the next time around.
Franco SolderaFranco 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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‘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