All of your business: New in Denmark? Join the club

“I don’t have a job” or “I’ve got a job, but I don’t have a life”. These are a couple of complaints people have about being new in Denmark.

The old saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know” seems to apply particularly to landing a job in Denmark, where network is king, and establishing a network can be elusive. Catch 22.

Common denominator
But I’ve identified a common denominator among the foreigners I know who don’t have these complaints: they join a club.

Danes love clubs and societies. What do you get when you put two Danes together? A society, according to one joke.

Speaking of clubs

I joined a club, but it wasn’t an attempt to help my career or improve my social life (although it turned out to do both). When I joined a public speaking club, Copenhagen Toastmasters Club (toastmasters.dk), it was out of fear.

When I proposed to my girlfriend it turns out I had given a lot of thought to being married, but not so much to getting married. The actual wedding. I would need to make a speech! Toastmasters International has helped people like me since it was founded in 1924 in the US.

The wedding came and went and I survived the speech. I kept attending though because I was getting a lot more out of it than public speaking skills.

The Holy Grail
Toastmasters must be one of the most effective ways to quickly build a network. About a third of my Linkedin contacts are people I’ve met through Toastmasters. And it’s not just the number of people you meet and strike up a relationship with, it’s the diversity.

You meet people in all lines of work and from all over the world – this has been hugely beneficial for my job at the newspaper. I have also struck up genuine friendships through my club involvement. It attracts a particularly open-minded group of people. I have even found the Holy Grail – Danes who want to befriend foreigners!

If I ever move country again, finding the nearest Toastmasters club will be my first move.