CPH Career: Competing with diversity, not Danishness

Ivanka (Vanya) Ruskova is a senior business analyst with experience in IT, investment banking and the service industries. She currently works with graduates entering the job market in Denmark, offering extensive CV and application assistance, personal coaching and counselling. For more information and bookings visit: cphcareer.com

I was recently invited to give a short presentation for the members of one of the renowned unemployment funds in Copenhagen, where I also listened to a job-help class they offered.

Celebrate and flaunt your diversity! (photo: iStock)
Celebrate and flaunt your diversity! (photo: iStock)

Be more Danish?
Suddenly I realised that the course was all about how to be more Danish and thus succeed in finding an appropriate position! Then I rewound my own ‘tape’ and remembered that at most of the presentations and guest lectures from companies on ‘how to find a job after graduating from a Danish university’, we students got blindsided with ideas of actually changing our personality.

None of these talks were ever focused on how Danish companies, and companies in general, need diversity for success, and that foreigners – with different backgrounds, education, culture and values – offer this!

Unfair comparison
Often the jobseekers I work with come to me in a state of ‘not feeling good enough’, mainly because they are constantly comparing themselves with what a Danish employee can offer. Additionally, they face a challenge with job listings posted in English, only to read further that fluent Danish is also a prerequisite to be shortlisted! What an annoying feeling! Trust me, I know it!

With years of experience, in both German-speaking countries and Denmark, I have come to realise that we, as foreigners, start participating in a competition that we are not meant to be in. And attending meetings and presentations at job fairs or universities can actually be even more discouraging. Therefore, all of that must stop immediately – since it is extremely counterproductive. I don’t mean that you should skip the next company matchmaking, but rather go there and shine through with your diversity!

Win the race
Believe me, there is a way to get hired as a non-Dane.

This happens by identifying the unique, personally-owned and transferable skills that each of us have and creating a new brand for yourself – a path on which Copenhagen Career Consulting helps you win in the ‘unfair race’.