For all those who are not familiar with me yet, my name is Carlos Monteiro. I’m Brazilian and I live in Odense,Denmark.
I’m graduated in Business Administration at PUC-SP. I’ve coursed nearly three years of economics when I decided that economics wasn’t a course for me.
My family and I arrived here approximately one year ago, and as most of the foreigners I’ve met so far, I ended up coming to Denmark because of love.
Just to make this long story short, I’ve worked for the Danish Consulate for nearly 2 years in São Paulo, Brazil. My job was to assist Danish firms to tap into the Brazilian market.
Every 6 months we took in new Danish interns who would come to Brazil, to work at the Danish Consulate and be complement their studies. In one of the Danish students group, Cathrine was part of it and we have been together for 4 1/2 years now.
Where I come from
I come from a middle class family in Brazil, who has always given me the the best opportunities in life. I’ve studied in private schools, got to travel and to know the world from a very early age in my life. In other words, I had diverse possibilities that many Brazilians at my age couldn’t even dream of.
I have always practiced some sports. Football and tennis. At that time football came first. I was a goalkeeper. When I was 11 I was invited for the first time to play for some sort of “national youth team” we had in Brazil, to represent our country in Chile. After trips to Chile and the USA I also went to the Scandinavian countries, Sweden (Gothia Cup) and Denmark (to play the Dana Cup in Hjørring).
At the age of 14, I put football to the side and focused on the tennis, which was more the type of sport I was good at. But when I was about to complete 18, due to a rare disease, I had to to do an operation in my wrist, and quit playing tennis. Tennis was the one thing in life I knew I was doing really well, and it was right before start playing the small professional tournaments, so of course I got really disapointed. It was probably one of the toughest times in my life. But looking back, I can see that it was an important moment in my life, ’cause I learned that we have to reinvent ourselves in life.
How and Why did I start Denmark Brazil…
We had decided in January/Feb of 2012 we would move to Denmark to experience something completely new.
I still remember that friday evening, after coming home from university… I was sitting alone at home wondering what would be my options in DK.
I was quite sure that given my previous experiences (having worked for the Danish Consulate and for Siemens Energy) I would be in a favorable position in terms of getting a job in Denmark. (Later I would come to the conclusion that I was wrong.)
During that evening, I started looking out for domains related to Denmark and Brazil. I couldn’t come up with any “creative” options for a name. So that’s when I came up with the idea of loking out for the domain “denmarkbrazil.com” and for my luck “denmarkbrazil.com” was available.
I didn’t hesitate to buy the domain, but as soon as I bought it I started wondering what sort of website could I create so I could position myself as an immigrant that would stand out from the crowd. My main idea was simply to increase my chances of getting a job..
So for some time I’d started searching for creative websites that I could get inspired by. I have also checked what other people in my network related to Denmark and Brazil were doing on their websites. I perceived that most of their websites, despite having a good content, looked somewhat outdated. So I saw there an opportunity to share with people what I have of most value: Knowledge and Network
During the whole process I kept my friends from Brazil and Denmark envolved and I constantly asked them for their feedback on ideas for the website and for the interviews I was working on with specialists.
Arriving in Denmark
We arrived in Denmark on the 11th of June of 2013, and the website just started operating on the 1st of August of 2013. While the website wasn’t online, I had some time to write some of the content I wanted and edit several interviews that were done in Brazil.
Carlos, you have your “Permit to Stay” in Denmark
Now I could start the so expected “Job Hunt.”
In September of 2013 my permit to stay in Denmark was finally granted. On top of that loads of other procedures were triggered off such as start studying at Lær Dansk, making a safe deposit of an ammount of Danish Kroners, and several other requirements.
I’d promised myself that as soon as my permit would be granted I would work hard on a systematic plan. I’d designed a plan to get a job in Denmark prior to getting the permit.
This plan demmanded from me a daily routine. My daily routine was basically as it follows below:
Everyday after breakfast, I would send 4-7 applications aiming exclusively Danish decision makers (from various companies/sectors).
These”unattended” applications consisted in sending an email to at least two different decision makers so they could, eventually discuss and revert back to me.
I’m posting an example of one of the emails I used to send.
On the headline of the emaiI I would generally use something like:
COMPANY NAME og Carlos Monteiro i Brasilien”
Kære Mr/Ms.Ice T
Well, after doing this for nearly 3 months, and not getting invited for a single meeting I got bored, tired and slightly demotivated.
However there was one thing that was calling my attention.
The majority of the decision makers I’d started a conversation with would often say they were not interested in the Brazilian region at the moment but they thought that my profile was very interesting and they’d surely keep me in mind in case they started something in Brazil.
There were two ways to look at that situation.
1) I could be crying out loud to Danish and Brazilian friends that the employers in Denmark are racist, or they don’t care about me because I’m a foreigner, or because I’m NOT FLUENT IN DANISH YET and bla bla bla.
2) Understand that the employers were actually telling me the truth and that my profile is in fact awesome, and that I could do something different about this situation…
I stuck to the second option
Perhaps aiming at unnatended jobs the way I was aiming wasn’t the best tactic. Perhaps Denmark is just like Brazil, where a referral is way more relevant when it comes to getting a job, or at least a chance for an interview. Perhaps I should’ve offered free work for three months a period as a kind of goodwill. Nonetheless I had to change my tactics….
I’m not saying it was easy. Not at all…Implementing a different approach demmanded a lot of talk, reflection and most importantly a dose of courage. I was quite divided actually, but fortunately I have an awesome family, awesome parents in law that I could talk to and friends whom I could share my decision and thoughts with.
For my surprise, all of them, were very supportive and differently from what I was fearing, there were no judgements whatsoever.
So I started my firm.
In November of 2013 I’d travelled back to Brazil to visit my family. There I made up my mind that when I returned to Denmark I’d establish my business in Denmark to support Danish Businesses willing to go to Brazil.
One day, during the winter, I was working on another article when suddenly I got this message on my Linkedin mail box from a company in Copenhagen willing to have a meeting with me!!!
A blessed soul – who’d been following my posts on LinkedIn – told these guys at the Danish comany about me, and that perhaps it could be a good idea for them to invite me for a meeting and a first talk.
It came to my knowledge later that this gentlemen is a famous figure in the business world in Denmark.
A Few Things I have learnt from this simple fact?
PROVIDE SOMETHING FIRST
Denmark has a strong culture for volunteer jobs/experiences. I believe Danes evaluate this for several reasons:
– First. You live in a community, so you should contribute to it
– Second. You can learn from others
– Third. You get to know people, and automatically gain from this, as people see how do you work and ultimately get testimonials and endorsments from them
BE CONSISTENT AT WHAT YOU DO.
If you are going to have a blog. Be consistent. Post things at least once a week. Choose a topic a subject that your are comfortable about, and dive into it.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A SPECIALIST
That is one of the coolest things about blogging. All you have to do is simple, JUST DO IT!
If you are consistent and you are on the look out to bring some kind of knowledge with your own touch you will certainly leave your mark out there.
STRANGERS DO CARE
and they are out there, somewhere in the world, just waiting for you to speak out.
DON’T WORRY ABOUTH TITLES
Honestly I don’t really care if someone comes to me and say: ” I have a PHD in this topic or a Candidate at this or whatever other title people might have”.
Eventhough you have all these wonderful titles and diploms, CAN YOU DELIVER?
That’s what a Danish employer is looking for, and this is something that a title doens’t really show much about.
A WORK IN PROGRESS
If you are an entrepreneur, there are no excuses. You can get to work, and you will find a lot to do in Denmark without speaking Danish. I’m a living proof of this fact.
While my Danish is a work in progress, english is more than enough to get what I need (in professional terms) done. In the mean time, I study at Netdansk and I’m forcing myself to talk more Danish in general to speed up the process of learning. But again, you can get to work here without speaking the language fluently.
So why should a Danish Employer (not) Hire You?
All right, this is the question I ask myself every time I reflect upon this topic, and as you will see, the obstacles are many.
Take a look at this scenario:
– I’ve now experienced so many Danes who speak Brazilian Portuguese. Believe me, they exist! Portuguese therefore is becoming a commodity. Sure, it is not largely spoken as English, but there are really several Danes able to communicate very well in Portuguese.
– Danes are highly educated, and in Denmark it is very common to find a Dane speaking at least 3 languages. Furthermore, DANES TRAVEL, so they do have a broad cultural knowledge.
– The Crisis. Eventhough it was less severe in the Nordics than all over EU, the crisis has made employers to tighten their belts This means that the employers aren’t so keen on hiring.
– Just like in Brazil where Brazilians have the preference, Danes when looking for a job will come in first place. This is not something to be offended about. That’s just how things are.
– If an employer hires you there are so many benefits that the company will have to grant you such as Paid holidays, Private Insurance, Paid Vacation, Other Types of Pay if your suffering from some kind of illness. Parents are entitled to take 32 weeks of parental leave immediately after birth, and wow, there are so many other benefits.
So obviously an employer will be extremely cautious when selecting who’s to be part of the team.
As you see, there are many reasons why a Danish employer should NOT hire you.
But, instead of focusing on that, try to use you energy on something more exiting:
I’M NOT SAYING…
That you should do what I do!
If you have found a job, and you are happy with it, GOOD FOR YOU!
Starting up a business has worked out and is still working for me. I believe I can make a difference in the world, by connecting DECISION MAKERS and MAKING THEIR LIVES EASIER. That is my drive to keep on doing what I doing.
I also believe that being able to create something out of nothing is really nice. You don’t necessarily need to open a business for it. If you have this sort of space within in your company, you should enjoy it.
My Conclusion for all this story
IF YOU CHOOSE TO COME DENMARK and you can’t get a job using the “regular” strategy, perhaps it’s time for a change… Yes, it demmands some courage and effort, but I guarantee, you’re not gonna die because you decided to shift the route of the boat and another thing: You have the responsability for your own decisions, so, rather than being complaining all the time for not getting a job:
Use your skills! I’m sure you have plenty to offer!
Denmark, just like Brazil is a wonderful country, full of opportunities, but you have to keep your eyes wide open, and dare a bit to be able to see them.