How To Work In Denmark, Podcasts, Stories about life in Denmark

How to Work in Denmark Part 5: The Danish Art of Taking Time Off

My apologies that I haven’t been blogging for the past couple of months – I’ve taken some time off to promote my book Top 35 Mistakes Danes Make in English, which you can get on Amazon or Saxo.com, or at any Danish bookstore.

But taking time off is a very important part of Danish life – in fact, some people would say it is one of the best parts of Danish life.

The best example, of course, is the famous Danish summer vacation. When I first began working in Denmark, people used to start saying around April or May, “So – are you taking three or four?”

What they meant was, are you taking three or four weeks off for your summer vacation?

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Book, Stories about life in Denmark

Top 35 Mistakes Danes Make in English: Kay’s new book

If you’re Danish or have friends or family who are Danish, you may enjoy my new book, “Top 35 Mistakes Danes Make in English.”

For the past 16 years, I’ve made my living at least in part by correcting Danish people’s English at big companies like Danske Bank and Carlsberg. And I run into the same mistakes again and again.

Confusing ‘fun’ and ‘funny.’ Mixing up ‘customer’ and ‘costumer’. Spelling ‘loose’ with two ‘o’s and ‘see’ with only one ‘e’. Confusing ‘learn’ with ‘teach’ and ‘loan’ with ‘borrow.’ And saying ‘meet’ to mean the time one starts work. “You must meet at 9.” Meet who?

This book is an attempt to put myself out of business.

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Stories about life in Denmark

Moving to Denmark, a Guide for Americans fleeing Donald Trump

Moving to Denmark as an American has become a hot topic since it became clear that Donald Trump will be the Republican party’s presidential nominee. In fact, I’m getting questions almost every day from Americans interested in immigration to Denmark.

How am I, a 17-year-old hetrosexual male with no job and no money, going to afford moving to Denmark if Trump is voted President,” goes one request I received via Quora.

As the political circus here in the U.S. gets worse every day, I have been fantasizing about relocation. My father was Danish, emigrating at age 5 with family in 1926,” writes another correspondent.

Since I’m selling a book called How to Live in Denmark, you’d think I would encourage as many Americans as possible to look into Denmark immigration.

But moving to Denmark with a U.S. passport isn’t as easy as just buying a plane ticket and a lot of sweaters.

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Events

Book a “Fun Mistakes in English – and how to avoid them” event

Most Danes speak beautiful English, but there are a few common mistakes that keep their English from being perfect.

Should you say She learned me to play golf or She taught me to play golf? Is it He borrowed me his golf clubs or He loaned me his golf clubs? And is a great evening a fun time or a very funny time? And why should you never translate ‘derfor’ and ‘hermed’ directly?

You’ll find out at this enjoyable event, which will help Danes with excellent English skills become even more confident and fluent when speaking or writing English.

Brøler på engelsk

Kay Xander Mellish arrived in Denmark 14 years ago. A trained journalist and a former member of the communications staff at Danske Bank, Carlsberg Breweries and Saxo Bank, Kay runs her own communications consulting business in Copenhagen, Denmark. She is behind the podcast series ‘How to Live in Denmark’ and is the author of the book ‘Top 35 Mistakes Danes Make in English‘, set for publication in summer 2016.

Book Kay for your group
If you represent a corporate or community group and would like to have Kay make a presentation at your location, please get in touch via this site’s contact form for more information. Or download a PDF about How to Live in Denmark events you can share with colleagues.

Return to the How to Live in Denmark events page

How To Work In Denmark, Podcasts, Stories about life in Denmark

How to Find a Job in Denmark Part 4: The Danish job interview

If you’ve been asked for a job interview at a Danish company, congratulations. Danish companies don’t like to waste time, so they wouldn’t be setting aside time to meet you if they didn’t think there was a solid chance they might hire you.

Job interviewing in Denmark is a difficult balance, because the Jantelov makes all forms of bragging or self-promotion distasteful to the Danes. You’ve got to convince the person interviewing you that you’re skilled and capable without sounding like a used car salesman.

What I tell potential hires to do is prepare by reviewing their working history and coming up with three good stories about projects they’ve worked on – two in which you did well and succeeded, and one that went very badly, but where you learned some important professional lessons.

By admitting to have made some mistakes in your work life or have been less than perfect on the job, you’ll give yourself a lot more credibility with Danish companies, where the default motto is “Work hard, but don’t take yourself too seriously.”

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Events, How To Work In Denmark

Book a “Working in Denmark: Some tips from my experience” presentation

Why, foreigners wonder, do Danes introduce themselves by simply stating their name, instead of explaining their position and job function?

Why does the big boss ride a bike to work when he could certainly afford a car?

And why does he help clear the table after our weekly ‘morgenbrød’? Isn’t that the cleaning lady’s job?

After 16 years of working in Danish corporations, Kay Xander Mellish is personally familiar with some of the misunderstandings that can take place when Danes and foreigners work together.

Her presentation Working in Denmark: Some tips from my experience, which has been delivered for Novo Nordisk, HOFOR, DTU and other major audiences, helps both sides examine their assumptions and move towards a happier working environment. It contains concrete tips both foreigners and Danes can use to make their working relationships better.

A trained journalist and a former member of the communications staff at Danske Bank, Carlsberg Breweries and Saxo Bank, Kay runs her own communications consulting business in Copenhagen, Denmark. She is behind the podcast series ‘How to Live in Denmark’ and is the author of the book How to Live in Denmark, available in English, Chinese, and Arabic.

Book Kay for your group
If you represent a corporate or community group and would like to have Kay make a presentation about working in Denmark at your location, please get in touch via this site’s contact form for more information. Or read more about Kay’s other events.

Return to the How to Live in Denmark events page

Events, How To Work In Denmark

Book a ‘Working with Danes/Working With Americans’ presentation

Danes grow up watching U.S. movies and T.V. shows and listening to U.S. music, so they sometimes assume they ‘know’ how to work with Americans – but that’s not always true.

In this presentation, Kay Xander Mellish – an American who has lived in Denmark for more than a decade – talks about how Danes can survive and thrive when working with multicultural, competitive, litigation-averse Americans. Kay is personally familiar with some of the misunderstandings that can take place when Danes and Americans work together.

A trained journalist and a former member of the communications staff at Danske Bank, Carlsberg Breweries and Saxo Bank, Kay runs her own communications consulting business in Copenhagen, Denmark. She is behind the podcast series ‘How to Live in Denmark’ and is the author of the book How to Live in Denmark, available in English, Chinese, and Arabic.

Book Kay for your group
If you represent a corporate or community group and would like to have Kay make a presentation about working with Danes or working with Americans at your location, please get in touch via this site’s contact form for more information. Or read more about Kay’s other events.

Return to the How to Live in Denmark events page

How To Work In Denmark, Podcasts, Stories about life in Denmark

Job Search in Denmark Part 3: Your Danish cover letter, plus LinkedIn, plus two magic words

In the era of online applications, face-to-face networking, and LinkedIn profiles, the Danish cover letter is a bit of a lost art.

Probably your future employer will ‘meet’ you via one of these other channels before they ever read the letter that is supposedly introducing you.

But it’s still worth writing, because it’s a chance to set the experience on your cv in the context of the job on offer.

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How To Work In Denmark, Podcasts, Stories about life in Denmark

Job Hunting in Denmark Part 2: Putting together your Danish cv

I’ve applied for jobs in Denmark and been hired; I’ve also been the person doing the hiring and sorting through applications.

Here’s the truth: It’s really no fun on either side. On the applicant side, you can feel like a beggar, desperate for someone to recognize and reward your talent. It wears on your confidence, particularly in a long hiring process, which is common in Denmark even for Danes.

And on hiring side, you’re facing a huge stack of applications, mostly from people who know nothing about the company, nothing about the job, and are sending you a standardized letter or cv that gives no indication about why they’re a good fit.

For example, when I was hiring for a copyediting position at a financial company in Copenhagen, I got a letter in flawless English from an Eastern European woman who was a display artist at IKEA. She put together the sofas and pillows to give the imitation living rooms a chic and homey atmosphere. It’s noble work, but it had absolutely nothing to do with the job we had advertised, and she’d given no indication of how her skills would transfer.

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