CV, cover letter, resume, ansøgning?

Hello again!

I know it’s been a while, but I don’t think any of you expected any different when you heard I was moving, haha!  The past three weeks have been an incredible challenge, with rewards here and there, and some extra challenges-on-top-of-challenges along the way.  The good news is that we’re mostly pretty much moved in and settled!  While there are still several boxes unpacked, and lots of things that don’t really have a home yet, we’re getting there, and the worst is over.  I was going to wait until everything was done to do a small house tour and photos, but I realized that if I do that, no one will see the new place until next June, so I’ll be back soon with all of that!

But for today, you get to hear about my job search.

As I said, I was going to start my job search after we moved.  In my head, I was thinking of November sometime, but as a friend of mine heard of a an opening at her workplace, I got a kick in the butt, and got started on my first application just a few days after the move.

Here’s where it gets embarrassing.

See, I’ve never really applied for a “real” job before.  I did volunteer work, and worked as a catering server, a janitor, and a nanny.  These jobs mostly required a patched-together resume, and an application with personal and contact details.  As I was writing my CV for this job, Andreas kept asking me if I’d written my “ansøgning” (literally translated to “application”) to which I’d reply, “well, sure…” figuring that I’d fill in an application when I uploaded my CV.

Little did I know, an ansøgning is a cover letter, not an application.  Luckily, we caught our miscommunication early enough, but after struggling with my CV, I was quite dismayed over the fact that I’d now have to write a cover letter–something that seemed ten times harder!

It wasn’t exactly ten times harder (probably closer to three), but I finished in time, sent out my application, and was very pleased about the fact that I’d done it!  I’d applied for a job in Denmark!

I’ve written another one since, but today I decided to apply for my first Danish job.  In Danish.  I managed a translation of my CV, which wasn’t so bad, but now I’m supposed to be writing my cover letter, and…well…I’m writing this instead.

The biggest problem is not even the language–it’s that the format seems so foreign to me.  And then, well, there’s also the language.  I haven’t even gotten a single word down yet, and I’m already exhausted just thinking about the fact that I’m going to have to write a whole new one of these for each job I apply for.

It’s not even that I’m feeling discouraged, exactly, because I think I’m actually quite optimistic about my chances and all, but I do feel like a very small person looking up at a very large mountain, letting out a medium-sized sigh before I find my first toehold.

This is hard, guys.

For What I’m Worth

Today, we picked up my new bike.  It’s a beauty, and I’m so excited, but there’ll be another post on that.  This one is about our savings and how they’re disappearing before our eyes.

We’ve been really good at saving.  We usually don’t spend much more than we really need to.  Andreas has a good job, and we’ve been living fairly cheaply (for Copenhagen), so over the past year and a half, we’ve saved up quite a bit.  But suddenly, we had to pay for our new apartment deposit, a nearly $2,000 dentist bill, four new appliances, two bikes, and everything that goes with them, and we still haven’t bought the extra furniture we’ll need for the (much, much) bigger (and more expensive) place.

These are all things we need, but that doesn’t really make it easier to see the money disappear.  Especially now that our rent is being doubled and we won’t be able to save up as quickly (if at all) anymore.  This has me thinking about a job.  We won’t be going into debt, and we’re not irresponsibly throwing away all of our money, but spending everything that we earn every month makes me uncomfortable.

I’ve considered running a home day care here (with just one or two other little ones), but I’m also really attracted to the idea of working out in the Real World.  Both have their pros and cons, but to be honest, I’m feeling so insecure that neither of them sound feasible.  How will I come in contact with people who need my daycare services?  What if it was too isolating?  What if I met people who wanted a home daycare, but they just didn’t like me?  And the other options are even scarier.  How the heck do I start writing a Danish CV?  I still haven’t gotten up the courage to go to the Job Center yet, probably partly because I’m afraid they’re going to tell me that getting a job that has to do with writing/editing/language is a completely unattainable goal, and that I should aim for food service–a field in which I have an abundance of experience and absolutely no interest in continuing.

The real, concrete worst case scenario is that I can’t get a job or find any way to make money, and we just have to be extra careful with our spending.  But what I’m really terrified of is the extra blow to my self esteem and confidence that I just don’t feel I can afford.  I haven’t had the opportunity to get out there, and really try yet.  And now that I do, I’m just not sure I can handle the rejection.

But at some point (that point being in the next few weeks), I’m going to have to just…do it.  As oversimplified and generic as that sounds, I will.  I’ll have to go to the Job Center, and maybe the person will tell me that it doesn’t look good.  But the most important thing to me is that, even if that does happen–and I have to hold back some tears, and face dingy, unimproved options–at least I have Andreas to come home to.  If I cry about that, he will understand, because he’s the best, and Theo’s the best.  And even if I get a super lame job, or no job at all–the important people are still there–sharing grapes, fake burping, and needing me.  Because regardless of what I’m worth to anyone else, I’m kind of the bee’s knees around here.


I used to be smart…right?

Life abroad has its ups and downs.  Life as a mom has its ups and downs.  And I just hit downs on both.

Before I get into this, I just want to say that I know it’s totally normal to have moments and days and weeks like this.  Moving so far away from home, trying to settle into a new life with a new language, and putting forth every best effort to find friends is taxing.  I totally get that this is how it’s supposed to be, and this is how I’m supposed to feel.  And man is this hard sometimes.

I speak Danish well.  I was blessed with a language-learning head, a little bit of perseverance, and lovely, incredibly patient, in-laws who’ve helped me so much.  But honestly, I don’t speak Danish well enough to be 100% myself when I’m speaking it.  A lot of the time, the words come easily, but sometimes they don’t.  It’s great that I’m able to communicate fairly well, but it’s frustrating when my train of thought is constantly halting, jumping, and false-starting because I can’t fish the right words out quite quickly enough.  It’s frustrating to have a funny comment that I can’t quite figure out how to put into Danish words, or to be explaining something, only to give up halfway through because the round-abouts I’m taking to explain things I don’t know the words to are just too much.  To be blunt, I feel dumb a lot.  And when I think about it, of course I’m not dumb–I learned Danish for goodness’ sake.  But I still feel dumb.

And feeling dumb isn’t making the job thing any easier.  I’m not quite job-searching yet, but we’re moving in September, and I’m hoping to find some sort of a job in the fall/winter–whether it be an at-home daycare, or a job outside of the home.  But just assuming that the at-home daycare doesn’t work out, I’d have to job-search.  And that is scary.  Completely apart from having to do this all in Danish and in Denmark where I know very little about the job market, I feel totally unequipped to be job-searching.

I’m going to go to the job center in not too long, present them with my educational and work background, and just hear what options I have here in Denmark, which I’m sure will help a lot.  Because as of right now, I don’t feel like I can do anything.

For most of my life, I felt smart.  In first grade, I was reading chapter books.  In second grade, I got to learn cursive.  In third grade, I was the fastest typist in the class.  You get the picture.  This continued through elementary school, middle school, high school, and, surprisingly, even college.  I know it sounds super smug, but I just got used to being one of the “smart kids.”  And that was a huge part of my identity.

There was a time when I was in college, working three jobs.  And I turned out some of my best work that year, yet I also remember having time to have fun with my friends, and plan my wedding and our life together.  Nowadays, I’m proud of myself if I manage to vacuum once a week.  (Although, come to think of it, I don’t think I vacuumed more than once every couple of months back then…)

The thing is, I’ve been not much more than a wife and then a mom for the past couple of years, and I feel like I’ve gotten gradually less and less intelligent.  I also haven’t been able to have a job for two and a half years now, which leaves me feeling less than competent.

I know that at one point, I was really smart.  I know that at one point, I was even really confident, and I felt like I could really do anything.  These days, I don’t feel like there’s any job that I could do well.  In my head, I know that I would actually be the best candidate for many jobs–that I would do them well, and be happy doing them.  But in my not-head, I feel completely inadequate.


So, I’ve made a small plan to get myself back on track.  My goal for the week is to make up a list of books I want to read that I can get from the library in Denmark, and go get them.  And that’s pretty much it for now.  But I’m going to try to use Theo’s naptimes to do more than giggle at posts on BabyCenter asking how people sanitize their baby’s high chair trays (ummmm….wipe with the damp cloth I used to wipe the baby’s face, anyone?) and watch terrible TV.

It’s okay that I did those things, but now that I feel like I’m coming out of the survival mode fog, I feel like I need to get my self back, and a part of that self is reading, learning, writing, and doing smart things.

Any recommendations for books (they don’t have to be “smart” books, haha!) or ideas for getting that old confidence back?



So the other day I dipped my baby toe into the world of job searching.  I found a pretty standard job search site, which, while it was in Danish, I could figure out pretty well.  Then it all sort of went to hell.

I have no idea what I can do here.  I occasionally curse myself for not having a very valuable college degree, and not a whole lot of work experience.  I don’t know how to make a Danish CV (although I’m sure Andreas and probably the job center can help me out with that when I’m ready) and I don’t know what I’m qualified to do.  I don’t know how far I can get with the Danish skills that I’ve taught myself, and I fear that it’s nowhere near far enough.  There are a few jobs I think I’d like, but besides the possible language barrier, I don’t know if you have to have any specific education to have that sort of position (a helper at a daycare).  The ads didn’t mention anything like that, and although I’m sure they could let me know, if I called, I’m not quite to that point yet.

I’m not feeling particularly discouraged, (surprisingly, considering my history of being easily discouraged) but I am feeling a bit confused and leery.  I’d like to have work, but I should first probably concentrate on wedging myself into a Danish class as soon as I can.  I have a feeling I’ll have to pass a certain level before I can start midwifery school (if I even get into midwifery school) so that’s the priority, really, but I am also looking forward to maybe being able to contribute a bit, and since we’ve just moved and still need to buy quite a few things, we could use the extra money!

I’ll do a better search another day, maybe with Andreas peeking over my shoulder, and then after that see what the job center can help me with, but first, I’ll see what I can do about these Danish classes…

It’s really strange, having things to arrange and think about.  I have to shift out of neutral and get to work, but it’s pretty hard, considering I’ve been keeping myself in neutral for a pretty long period of time…we’ll see how much luck I have on that front…

Anyway, I almost blogged every day in November, and am pretty excited about that!  Now for the first day of December, and a nearby flea market!