How to Relocate to Europe in 3 Steps: Finding a job in Startups, Scaleups, and Transformation Teams

Garrett Riggio marketing, sales, sustainablity, finding a job abroad moving to europe

Having moved around the US quite a bit in my career, I have found jobs in California, Montana, Arizona, Florida, and Colorado. I have recently spread my wings to South East Asia and now Europe, more specifically Copenhagen, Denmark.

In a matter of 2 months, I found a role in Growth and Recruitment in the Startup, Scaleup, and transformation teams job market. I have to say the ecosystem is incredible and unlike anything, I have experienced coming from having my own companies, small business, and corporate roles.

So this is how I did it, and this was not easy, but I found a way to make it much more effective.

Here is the break down:

   1. Scouting your Job Location

I highly recommend trying to go there before and stay for as long as you can. It is vital to get the vibe and MAKE FRIENDS! I know it may be difficult for some people to be outgoing at bars and events, but you can find activities and groups using social media. I wrote many exciting people, recruiters, and business owners\c-level executives (I used some marketing automation for this, message me for details). I invited them out for coffee, and many of them agreed and grew my network with some fantastic mentors. I also ran into a developer at a party I now work with that plays American Football here, on a team of around 40 guys. Football is probably one of the least played sports in Europe, perhaps even more so in Denmark. Being a former college player, they recruited me, and I have been playing ever since. But It gave me a vast network quickly, and now we work in the same building. Also, this will help you get an idea of where to start looking for work i.e., companies, job boards, and word of mouth opportunities for hiring. Also, Copenhagen is expensive to live, but the outskirts are very affordable, so use your network and research to find places on social media, and other boards.

   2. Market yourself properly

After doing a bit of reacher and networking, find the roles and experiences that are most needed and relent to your profile. Try to get as specific as possible as these companies like to hire one to one.

Now that I’m a full-time recruiter I look for:

  • Relevant Background,
  •  Who are you working with and team structure, Leadership (can this person own the vision and define the agenda?)
  •  Experience building/leading/scaling teams,
  • International experience
  • Go-to-market experience
  • “Startup-scrappiness”/ability to focus on the essential things with limited resources

There are many more parameters, but these usually are the most popular. I would then tweak your profiles and resumes to fill the relevant requests in the job descriptions. Also, use the verbiage and voice that the companies use, do some research on them, and the management to find common grounds and use the good old name drop.

    3. Interviewing & Visa

Once you get to the interview or even when your meeting potential employers bring the big guns. Do research on the person and the company. Knowledge is power, and this will also help with chemistry. Come with questions as well and try to challenge them a bit with in-depth ones after your research. Notes will help you to be more confident and balance the conversation while being less awkward. If you can master this, you will get job offers.

In the beginning, I received many freelance opportunities, but this is not a big enough commitment. In Denmark, you need a full-time contract and annual salary of DKK 436,000 or higher to have the best chance. That is doable in Copenhagen and how I got my visa. There are also other options you can read about here at Nyidanmark, and most countries have these. Then once you have a contract, you will have to apply to SIRI; this is a mega pain. Make sure you check everything six times and try to find someone to help you, if not your employer. When you have made a friend or can use your boss’s danish email or address, this will be your best chance for a fast response. And not if, but when they hit a snag you have to follow up asap, we called in every-day. This process can take 90 days; I think we did it in about 45 days because SIRI is backed up. Once you get approval it will be good for a year and need to get renewed; also you will need to bring it to your city center to get registered on the address for all your health and residency documents, do this ASAP.

And that is the short overview of how I relocated to Copenhagen, Denmark, from the USA.

Please feel free to reach out on any details, and I am always happy to assist!

Here are some videos of what it looks like in Startup Land Friday Beers.

Work hard play hard!