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When Henrik Brink became unemployed at the age of 64, it was harder than he expected to be considered for a new job. However, he learned that skills weigh more than age, that a CV shouldn't be scattered in different directions, and that it takes effort to secure a new job. After only four months of job hunting, he once again had a job to wake up to.

Looking for jobs - 03. May 2023 - Camilla Bech Hornung

"I just like going to work. I like being useful. It keeps me going."

This is what 65-year-old Henrik Brink says today. Since he was 20 years old, he has worked in a bank with various tasks. At the age of 59, his position was terminated. Shortly after, he started with a new employer. When he turned 61, his network quickly helped him find a new job. But when he was again without a job in February of the previous year – now at 64 – he called the unemployment insurance fund FTFa.

"I've been a member for 31 years, so I called them to see how they might help me. Shortly after, I was invited to participate in 'Udsyn & Ambitioner'," Henrik Brink explains.

'Udsyn & Ambitioner' is a special program for unemployed members who are 50+ years old.

I found it harder than I expected to be considered for a new job. But I did not experience my age as a challenge when I was in Udsyn and Ambitioner. The focus was elsewhere; it was on my skills, Henrik Brink

He elaborates, "It's about if you have the skills that the company you're contacting needs, then your age doesn't matter."

Write CV in a New Way

When Henrik started in 'Udsyn & Ambitioner', he committed to doing everything he could to get a new job.

"I'm proactive and structured. So I told Søren (job counselor at FTFa), that I would be his model unemployed. I tried to get the most out of the meetings and networks I attended. Every time Søren and I met, we gave each other homework," explains Henrik Brink.

One of the things they worked on was Henrik's CV.

Before I became unemployed, I thought my four-page CV was top-notch. But I found out that a one-page appetizer was right for me. Those looking at it do not have much time. It is a bit like Tinder; you just swipe right or left. Henrik Brink

He elaborates, "I also thought a CV described everything I've done and achieved. But I learned that the CV also needs to be adjusted from time to time. It shouldn't contain anything that points in the wrong direction in relation to the job you're applying for."

Call the Companies

Besides optimizing his CV, Henrik Brink systematically made a list of all the companies he would like to work for. The gross list in the Excel sheet was 27.

"I took three at a time and focused on them," he says.

He specifically picked up the phone and called the companies.

"My attitude is, here I am, I have nothing, so I call and see what I have afterward. It excites me. It's a balancing act because you can be a pain in the ass, but as long as you respect the other person's time, it's okay," says Henrik Brink, explaining how he prepares before a call:

"I check out the company, look at the website to see how many employees they have, where they have offices, and I read their news about any exciting projects they might be starting. Then I look on LinkedIn to see if I know anyone from the company. And then I use that knowledge and my references to build the contact."

Remember Your Drive

Henrik's perseverance and effort to stay interested in new knowledge turned out to be the way to his new job. One of the companies that visited the participants in 'Udsyn & Ambitioner' was a temp agency that offered a 4-month temp position at Nordea, which matched Henrik Brink's skills.

"I fit so well into the role that the first temp position led to another one, this time directly employed by Nordea for a project," he says.

And if you ask Henrik what advice he would give to others who are in the same situation he was in last year, the answer is clear:

Do not underestimate your own drive. Without it, you will not get anywhere. As a job seeker, you need to figure out what you can do and what you want to do. And do not set up too many obstacles for yourself. And it is important to stay interested in new knowledge and be interesting for the company. You should not rely on what you learned in the 80s still being relevant. Henrik Brink

Henrik Brink works at Nordea today.


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