How many jobs should I apply for?

While you are unemployed, you must be actively looking for a job. What does this mean?

  • Is there a lower limit to how many  jobs I must apply for per week or per month?
  • What about the holiday period, when there are fewer job openings?
  • Do I have to apply for jobs even if I’m starting a new job soon?

What is the law?

There are no laws stating the number of jobs that an unemployed person must apply for. However, being unemployed, you are required to be actively looking for jobs and to seek any reasonable work that you can perform – that is, full-time work within ordinary working hours and under ordinary conditions in your field. You are furthermore required to seek jobs involving up to 3 hours’ daily commute by public transport.

In the availability assessment meetings, the unemployment fund must assess whether you are sufficiently active in your job search to be ‘available to the labour market’. Their decision is based on concrete factors such as:

  1. your competences and experience
  2. other jobs you would be able to perform
  3. the job opportunities at hand
  4. the jobs you have applied for
  5. the job search agreement made in your job plan

How many jobs should I apply for?

We are often asked: "How many jobs should I apply for to make sure that my availability is not questioned?"

"There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this. Individual conditions should always be taken into account. But as a rule of thumb, the availability assessment should not be a problem if you apply for at least 6 full-time jobs in Denmark every month – with at least 1 job a week in response to a specific job posting, and provided that you follow the job plan", says Lars Christensen, Head of Insurance at CA.

This rule is based on a number of cases in which the Ministry of Employment inspected the unemployment funds’ availability assessments and stated that applying for only one job per week is not sufficient. It has also indicated that, generally, you cannot restrict yourself to unsolicited applications, but must also seek posted positions. Unless the job plan says otherwise, the availability assessment will be based on this.

Lars Christensen, believes that the rule of thumb is fine in that it gives you a sense of the conditions. But he warns against relying too heavily on it: 

"It would be quite wrong to focus on cutting corners when rather you should focus on how high to set the bar, and how many job you can apply for. If you keep to the very minimum, and only ever apply for 6 jobs per month, getting back to work again could take a long time. It’s about looking out for every opportunity", says Lars Christensen.

What about holiday periods with fewer job openings?

Particularly during the summer holiday period, fewer permanent positions are posted because most firms either advertise their job openings well ahead of the holiday period or wait until after the holiday. But this does not mean that you can relax your job search if you wish to continue claiming benefits during the summer.

If there are not enough relevant job postings, you will need to broaden your job search by applying in a wider geographical area, or for jobs outside your field of work or level. You can also supplement traditional job searching by intensifying your unsolicited job search.

According to Lars Christensen, ”There may be fewer permanent jobs during the summer. On the other hand, there could be lots of temporary jobs, because companies need temps and holiday assistants. This may not be the job of your dreams, but it will keep you head above water – and getting a foot in the door may lead to new chances”.

If you are planning a break from the job hunt, you must inform your jobcenter and CA unemployment fund no later than 14 days before the holiday. You cannot receive unemployment benefits while on holiday, but if you are entitled to holiday allowance from an employer, or holiday benefits from the unemployment fund, you can claim these while on holiday.

I’m starting my new job in about a month – must I apply for jobs?

Yes, you must. The benefits system relies on an insurance principle that offers you benefits while you are unemployed in return for you doing your best to seek work and avoid unemployment. 

Even if you have signed a contract saying that you must start work in a week, a month, 3 months or so – to receive benefits, you still have to be actively looking for a job during the entire time until you start work again.

”Of course, it doesn’t make sense to apply for a permanent position if you’ve already found a steady job. It would be a waste of time, both for you and your employer. But then you could focus on short-term work and temporary jobs that you can perform until you start your permanent job”, says Lars Christensen.