Xi Lin and Claus

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Photo: Suste Bonnén

Focus on opportunities rather than limitations. That's the message from mentor Claus and Xi Lin from China, two of the few men in KVINFO's mentor network.

Each mentoring relationship has its own, unique profile. Xi Lin and Claus are particularly unique as two of the very few men participating in KVINFO's mentor network, which is primarily a project for women. However, through personal connections they both got involved in the network and were matched.

Xi Lin moved to Denmark from China in 2002 to work as a sports coach. He plays badminton professionally with the local badminton club in Esbjerg on the Danish west coast. Xi Lin also has a degree in marketing, but could not use it before 2008.

"I wasn't allowed to work outside badminton until I got my Permanent Residence Permit last year," he says.
Xi Lin joined KVINFO's mentor network looking for a mentor who could give him advice on how to find a new job. He needed someone who could provide support and understanding as he transitioned from the sports world to the marketing and business environments.

Xi Lin was matched with Claus. Their priorities were very clear from the beginning. They reviewed Xi Lin's job search activities in Denmark, discussed some of his concerns, and prepared a plan of action for the next few months.

"My first impression was that Claus is friendly and open, but also a very straightforward person. I liked that very much!" says Xi Lin. "We have been matched for a few months and he has already helped me editing my CV, filling out job applications and preparing for job interviews. I found it very easy to talk to Claus."
To describe his attitude towards life and the professional decisions he has made, Claus chooses a quotation from Oscar Wilde: "A grapefruit is a lemon that had a chance and took advantage of it."

Claus has had a long and successful professional career in such diverse areas as marketing, branding, business development and communication. His line of expertise encompasses a wide range of different businesses in and outside Denmark.

In Claus' opinion too much of the focus on integrating foreigners in Danish society has gone into designing new rules and regulations, instead of providing room for cooperation and support. "We should set up relevant demands and expectations to foreigners, but we focus too much on limitations instead of opportunities - frustrating for both foreigners who want to work in Denmark as well as Danes," he says. Mentoring allows him that kind of space.

"The first time Xi Lin and I met, he sounded enthusiastic and eager in a very positive, happy way. We are working together on a plan that should get him a job," explains Claus.

"We meet every second or third week and talk about practical suggestions for his CV and job interviews. We have identified some companies and came up with a ‘road map' to get Xi Lin more job interviews."

Time is a key element for Xi Lin and Claus. They have to drive half an hour when they want to meet. Time cannot be wasted, and so it is important for them to have concrete goals.

"Xi Lin has had one job interview already and there is another one ‘pending'. We are hoping for a job in the fall," says Claus of their common goal.

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