How to get a job in Sweden
Most jobs in Sweden are advertised on the Internet. They can either be advertised on the employer’s own website, or on websites that collect advertisements from different employers. Here you get advice on what to think about when searching for a job in Sweden!
What should I think about when looking for a job?
In Sweden it is common not to work specifically within your field of education. The employment market in broader than one would expect. For example, a law graduate can work within a government agency with qualified administration. That is not a job practicing law, but where knowledge of the law would be useful. Therefore, you should read the job ads and see which qualifications are required. If you think that you have what the employer wants, you can apply for the job even if you don’t have the exact education that the employer is asking for.
Do you think that you don’t have any qualifications or skills for the job? That is most likely not true. You probably have lots of useful skills, you just have to know how to present them!
Transferable skills are things that you learn in one place that you can make use of in another context. To compile your transferable skills, you can make a list with four columns:
- What have I done in life? This could be previous jobs, studies, volunteer work, committee work, sports, hobbies and so on.
- What were my responsibilities in each of these roles and what tasks did I complete?
- What did I learn that I could make use of in another context?
- What did I contribute to the operation? Which goals was I a part of fulfilling?
For every position you apply to, you can look at your list and see how the qualities in the third column match the skills and experiences that you think the position requires. The fourth column gives you concrete examples of what you could contribute in a new position.
What have you done?
What did you learn?
What did you contribute?
|Waitress||Customer service, stress||Increased customer satisfaction by 2%|
|Administrator||Structure, prioritizing||Took the initiative to launch a new case system|
|Wrote a thesis||Research, analysis||New approach to area of research|
Co-operation, meeting deadlines
|Took on a leadership role|
|Contact person||Empathy||Visitors felt seen|
|Treasurer housing society||Budgeting, bank contacts||Re-negotiated mortgage for better terms
|Cooking||Planning, creativity||Have started a creolian dinner club|
|Choir||Good listener, team player||Energy and enthusiasm|
All of your experiences count!
All of your experiences are important, even your experience from before you came to Sweden. However, you will probably have to put more energy into explaining what you can so that Swedish employers will understand. For example, you should try to describe the Swedish equivalents to the education you have and your previous job positions. If you need help with this, you can book a guidance session with one of our job advisors [länk: till sida för detta, finns på separat dokument]!
Highlight your achievements!
In a Swedish job application, it is not very common to mention well-known professors you have studied under or to refer to recognized universities. It is more important to highlight your experiences, your achievements and your personality. Try to use concrete examples so that the employer really understands who you are and what you can.
Ways to expand your Swedish network
First of all, make sure that everyone around you knows that you are looking for a job. Besides friends and family, it could for example be neighbors or people you met through studies. Ask them if they know anyone who might be able to help you in your search for a job and ask for their contact info. Book meetings with the people you’ve been recommended to talk to, you could for example get together for lunch.
This is a list of organizations which can help you to meet new people and expand your network when looking for a job:
This organization has a mentorship program for educated immigrants. On their website you can also find job opportunities.
If you have already found a job, this organization can help you to get in contact with someone working in the same field as you. You can for example go out to lunch, where you can share your experiences and learn from each other.
Svenska med baby
Svenska med baby organizes meetups for people on parental leave. By going to their get-togethers, you can network, practice your Swedish and meet other parents who have a different cultural background.
This organization can help you if you want to work as a volunteer. You don’t get paid for what you do but working as a volunteer makes your network bigger and gives you valuable experience when searching for a job.
Agencies specialized in educated immigrants
Many people get their first job through staffing and recruitment agencies. Therefore, those agencies can be very helpful when you are searching for a job in Sweden. These jobs often pop up and are filled quickly, so it is a good idea to keep in close touch with one or more agencies.
Make sure that the staffing agency is authorized. This means that it has a collective bargaining agreement, which gives you better terms and conditions of employment.
There are lots of different staffing and recruitment agencies in Sweden. This is a list of agencies specialized in educated immigrants: