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Monday, January 23, 2012

Working in Sweden: The Hunt

Today's post is about finding work in Sweden. Whether you're already in Sweden looking for work, or in your home country..
Sweden is home to many companies we know and love, in addition to having a very friendly and relaxed work culture. Today's post is about the steps you can take to increase your chances of finding work in Sweden.
Whether you're already in Sweden looking for work, or in your home country trying to find your next dream job, these tips might come in handy.

Allow me however one disclaimer before we get started: This post is based on my own experience with the job hunt, and therefore might be slightly more focused on engineering jobs. While that might be true, it should still be quite helpful for people looking for work in other fields.

The first question on everyone's mind: Where do I get started ?

Personally, I'd say: "Start online", and that doesn't mean "Google it" in case you're wondering. From start-up companies seeking talent that is tailored to their needs, to large corporations looking for their next consultants, A great deal of job hunting in Sweden takes place on the internet. What that means is, you will need to build your profile on a few sites:

- Manpower, Experis and DFind: These recruitment agencies can come in very handy when it's time to look for work. Just create an account and keep your profile updated. The search engines on the site will automatically bring to your attention the jobs that you could be interested in. Needless to say these companies are responsible for recruiting consultants to some of the biggest and/or most promising companies in Sweden.

- LinkedIn: Granted not all companies take LinkedIn seriously, but it is a great tool for employers to find people with the exact skills and interests they're looking for, and so it wouldn't hurt to keep your profile updated and even try to interact with a few people, in a foot in the door kind of way.

How about something for the less online-oriented people ?

Okay so you worked really hard on your CV and have it saved somewhere in PDF format. You just want to send it to someone, you know, like the good old days, without all that online profile mumbo jumbo.. Don't worry, you won't be left out. Where to now ? To the newspapers !

- NyTeknik's job section: This local technology newspaper is always updated on job openings in the technology sector. Just go to their website and click around for a description of the jobs listed. Listings generally redirect you to the company's career pages, where you could learn more about the company before applying for the job, if you choose to.

- Ingenj├Âren's job section: Another resource for engineering jobs. With its search, top jobs and category filtering functionality, this site can be helpful in bringing into focus the jobs you are most suited for.

- The Local's job section: Sweden's English-speaking newspaper gets its job listings straight from Monster. I was under the impression that Monster wasn't all that big in Sweden, but obviously since The Local chose to partner with them for their jobs section, it must be that I was wrong.

The next step: Networking

So far we've narrowed down how to look for open positions, but what about getting some face time with company representatives, talk to them and get them to realize you're exactly the right person for the job ? My favorite place to do that is, you guessed it, Job Fairs. Luckily, there's never a shortage of job fairs, and this time of year there's a new one every few days, and it's only a train ride away.

- Arbetsmarknadsdag: This is a really cool little site which lists all the upcoming major job fairs in Sweden by date and city, and directs you to the home page of the fair you're interested in. Just print a few copies of your CV and cover letter, pick the job fair that suits you, and good luck ! Remember though, companies use job fairs to update their CV databases, not only to recruit for their current openings, and so you should do the same: Talk to as many company representatives as you can and make a list of which companies you think would be interesting to work with. Once the fair is over, send a follow-up email to the representatives you spoke to, and keep an eye out for any openings at those companies that might be suitable for you.

The little trick that might make all the difference

Now how do you set yourself apart in a world where tens or even hundreds of people are applying for the same job ? One detail that is generally very interesting about job listings in Sweden, is that each opening is generally assigned to a contact person who can answer your questions, and who often times is someone very much involved in the decision-making process. So before applying for a job, or perhaps shortly after, take the time to call. It might sound like a small detail to you, but not many people do that, and if you manage to convey your passion for the job during that telephone conversation, you just might have put yourself ahead of many other applicants. At the very least, that person would remember your name, and just might pay more attention to your CV.

But.. don't I need to speak Swedish ?

Now that's a question for the non-natives, and the answer is simple: It depends.
If you're applying for a "spokesperson" position, or one where you would have to interact with clients on a daily basis (e.g. bank teller), you certainly need to have a command of the local language. Assuming that's not the case, the working language in many companies in Sweden is in fact English. Of course, speaking Swedish will help you tremendously when it comes to socializing with your new co-workers, and therefore a little enthusiasm to learn the language goes a long way.

Hopefully, these tips will help you land your next job.
If you have other tips that you think might help people with their job search, share them in the comments section !

Recommended media:
Thinking about Studying in Sweden ? This site is for you.
Working in Sweden: A Beirut vs G├Âteborg Special (the prequel to this post)

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January 23, 2012 at 9:48 AM Ziguratha

How about crashing at your Lebanese friend' house who is currently living and working in Sweden and not leave until he has gone out of his way to help you find a job in Sweden?

January 23, 2012 at 10:48 AM Fadi

Silly me I thought that putting everything here on the blog would mean that "I've helped enough already" :P

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