This post is dedicated to all those people who ask me to get them jobs in Sweden. To the people who ask me what it takes. First let me inform you that not unless a Swedish company has approached you and offered to assist you to get a work permit to get here, you must take care of that on your own.
Once you are in the country, these are some of the things you should do to try and get that job you badly want!
It’s true that nearly everyone in Sweden speaks English, and you can easily get through your studies here without knowing a word of Swedish. Some large companies – even Swedish ones – have English as their corporate language. But being proficient at Swedish will open up lots of doors when it comes to finding work and building a social life after graduation.
Even if you apply for a job that specifically demands fluent English or where a native English speaker is preferred, your ability to speak even conversational Swedish will make you better qualified. You’ll also impress your new colleagues and bond with them more easily.
Most universities offer Swedish courses for international students. Take advantage of the opportunity – you won’t regret it!
Take an internship
Internships can be a great way to gain relevant experience and build your professional network. Even if they don’t lead directly to a job offer, you’ll have a reference from a Swedish company and a notable update for your CV. Try investigating options through international student organisations such as AIESEC and IAESTE. Or why not try your luck and contact a company you’d like to do an internship at directly?
Visit employment fairs
Swedish multinationals like Volvo, IKEA and Skanska, large national banks, public sector employers and other companies regularly tour employment fairs to meet potential new employees. Employment fairs offer a chance to browse and network amongst employers in your field and participate in one-on-one interviews and useful seminars. Major fairs include CHARM at Chalmers in Gothenburg, Handelsdagarna at the Stockholm School of Economics, eee-days at Lund University and Uniaden at Umeå University. There are also fairs not linked to universities, like Career Days in Stockholm.
It’s important that you come prepared; bring a stack of CVs and cover letters, and think of which companies you want to talk to and how to impress them. Send follow-up emails to the company representatives you spoke to – they could be a useful future contact.
Contact employers directly
When you look at Swedish job ads you may notice they include contact details for an employee who can answer questions about the post. That person is often involved in deciding who gets the position, so it can be worth your while to call them up, ask a few relevant questions and engage them in conversion. Hopefully you’ll impress them enough to remember your name when your application lands on their desk.
Make new friends
Guys, recommendations are everything in Sweden. You need a good reputation and only friends will help you. So be nice to people.