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Working in Sweden - Advice & Tips

Sweden

Expatriate Affairs Consultant Nannette Ripmeester tells you below what it takes to get a job in one of Europe’s most beautiful countries, where the principle of equality rules. In Sweden, most jobs can be found in the service sector and after a period of ‘jobless’ growth, Sweden is catching up and nowadays there is a unusual increase in employment.

Job hunting in Sweden

For info on prospective employers you can use the Swedish yellow pages or the Swedish version of Kompass. Almost all the vacancies are registered with the Swedish employment service, therefore they can be of great help. The vacancies of the Swedish employment service are published on a special computer (‘platsautomat’), which is accessible in the job centres, public libraries and other public offices in Sweden, and a selection of the vacancies is published on the internet (www.amv.se). You can also phone the job-helpline of ‘Arbetsförmedlingen’, where they offer job assistance to job seekers. The phone number of this ‘Kundtjänst’ is +46 771416416.

The Application Letter

A letter of application (personligt brev) should create enough interest to make the potential employer want to look at your application more detailed and hopefully invite you for an interview. Your application letter, however, should not provide too much information about experience and qualifications; this will be provided in your CV.

A standard format for the covering letter should cover one typed or handwritten sheet of A4 paper only, refers to which job you are responding to and where you found it and includes your signature. The style is short, formal and straightforward, although a personal tough is highly appreciated (conclude information on your private life, your family, leisure activities, etc.). The content and the way of writing are extremely important.

The cover letter has an introduction, main part and conclusion. The main part tells why you are eligible for the job. In ending the letter, it is common to say that you are willing to explain your application in more detail during a personal interview. Try to address your letter to a specific person and sign of with ‘Yours Sincerely’.

In your covering letter you have to include your name, address and telephone number (including international access code). You also have to include your Swedish fiscal number. If you are not (yet) registered in Sweden, your date of birth is sufficient.

The Curriculum Vitae

A Swedish CV (meritförteckning) is rather short, maximum two pages. It can either be in chronological or reversed chronological order (most recent activities first). You start with your personal details (name, date of birth (note that you write densely together first the year, then the month and finally the day), address, phone number (including international access code) and your civil status (this is not obligatory).

Subsequently, you mention your education (including results), practical experience (mention apprenticeships, student jobs and holiday work too). It is common to mention in your CV whether you have a driving license or not.

Never attach copies of diploma’s and testimonials or photos, unless asked specifically!

The Application Procedure

Application interviews are a standard element of the selection procedure for jobs at all skill levels in Sweden. A recruiter wants to have a full picture of the person he or she is going to select. Be prepared for questions about yourself, your hobbies, membership of associations or sporting clubs, and on your strong points and your weaknesses.

Bring copies of diplomas and testimonials to the interview, if you have not already sent them with your application letter. Assessment centres are becoming more popular, especially when applying for higher positions. They cover interviews, aptitude tests and job simulation tests, which focus on teamwork and working under stress.

During public sector interviews a trade union representative, working within that particular organisation, is usually present to ensure that everything goes according to the rules. Furthermore, be prepared to ask him/her some questions at the end of the job interview. The amount of times you will be interviewed depends largely on the function and the company or organisation.

On-line applications are nowadays common. In fact, a lot of job agencies, but also employers who publish their vacancies on-line provide the opportunity to complete the job application form on-line.

If we got you started on Sweden – get the guide ''Looking for work in Sweden'' to help you secure that job.

About the author

Looking for work in SwedenNannette Ripmeester is the expatriate affairs consultant to several multinational companies, which she advises regarding the strategy of international assignments and the practical implementation around expat issues.  Ripmeester started her international career at the European Commission, has worked on a project basis in 17 countries and is founder and Managing Director of Expertise in Labour Mobility (www.labourmobility.com).
She is co-author of a series of country-specific guides, the guide "Looking for work in Sweden", (ISBN-13: 978-90-5896-073-3) is part of that series of guides. To order this guide or other guides that will help you to secure the international job you want, visit our website: www.labourmobility.com.  As a reader of Eurograduate we offer you a 10% discount if you are your copy here.