I’ve lived in Sweden now for 13 months, and unfortunately I still have no proper job. I was warned that it usually takes over a year for foreigners to get a proper job here, so I’m not feeling too shocked by it. But as my previous post discussed, I do know that having taken learning Swedish seriously has brought me much closer to finally having a job here.
I have also learned over the last year, and especially the last few months, that a huge part of finding jobs more easily in Sweden is networking. Getting to know people who can “vouch” for you within their company so that management/HR will take more time to look at your application/CV and probably call you for an interview. Companies get so many applications for their job ads, they have a hard time properly going through them. Of course, having a nice eye-catching CV is important for this. And having a great LinkedIn profile can also be extremely useful here (LinkedIn is HUGE here–if you don’t have a good LinkedIN profile, MAKE ONE!). But, networking can be your biggest asset here! So, it’s important for you to find as many ways as possible to go out and network. The same goes for job fairs–go to as many as you can, rather than relying only on sending applications online. Meeting people in-person gives you the best chance of getting asked for an interview, because they can put a face to the name and get a feel for you as a person and your personality, to see if they might be interested in having you join their company. It’s much easier for them to think of you and remember you, rather than just a paper CV that they need to read through (and never actually read through entirely).
Networking can be done in a number of types of ways. Ones I have found that can be useful are:
- Local job fairs
- Local Facebook groups (especially ones that are job-search related)
- Local clubs (I am personally a member of the American Women’s Club, International Women’s Club, SWEA, etc.)
- Local hobbies (like choirs, etc.)
- InterNations meetups
- Meetup.com meetups
Honestly, I personally have had the best luck with LunchIn, and I HIGHLY recommend checking it out in your local area. It was started in Sweden, and has many locations throughout Sweden. It is meant specifically for networking, so everyone is very friendly and happy to connected on LinkedIn. Even if the person you’re talking to is not in your career field, they are interesting to talk to and they’re all very happy to help connect you with any of their connections who might be in your career field! Plus, it can be an excellent place to practice your Swedish language skills. I was lucky enough at my first (huge!) LunchIn event to meet someone who I connected with on LinkedIn, and later in the day she sent me a message saying she knew someone who works in my career field (aviation) and see if it was possibly a company I was interested in working for. I had actually applied to that company multiple times before and never heard anything! So she connected me with that contact of hers, who happened to be a manager with the company, and the manager encouraged me to apply for a job opening and then she talked to HR for me. Finally, HR contacted me! So, hopefully I will have an interview with them soon, and finally have a job–and one in my chosen career field!