How to kick start your career in Sweden as a newcomer
From my personal transformation journey, I have gathered some highly effective tips which can help you to kick start your career in Sweden, especially if you are a newcomer in this beautiful Nordic country.
Sweden — the 2nd most innovative country in the world according to the Global Innovation Index, has many opportunities to offer. Generally speaking, being in a new country is always challenging with tons of new things to adapt, especially from a career and social integration point of view.
It is even more challenging in the case of Sweden as its social structure is quite different. I am sharing some effective tips which have been proved effective for accelerating my career in Sweden.
I am sure these tips will smoothen your journey towards an unknown yet glorious future.
The article “14 effective tips to kick start career in Sweden” was originally published in a community magazine in Jönköping, Sweden in Oct 2019. The focus of the article was to help the newcomer students from South Asia in Sweden and to help them well adapt in Sweden.
This updated version i.e. “Effective tips to kick start your career in Sweden as a newcomer” is very much relevant not only to the new students but also for others who are new in Sweden and want to kick start their career.
Make the best of the university courses in Sweden
Connect and keep continuous interaction with a couple of your university teachers, even when your education is finished. You will need those teachers as a reference either to pursue further study or apply for a job.
You will also have lots of guest lecturers from different companies. Don’t miss to connect with them and be in touch to build a good rapport.
I had one long-lasting contact that leveraged me to put my feet into the Swedish job market.
Make international friends
Make at least a couple of long-term friends who are not from your continent of origin. More you spend your time and more interactions you do will help you to better learn & adapt to the new lifestyle, taste the diversity and explore yourself.
Make sure you will have at least a couple of long-lasting friendships once you are done studying.
Plan for internship & thesis work from 1st semester
Internship and thesis are the two biggest opportunities to land on the job of your prefered sector. Start planning the topic, make a list of the targeted companies in the first semester and start engaging them.
Be active about the student activities in the university courses
There are plenty of student activities in most of the courses. Take an active part in those. Together with my team, we jointly won SEK 60k of a student competition. It gives me immense leverage until now.
Participate in the events
Your university will arrange lots of events like how to write a CV, how to search for a job, international food festival etc, mostly for free of cost. In addition, you will find a lot more events arranged in your living city.
Have your eyes and ears open and try to take part in as many events as you can. Each of the events will teach you something new and effective for better integration here.
Explore online resources
There are plenty of online resources available in Sweden for newcomers. Sometimes, it takes a while to get to know about them. Here are the most effective ones for you:
The Newbie Guide
This website gives you a complete lifestyle guide on how best to fit yourself in Sweden. I found it one of the most comprehensive and updated resource. Every newcomer in Sweden must visit this website as well as their social media channels on a regular basis. Click here
Study in Sweden
This is the official website for higher studies in Sweden. Follow the section of “Life in Sweden” which will give you important information. Click here
It helps to Integrate better into Swedish society through an understanding of Swedish culture and language. Click here
A must-have handbook named “Working in Sweden: The A–Z Guide” which details out all the concepts, tips, terms, keywords to adapt well in the Swedish work environment. I strongly recommend getting the handbook. Click here
Learn about Swedish recruitment dynamics
Recruitment dynamics are quite different in Sweden than in other countries. It starts from the job application, CV preparation until the recruitment process is completed. There are few organizations who are especially focusing on the Swedish recruitment dynamics and making it easy to grasp.
A comprehensive website which is full of effective resources which will prepare you to enter into the Swedish job market. Click here
An internship is the best way to get permanent employment. Jobbsprånget is a four-month-long internship programme which can fast track your journey towards the working life in Sweden. Click here
The national employment agency is available in your city. Visit it regularly. You can check out weekly vacancy news from their publications. Often they organize job fair and do instant recruiting.
An easy way to get in touch with the recruiting companies even if it is a low skilled job. Click here
Join the mentorship program
Mentorship is highly regarded in Sweden. It is very effective when you are looking for a job in your sector. It helps to build a strong professional network.
Several organizations provide a structured mentorship program.
Here is the list of the best ones according to my own experience:
Understand the Swedish culture
Swedish culture works differently. Everything is quite formally done here, even friendship. Interestingly, some organizations will help you to get closer to Swedes to understand society more.
Consider registering yourself at these organizations:
Support & learn from your spouse/partner
If you have your spouse with you, you are the luckiest person. While you are busy studying, your spouse could roam around, get acquainted, interact with people, get a job, support you with new information.
Such teamwork with a spouse always pays off in terms of rational, emotional and learning support to keep moving forward.
Be employed no matter what
Even during your study, it is important to be employed to support yourself morally as well as financially. This also helps to understand the Swedish work culture.
Few easy options to look at:
JustArrived is an organization who does recruitment of the foreign-born competencies in Sweden. Click here
Some more easy fixes:
Advertisement paper distribution (reklam) Job in the restaurant and cleaning company is something quick and comparatively easy to start. Look for companies related to this in your city and get in.
Build a strong network with professionals
7 out of 10 job vacancies are filled up from the contacts in Sweden. So it’s important to build and expand your professional network in Sweden, especially in your sector.
The following online platforms are the very good starting point
It matches you with a Swede in your industry. He or she can help you to make your CV most relevant to the Swedish job market. You can also learn the best way to get a job in your sector in Sweden. Click here
Become a member of Internations. This is a group of foreign expatriates working in Sweden. Meetup is also quite popular. Checkout meetup and join different groups. You can also check out Eventbrite where you will come across lots of event invitations to take part. Thus, you will be able to have a solid network within a short time.
I joined a book reading club using meetup which led me to my first consulting earning in Sweden.
Utilize LinkedIn profile
A decent presence on LinkedIn is as important as having an updated CV all the time. Be active on this platform, keep your profile clean, updated. Follow your target companies, check job advertisements, connect with the professionals from your field and your preferred companies.
Start a meaningful dialogue with them once connected. And establish a meaningful relationship as well. I got my internship through this platform which later on, converted to my current job.
Focus on language “Svenska”
Learning Swedish is important. Have a plan for it and be dedicated. SFI (svenska för invandrare) is a good one if you manage to dedicate yourself.
Visit your local library where you will find “språkkaffe”- a local event organized to help a newcomer learn and practice the Swedish language. You will get the chance to practice Swedish and make new contacts.
Use the following online resources to kick start
- Learning Swedish and
- Join the Facebook groups like “Learn Swedish”, “Learn Swedish together”
SwedishPod101 is my favourite online resource to learn Swedish. It is very comprehensive and full of resources. Their modules make the learning full of fun and interactive. The best part is, SwedishPod101 provides you with the native pronunciation of the language which helps you to become a fast communicator in Swedish.
I strongly recommend this online Swedish language learning platform.
Take the online course “Understanding Swedish Work Culture”
I recently took an online course “Understanding Swedish Work Culture” by Peers Bridge who help newcomers adapt to their new life in Sweden. Despite a couple of years of working in a Swedish company, this course helped me to get much-needed clarifications about certain cultural aspects which I always wondered about.
This online course covers unwritten cultural codes and norms which is very helpful particularly if you are seeking a job in Sweden. Because, by understanding the work culture explained in the course, you will be well equipped to prepare yourself in the best possible ways while looking/applying for jobs in Sweden.
I recommend this course to anyone who wants to enter the job market or is curious about how Swedes work. You can sign up for the course by clicking here and you can get a discount of 20% using my coupon code — abir-2020.
I have been exposed to almost 99% of the effective tips mentioned above to kick start my career in Sweden. It was not an easy task to explore them objectively. However, it has been an amazing journey so far.
There will be a time of frustration and negative thoughts. But trust yourself and follow the tips. I am sure you will reach your dream life in Sweden.
If you want to directly talk to me for any advice or consultation, please book a 50 minutes free appointment by clicking here