Welcome to Sweden! If you have applied for international roles before, you will probably find that the recruitment process is very similar in this country. As for your CV, the structure and the content are common to many other nations, but there are a few local subtleties. In this article, I cover the main points to ensure your CV is best adapted to the Swedish job market.
Is your CV clear, easy to read and uncluttered?
In the country of minimalist design, ensure that your CV is pleasing to the eye. Avoid multiple colours and fonts, clearly mark the sections and make good use of the space. Swedes value simplicity and directness. Only keep experiences that provide relevant information for the position. Use bullet points instead of writing whole sentences. Make each word count.
How long should it be? If you have 10 or plus years of work experience, you can stretch it to 2 pages. Otherwise, try to keep it to one.
Are your contact details kept to the minimum?
At the top of the page, you need to state:
- First name, surname (in that order)
- Phone number (preferably a Swedish phone number to prove that you already live here)
- Email address
- Link to your LinkedIn profile
- Website address, if you have one
Recruiters don’t need to know your nationality, if you are married and have children, your date of birth or age. You can add your residential address if you want to show that you reside in Sweden.
Photo or no photo? There is no rule. I recommend not adding a photo as your look shouldn’t be a criteria for recruitment. If the recruiter really wants to see your face, he/she can check your LinkedIn profile (or invite you for a video interview.)
Is your work experience relevant and to-the-point?
Swedes value practical experiences over education. So this section comes before your education (unless you have recently graduated or have little work experience). List your jobs starting with your most recent position. As for any CV, add dates, place and describe your tasks or accomplishments.
Keep it simple and easy to understand. Don’t use jargons or technical terms. Add details on the positions that are relevant for the role you are applying, and keep the others short, or remove them.
Many Swedish employers are looking for competences, but also for human skills. Personal projects and life experiences are valued in Sweden, a country that views work-life balance as a priority. Feel free to mention if you stayed home to raise your children if you took a break to travel the world if you volunteer or have taken outside work responsibilities.
- Should your CV be translated in Swedish?
You should reply to a job ad in the language it’s written in. And you should only apply for roles in Swedish if you can speak it. So, don’t bother with a Swedish-translation if you don’t master the language yourself.
- Should you add references?
No, only if it is specifically asked in the job ads. But usually, it is needed later on in the recruitment process.
- Other sources of information:
Job search advices from a popular Swedish university (KTH)
CV template with explanations from Unionen
Tips from the Swedish unemployment agency (in Swedish)