I, myself, think I am really good at job hunting. I have had three unemployment periods in my life. One was some sort of existential crisis after graduation, the second was deciding to have a career shift and the third one is now in the Swedish job market. So you think you will rock finding a job in Sweden due to all that experience in your home country? Well, it turns out, looking for a job abroad is totally different!
When you move abroad the first time, you easily accept that there can be cultural differences. But, somehow, you don’t think those differences may affect your job search. However, the first thing you should do is to learn about the culture of the Swedish job market and then act accordingly. Here I list my (and probably some of yours) three major wrong assumptions about job searching in Sweden.
The National Employment Agency is not for me
In my home country, it is not common to register at an employment Agency and they generally do not have jobs for university graduates. So for a long time, I did not listen to people who told me I should register with the National Employment Agency Arbetsförmedlingen. But I was wrong!
Arbetsförmedlingen has one of the broadest job boards in Sweden, with plenty of ads for most professions. Also being registered there gives some incentives for the employers. For instance, if an employer hire you for a job or internship when you’re registered to Arbetsförmedlingen, then Arbetsförmedlingen may pay a part of your salary (called instegsjobb or nystartjobb). Which means you cost less to your employer! Which means you may have an advantage among other candidates – so why not take your time and register today?
It is enough to search just the job boards
This was another wrong assumption of mine! If you haven’t heard this fact yet, it will be shocking for you: 80% of jobs in Sweden are not advertised and are instead basically filled though network connections. So, those job ads you see are just the tip of the iceberg. There are hidden gems deep down. And to go deeper in the ocean of jobs, you need to know the right people. If you really want to find a job, you should start by trying to meet new people and attend networking events until you have a broad Swedish network.
I cannot reach HR by calling / It is rude to call HR personally
Actually, I thought reaching an HR personally was almost impossible (because it is almost impossible in my home country). So it seemed a waste of time to try. But it turned out it isn’t! You can actually phone to the HR departments and, for instance, ask more about a job ad. In most job ads, you find the name of the contact person and phone number. Moreover, most of them specifically write that you can call them if you have any questions. Calling them will gain you some deeper unwritten insights about the job ad and also give you the chance to introduce yourself in person. So call them!
Even if there isn’t any related job ads, you can search for the companies you want to work and call their HR or employees. Make sure you properly introduce yourself and do not directly ask for a job but tell your story. Then maybe you can invite them for a fika to ask for insights like which skills you need in this profession, or how the company culture is.
I believe, as newbies, we all have our wrong assumptions about the Swedish job market. So it is important to forget about all these assumptions and make a fresh start. My main suggestion before you get started on your job search – just meet some people and learn how things work here.
Written by Busra Zenging
Hej! I am a Newbie who is close to become an Oldbie in Sweden! I’ve been in Stockholm nearly for six months, I already did so many “fika”, swam in cold waters of Sweden, walked barefoot in Stockholm’s parks during the summer and, of course, had too many interactions with the Swedish bureaucracy 🙂 So far so good! My next challenge is job hunting – we’ll see how this will go 😉