I met a friend this weekend. For some years, he wanted to find a job as an accountant but was struggling. All companies wanted someone that spoke Swedish and he didn’t know Swedish. This is a hard position to be in for anyone, you have the skills needed but the only thing that he felt short on was the language. But Swedish language is an essential skill in most jobs.
So, he took a step back. He applied and got a job at a home for elderly care here in Uppsala. During a couple of months, he spoke in Swedish to the people living there and now when I met him, he is fluent. Then with these new language skills, he now has a job as an accountant.
The thing is, sometimes you need to change your approach and do something differently to reach your end goal. Sometimes you need a milestone that is completely different from that end goal. Working with elderly care was the best thing he could do, because it helped him bridge the last skill gap he needed to find a job, namely Swedish.
Why did another milestone help find him a job?
- Think about it, how many more words do you think you will have to say to take care of elderly people all day instead of bookkeeping?
- The majority of the day for an accountant is silent. The majority of the day taking care of elderly is talking and listening to Swedish. In other words, taking care of elderly was a more efficient way for him to reach his goal. Eventhough it is something completely different from what he wants in the end.
- It just happens to be so that working at an elderly care helped him to gain a new transferable skills — speaking Swedish.
So, we have to think about, what the next step is. What is the gap between where I am today and where I want to go? How can I most efficiently bridge that gap?
If it is the language, get any job where you talk and listen to a lot of people. It doesn’t have to be a job in which you end up for a long time. It is just something you do to build a new skills.
Written by Andreas Wennberg
Andreas Wennberg is the founder of 400contacts, an app that helps people find a job in eight weeks. He blogs about jobs, how to find that elusive job and how to tweak your experiences and skills to become attractive on the Swedish job market. For more help on finding a job – sign up at 400contacts