Within Europe, Sweden is one of the most popular destinations for university graduates worldwide. With a population of about 10 million people, the country scores high on kinds of rankings - from sustainability to human development and income equality. So, here is what you need to know to start your international career in Sweden.
Where to find jobs as a graduate in Sweden
Industries: Private companies contribute to approximately 90% of the country’s industrial production, and about 70% of total GDP is attributed to the services sector. The industrial structure in Sweden is composed to a very high degree of large, internationally oriented business conglomerates.
Cities: Swedens’ largest city is the capital Stockholm, which has a population of over 1 million and is home to many organisations. Other bigger cities are Gothenburg, Malmö and Uppsala.
Our Top Tips
- The typical way of gathering work experience during your studies in Sweden is via a “Sommarjobb”. Those are temporary positions during the summer months. Don’t let the term confuse you, these jobs can be way more than just waiting tables - many companies and counties offer them as a way to get study-related work experience.
- A very popular way for university graduates into the Swedish workforce is via trainee positions, mostly offered by the bigger companies across different sectors.
Preparing your Swedish CV and cover letter
Our Top Tips
Your cover letter should be personalised and tailor-made for the position. In Sweden, it’s particularly common to start the letter off with a heading addressing the company, position and/or reference number found in the job post.
Your CV should be easy to read and not too cluttered - focus the work experience that is relevant to the position you are applying for. Swedish CVs differ somewhat from other Nordic counterparts. Note, for example, that:
- Swedish CVs do not include information about marital status and children. If you want to mention it at all, put it in the cover letter.
- Though the practice of putting references into your CV differs between companies, a quite general point of view amongst Swedish employers is that including references help support the applicant's case of getting hired.
Getting in touch with employers in Sweden
Our Top Tips
Language: English is extremely widespread as a second language in Sweden. That makes it easier as a foreigner to navigate the country, but also creates a lot of competition among applicants. So it’s a good idea to start learning Swedish as well as highlighting other language skills you might have.
The job interview: As Swedes work in a very egalitarian work environment, you typically get further by displaying modesty and courtesy rather than over-confidence and boldness. Similarly, most companies are looking for people to fit in with their culture – so you will be better off preparing examples of how you typically perform in a team rather than highlighting your individual achievements.
Contacting companies: The Swedish work culture is all about collaboration. Therefore, it is a good idea to go out and actively create a local and international network. Volunteering in different organisations can be a good way of building up a strong network. Note that online profiles are a good way to keep up the connections and to be found by your future employer!
Working and living in Sweden
Our Top Tips
- For finding visa information: Swedish Migration Agency
- For finding housing: Portals such as Blocket, Bostadsportal or dedicated Facebook groups
- For starting another university education: Studying in Sweden
- For understanding “fika” and concepts like “lagom”: Everything Sweden Blog
P.S.: Which other countries would you like to work in? Let us know!