Although I’m truly grateful to have been given the opportunity to relocate for now in Sweden, I never imagined that finding a job would be truly challenging. I thought having had enough work experience, it would be easier for me to apply but I couldn’t be more wrong on this assumption. For my fellow expats in Sweden or for any other country in that matter and you find yourself looking for a job, although some may or may not work, I fervently hope that this blog could truly help you in some sort of way. Here are the 32 steps I took to land my first job in Sweden…
1.) Made my traditional resume, presentable.
- I used Canva to update my traditional Microsoft Word document to make my resume more presentable and memorable. Remember that recruitment people receive a ton of resumes and you need to provide something that would be a “love at first sight” for them to stand-out. Make sure that your resume is only 1-2 pages short. Canva is a free online tool that you could truly maximize and there’s a lot of sample resumes that you could choose to customize your CV.
2.) Customized my cover letters.
- When I find something that I’m interested to apply for, I thoroughly read the job ad. I make note of the skills and qualities that they indicate on the job post and then, I find a way to highlight some of these skills in relevance to my previous work experience. Think of previous scenarios where you have applied these skills and it would be better if you could also indicate the positive outcome that resulted because of these skills. Although it’s tedious and this actually took up most of my time, this increased my chances of being invited for an interview. I also followed the cover letter shared by @Wonsulting that I came upon his account in Tiktok.
3.) Made a “Video Resume”
- Remember my case in point of standing-out from the rest of your fellow applicants? I made a personal video resume because I know this is one way of proving that I would go the extra mile to prove my worth to my potential hiring manager. Also, they say that a video is worth a thousand words. One interviewer said to me that it was very nice that I created the video resume and that it was the reason they wanted to learn more about me. Again, you can make use of Canva, Renderforest, Biteable, Filmora, Camtasia, Animaker etc. Some have free versions and some have free trials.
4.) Created my personal website.
- I used Wix to create my professional website where I showcased my professional skills. Having your own personal website would also be beneficial if you have previous work that you want to showcase by setting up your Portfolio page. Since I also have this personal blogsite thru WordPress, I also shared this whenever appropriate. This also provides an in-depth personal capability, like for example when you search for a company and they have their own website, it just shows more credibility.
5.) Created a personal email using Microsoft Outlook
- I created a personal email account in MS Outlook that I used solely for all my job applications only. I initially thought to make use of Gmail or Yahoo but my husband suggested to make use of outlook.com instead as it seemed to be “more professional”. So it looked like this: email@example.com. I created and organized my folders from all important senders. One thing that helped me, I created a “Rejects” folder so that once I receive a rejection email, I would automatically move them to that folder so that I won’t see them in my Inbox feed as I check my email on a daily basis. It really helped me a lot not to see the negative connotation of those rejection emails on my inbox.
6.) Updated my LinkedIn profile.
- I couldn’t stress more the importance of having an updated LinkedIn profile. I made sure that I used a headshot photo with professional background. I also chose an appropriate banner to portray a more professional setting. Make use of the “Open to Work” logo on your profile. I also took advantage of the Featured section to share about my blogsite and I chose also a quote about work to highlight in this particular section.
7.) Created Job Alerts and used different filters in LinkedIn
- On my LinkedIn account, I created a lot of different filters. I used some of the following keywords: Malmo, Greater Malmo Metropolitan area, Denmark, English-speaking jobs, Remote working, Easy Apply. (So of course you can edit these based on your location)
8.) Sent messages to Recruiters in LinkedIn
- Being a naturally shy person, I had to overcome my shyness and just took a great leap of faith by sending messages to recruiters in LinkedIn. Now you have to keep in mind that when you’re not personally connected on LinkedIn, back then I had 299 characters that I can use to send a message. But lately, some are only able to use 140 characters (it might be a recent update in LinkedIn). I tried to connect with them and sent this message: “Hello, Please excuse my messaging you out of the blue. I have more than 10 years of Customer Support experience & also a Digital Content Creator seeking new job/internship opportunities. Just wanted to reach out whether my background might be a fit for any of your openings. =) Sincerely, MyName”. Some connected with me and was gracious enough to accept my invite, some did not respond and luckily, some invited me to have interviews with them. Just a reminder, make sure your LinkedIn account is updated before sending these messages because they will definitely look at your profile.
9.) Registered myself at Arbetsformedlingen.
- When I was doing my research prior to our move in Sweden, I have already learned about Arbetsformedlingen or the Swedish Public Employment Service. So when I had all my documents in place like having my own personnummer, mobile bank ID, I immediately registered in Arbetsformedlingen. They called me and interviewed me about my education and previous work experience in the Philippines. And then they have approved me to be part of the Support and Matching Program and then I chose Jobbklar as my supplier. We had virtual meetings that was held twice a week and they provided tips on how to get that job and also helpful information about the Swedish job market. Although the trainings were held in Swedish, they would send me an English translation and then I’m tasked to submit a brief summary report about it. Being a participant also of the Support & Matching program enabled me to receive a small allowance from Forsakringskassan.
10.) Created a job applications diary.
- I got this idea from Jobbklar and it truly helped a lot. So I created an Excel document that tracked all the positions I’ve applied for, the location of the company, status of my application, date of interview (if invited). I also included the job responsibilities of each position I applied for because if the company invited me for an interview, I get to review the job role and sometimes, the job post has been taken off. The diary also enables me to follow-up for the job positions that I’m really interested in.
11.) Registered myself to different staffing / recruitment agencies.
- This is also one of the time-consuming tasks I made but this would be helpful as well as you make yourself known to these recruitment agencies and there’s a greater chance that they may contact for possible job opportunities. I registered myself to the following: Adecco, Randstad, Poolia, SmartRecruiter, Workday, Montico etc.
12.) Registered myself to different job search platforms
- Although LinkedIn and Platsbanken in Arbetsformedlingen had been my 2 best friends on my job search journey, I still made time to register myself in other job search platforms like Indeed, Monster.se, Jooble, EURES job portal etc.
13.) Made myself a goal to submit at least 10-15 job applications per week.
- As they say, the more raffle entries you send, the more chances of winning. So I believe this is quite similar to job hunting, the more job applications I send, the more chances of having job interview invitations.
14.) Submitted open applications.
- I did have some particular companies that I I really wanted to work with however, when I check on the available job positions, there’s nothing that I could apply for. So what I did was to submit open applications that just in case other job positions that would fit me and would be available in the future, there’s a chance that they might be able to see my job application.
15.) Applied for the KickStart Program at International Citizen Hub Lund
- This also came up on my research prior to our move here in Sweden. The great thing about this program is that they prioritize on the spouses or partners of international recruited talents so as not to leave them behind. I have also attended some of their online events and have found a great deal of helpful information from them. I even subscribed to ICHL monthly newsletters and would always look forward to the stories being shared by its members.
16.) Joined different Facebook Groups and created my own Facebook group as well.
- Network is such a big word when it pertains to the Swedish job market. They say that only 30% of the jobs are being published and 70% you find through your personal network. I joined different Facebook groups like Malmo | Gone Girl International and Expats in Malmo. I even created my own personal Facebook group so as to just hopefully expand my own personal network.
17.) Prioritized job ads posted in English.
- To save time, I would skim and read up on job ads written in English. Sometimes, there are some job postings that I’m really interested in and even though they were written in Swedish, I would use Google Translate to read up on the details. I would definitely check immediately and if I see that Swedish language is a requirement, I would just simply move on to the next job listing.
18.) Rounded up a list of big established companies in Sweden and Denmark
- Big established companies more often than not use English as corporate language. So if you’re not in IT like me, you might want to check the available positions in these companies: IKEA, Spotify, Klarna, Apple, Eloomi, Famly, Ubisoft, Massive Entertainment, Hansa Biopharma, Nestle, Unilever, Oatly, Volvo etc.
19.) Prepared a list of Character Reference
- When you register to some recruitment companies, they would ask you for some character reference. I made sure I prepared 3 – 4 character references that included my previous supervisors and colleagues. I had an experience that after my first job interview, the hiring manager asked me to submit character reference and good thing I was ready and was able to immediately provide them their contact information.
20.) Checked out establishments in my local area.
- So when my husband and I would sometimes stroll in the afternoon after his work, I took note of the establishments near our apartment. I then tried to browse for their company websites or Facebook pages and look for their Contact Us information. I would then submit an inquiry or email that goes something like this:
I was checking out the surrounding area near our apartment and I saw that I live very near (establishment’s name). I just wanted to express my interest if by any chance there are any job openings in your company?
I have attached my cover letter and resume / CV just in case you have job openings.
Thank you for your time and hoping to hear from you.
21.) Expanded my job search to companies that offer remote working, even to other countries (eg. UK, US, Australia)
- I did not limit myself to just looking for jobs here in Sweden. I expanded my search and also looked for remote job opportunities. You might want to check Remotive as they provide quite a list for this. You could also check-out these following companies for available job positions: Zapier, Buffer, Oyster, Index Solutions, Upwork (TIP), Moumen International, OddWork, Assa Abloy, CGI, Simple Textin, Close, Apple, MetaLabs, Kry etc. (Please make sure to double-check and use your own discretion on this as there are a lot of scam companies out there as well).
22.) Checked out companies in Denmark
- Since I currently live in Malmo which is only like 30-40 minutes train ride, I also checked on companies based in Copenhagen. Now bear in mind that if you’re a non-EU citizen like me, we do not have the freedom of movement so if you want to work in Denmark, you need to have a corresponding work permit. I had to learn my lesson for this & I shared this on my other blog article Grit and Grace. But if you’re really interested to work in Denmark, I strongly suggest to check the list of SIRI (Denmark Immigration) certified companies, you may find them here. When you apply to these certified companies, it’s easier to be approved for a work permit and make use of their fast track access.
23.) When invited for a job interview, learn and read up about the company.
- Remember the job diary I’m maintaining for all the job applications I’ve submitted? This comes in handy especially when I’m invited for a job interview. I would take note of the interview date and start reading up about the mission, vision and culture of the company. Since I was also able to indicate on my job diary the job position I applied for this specific company, I’m able to also familiarize myself with the job roles and responsibilities and find a way to integrate my previous work experience and skills to the job position I’m applying for.
24.) Prepared a list of most commonly asked questions in an interview
- I did compile a list of the most commonly asked questions in a job interview. I would then create a customized answer for each of these questions and then I would integrate some of the keywords of the job post being used by the company.
25.) Prepared for my virtual job interviews.
- Due to the pandemic, all of the interviews I had were done virtually. But this doesn’t mean that my preparations would be less just because it was done digitally. I got some helpful tips from the trainings I’ve attended in Jobbklar. I checked my laptop’s audio and mic beforehand by doing practice calls with my husband so that he could check if my audio sounds fine (I’m inside the bedroom and he’s on the living room to avoid audio feedback). I would dress professionally (at least on the upper part), wear very light make-up just to keep my face alive and only wear simple earrings and not too much jewelry. I would make sure that I have ample lighting in my background that won’t make the interviewer squint due to bright light behind me or from the sun. It’s important that I have professional background (or you could also make use of the background filters of different meeting apps) and also using a headset with minimized or noise reduction. There’s also a great tip to elevate your laptop by putting some books below it so that your camera would be on eye level and you’re not stooping and also to make sure to show the upper part of your shoulders and not just your face only.
26.) Prepared my post-its.
- Also I have prepared my post-its before hand that’s easily visible for me while doing my interview. I would have a post-it that would indicate bold letters of SMILE! as this will be your best asset to show your radiant personality even if it’s digital. A great tip I got also was that to think of the job interviewer as your friend just to ease your nervousness. Also I would have some post-its about quick facts or information about the company that I share to show my eagerness to join the said company.
27.) Read up on tips on how to get a Job in Sweden
- I created an Excel file to compile all the weblinks that provide helpful tips in getting a job here in Sweden.
28.) Followed and watched some social media influencers
- I have spent some time as well in watching social media influencers on how to get that elusive job. Some of my favorites were Brigette Hyacinth (YouTube), CareerVidz (YouTube), CareerwithBoris (Tiktok), Wonsulting (Tiktok).
29.) Bought a book to learn Swedish
- Yes, they say that being able to learn and speak Swedish will give you an upper hand when applying for a job and this is true. However for me, I focused more in getting a job but it has been my aim as well to learn Swedish so that I could integrate myself and to show my respect for this society. I bought a book called Teach Yourself Complete Swedish by Anneli Beronius Haake. I chose this book because of the great reviews I’ve read and also this combines an audio learning as well that would compliment your studies of the Swedish language.
30.) Took care of my body.
- I made sure that I would have enough energy daily to keep on pushing and submitting job applications. I took a lot of Vitamin C, drank hot lemon with honey in the mornings, get some sun and some exercise by strolling in the beautiful outdoors with my husband to recharge ourselves, and got enough sleep to boost our immunity.
31.) Took care of my mind.
- We all have to admit that receiving a lot of rejections can be truly demotivating. So I inundated myself with all the positive, motivational, inspiring quotes to cope with my thoughts in maintaining a positive outlook despite all these rejections. It’s a fact that a lot of other people are better than me but I also trained my mind to believe in myself, that I’m capable to do these things and prove my worth for my potential employer.
32.) Took care of my spirit.
- One thing I never forgot to do: PRAY! I know that I’m doing everything I could to hopefully land a job here in Sweden and I know that as long as I’m doing my part, the One above will be there to provide His direction and His will for me. Before I go to sleep at night, I have this one app on my mobile phone called “Presently”. I love this app as this serves as my gratitude journal. I get to list every single and smallest thing I’m grateful for the day I spent and this keeps me in focus and definitely keeps my faith in hanging on and being positive in my outlook in life.
All these things I truly did and I know these helped me a lot in achieving my goal of landing my first job here in Sweden. Some of them may or may not work for you, you may be located here in Sweden or in any part of the world and you have this aim to hopefully land your dream job. I fervently hope this truly helps in one way or another and I would be your greatest fan and supporter and cheerleader! So please do let me know, if this helped you in securing that job of yours, would truly appreciate it! I know how it feels and so I pray that you get what you’re really aiming for at this moment in time. Lycka till! 💟
Be grateful and kind,