Job applications

How to apply for a job in Sweden

Your job application is your first formal contact with your prospective employer. In Sweden, it is viewed as an opportunity for the employer to get to know the candidate, beyond academic achievements and previous professional experience.

The cover letter is the most important part of your application and should be sent along with your Curriculum Vitae. Try to send complete applications and avoid careless mistakes.

Cover letter (Ansökningsbrev, Följebrev, Personligt brev)

The cover letter must be no longer that one page. If your Swedish language skills are insufficient, write in English (but not another language unless specifically requested in an advertisement). Try to make your letter simple and concise and avoid long, complicated sentences. While it is important to underline your experience, try also to show your personality through hobbies or interests. If you are applying for an IT job why not talk about a website you created or voluntary work that you did? Academic titles are not usually used in Swedish applications, except for jobs were this is relevant, such as a doctor or a university professor.

Curriculum Vitae (CV, Meritförteckning)

The length of a CV is usually one page, but can be extended to two if you have a great deal of professional experience. In Sweden, it is not customary to attach a photograph. However do not forget to include references, as employers often make use of them in the selection process (Referens). The best referees are former employers, but you can also indicate former professors or teachers. Try to give people who have a relatively good knowledge of English.

A good CV should include the following:

  • Personal details
  • Education
  • Language proficiency
  • IT skills
  • Special skills
  • Employment history / career path
  • Hobbies
  • References

After sending the application

It is not common practice in Sweden to receive an acceptance or rejection in written form. If there is no reply within 10-14 days, feel free to contact the company. It is not considered as too forward and may be positive in terms of showing interest and determination.

Interview

Job interviews in Sweden are usually conducted in a relaxed atmosphere. The employer’s aim is to get to know you as an individual. Nevertheless, you should come prepared and know the company well. Make sure you research and understand what the company does, its market position and objectives. Do not hesitate to ask questions at the end of the interview. During the conversation make sure you do not speak too loudly or insistently.

Further help

The Swedish Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) website (http://www.ams.se) offers comprehensive help in a number of different languages. You can download a very useful guide (Find a job) which provides general information on how to write a cover letter and CV. It gives examples of application documents in Swedish and offers a glossary of the most important Swedish words when looking for a job.

Further reading

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