5 recommendations: How to get established in the Swedish market as a foreign talent
The demand for specialists and key talent continues to increase across Swedish businesses, not least as it relates to tech, digital, and IT jobs. Swedish industry keeps raising warning flags, noting there aren’t enough candidates or employees for current needs and not enough new graduates entering the market. This will require more investments, improvements in attracting and retaining international talent, and a mindshift in what the key skills and experiences for success truly are.
But there are also actions that you, as a candidate with an international background, can take to improve your prospects. Whether you are new to the Swedish job market or thinking about next steps in your career, the following recommendations can help you get started.
Five recommendations for getting established in the Swedish job market as a foreign talent
1. Research your industry
A good first step is to deepen your knowledge and understanding of your particular industry. Do your homework – research and identify which companies operate in your areas of interest and evaluate which ones are most interesting to you and for your profile. Pay attention to the jobs they advertise online, follow up on their career pages, and approach them for informational interviews. Gaining a better understanding for your industry will give you a better sense for potential opportunities to come, the types of roles that are likely to be most relevant for you, and how your profile and background will suit their business best. It’s worth keeping up with this throughout your career as it helps you discover new actors in your field and broadens your knowledge and network.
2. Is Swedish language proficiency decisive?
It is important to understand whether and to what extent Swedish language proficiency will be crucial for your job search, given the types of jobs and companies you may be interested in. This requirement will vary for different fields, companies, and roles. Check out the websites of the companies that interest you – Are most job advertisements in Swedish? How does the team and workforce composition look? Are the company’s clients primarily Swedish or do they work beyond the Swedish market? Do your language skills provide a value add to the company’s business reach and ambitions? Depending on your goals and interests, these insights will result in you either focusing on those companies where Swedish isn’t necessary and perhaps even where your particular language skills will be seen as highly valuable or clarify whether you need to improve your Swedish language skills.
3. Network, network, and network
Don’t underestimate the value of a good and relevant network when looking to land a job or grow in your career. If you are new to Sweden, this is perhaps an area where you need to increase your activity in order to improve your chances. Identify and attend events where you can meet relevant companies and people, participate in trainings, seek contact with new people through your acquaintances or by asking for informational interviews to learn more about their companies or paths. Don't forget to establish contact with relevant recruitment and executive search companies! Be professional and come prepared, you’re asking for a very valuable thing – people’s time. When you know more specifically what you are looking for, you can ask your network for help in the right way.
4. Make sure to communicate your story and background well in your resume
Create a CV that highlights your profile, background, strengths, and key skills – and adapt it for each job you pursue. Your resume is a communication and storytelling tool, especially at more senior levels. It should not just be a list of things you have done, but a way to tell potential employers more about you and how your background is relevant to the role you are applying for and the goals of the company. Raise your profile by being specific about concrete results and responsibilities. Remember to adapt your CV for each application to highlight requirements and skills asked for by that company in order to improve your chances. You may also need to further explain some of your experiences to make them clearer to reviewers in Sweden – remember, this is a different market, and your previous contexts may be unfamiliar or less clear to potential employers. Don’t forget to update your LinkedIn profile in similar ways!
5. Seek advice from the experts
Looking for a job is sometimes a job in itself, and sometimes you need help figuring out what the best next step is. Seek advice from experts in your industry or from recruitment experts who can assist with guidance and tools that lead to results. You may also consider strategically investing in your career development, for instance through tailored executive coaching or career counseling. Wes can be a partner to you in this, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Wes recruits the very best candidates for management, executive, and board positions — and we specialize in diversity and inclusion. We are experts in helping companies build professional, modern, and diversified boards. Wes also works with candidates and businesses on executive coaching, consulting, second opinion, and more. Contact us if we can help you!