Sweden routinely comes top worldwide for health, literacy and human development, and its economy ranks in the top 10 most competitive globally. The Swedish people are known for neutrality and consensus building. Also known for its high taxes and generous welfare, income inequality is low and trade unions are powerful.The largest industries are engineering, telecoms, the automotive industry and pharmaceuticals. Forecasts predict job losses in manufacturing, agriculture and forestry, but job creation in public and private service industries and construction. For graduate jobs in journalism, competition is fierce. There has been less competition recently for qualified civil engineers, specialist IT and construction industry specialists, and medical professionals including doctors, midwives and nurses.
Candidates usually get in touch with the contact person for more information about a job before they apply. It is also common to contact the trade union representative for information about salaries.
Always follow the instructions in the job advertisement. Electronic application forms are very common. If sending a covering letter and CV by e-mail, do not attach any other documents unless the advert requests this. Computers are available in all public employment services and libraries.
For all written applications, be sure to relate the information to the job you are applying for. The application should be brief, neat and informative. Write dynamic applications tailored to the requirements in the advertisement. Keep it short and relevant: a one-page covering letter and a CV of one to two pages.
Applicants are advised to call the employer to check if they have received the application.
If you have up-to-date referees, give their details on your CV. Otherwise, write: 'References will be provided on request'. A former employer is most often used as a reference. The reference supports your application and describes you and your ability to work.
Letters of recommendation are needed and can help you. Bring them when you attend the interview. They should be written by a former boss, team leader or HR officer. If you don't have work experience, you can provide a letter of recommendation from a teacher or a sports leader.
Yes, definitely. This is usual practice.
Usually you are asked to start the interview by introducing yourself (be brief); next you tell the employer why you have applied for the job and what you know about the company. Be relaxed but attentive.
Common questions include: Do you find it easy to learn new things? How do you react to criticism? Are you a problem-solver? How do you tackle a problem? What are you proud of? Can you tell me something really good that you have done? What do you expect to be doing in 5 years' time? What do you think a good colleague should be like? Describe a situation where you made a mistake and what you learnt from it. How would your friends describe you? How would your manager describe you? How do you function in a group? What are your strong and weak points? How do you handle stressful situations? Why should we employ you?
During the first interview you can ask what an ordinary working day is like, when you will hear the result of the interview, when the job starts, if there is an introductory programme, etc. Do not talk about pay at the beginning of the application procedure. Wait until the employer raises the subject.
The more qualified the role, the more leeway there is to negotiate the salary. Most employment conditions in Sweden are regulated by collective agreements, with the result that there is little room for individual negotiations, at least for lower skilled jobs.
Pay on a monthly basis is the most common. For management positions there may be scope to negotiate non-statutory benefits; these would be discussed with the HR department.
For jobs in government and with children, proof of good conduct is required. This will be stated in the ad or the employer will inform you.