How to get a job in Stockholm: 8 steps

17.04.17
5 minute read
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Why wouldn’t you want to live in Stockholm? Between taking July off, exploring the beautiful outdoor scenery, and the generally happy and friendly culture, Sweden is a dream destination for many. Landing a job in Stockholm means adopting this lifestyle as your own.

While deciding to live in Stockholm is an easy choice, the practice of finding a job can be more difficult. There are some hurdles you’ll face as a non-Swede, and the overall job market isn’t massive. For those with determination, however, jobs can be found and the payoff is sweet.

So how do you get started? This guide will walk you through 8 steps to follow for finding a job in Stockholm.

1. Speak the Swedish language

Swedish can be a difficult language to learn. While speaking the language may seem like a large hurdle, it's a necessary one. There are jobs in Stockholm for English speakers, but they’re few and far between. More importantly, even jobs that don’t require you to speak Swedish will give preference to candidates who know at least a little. If you’re serious about finding work in Stockholm, it’s a good idea to practice the language.

If you’re a total beginner and not ready to commit to formal lessons, you can get started with the basics using smartphone apps like Duolingo, Memrise and Babbel. If apps aren’t the right route for you, you can hire an online tutor who will work with you via video chat at italki, Skype Language, Live Lingua or Tutor.com. If you’re more of an in-person learner, check out the local universities, community colleges or service listings for Swedish classes in your area.

2. Check that your industry exists in Stockholm

Stockholm’s economy isn’t supported by all types of industries. In fact, it’s held up almost entirely by just one; 85% of jobs in Stockholm are in the service industry.

As far as industries that don’t exist in Stockholm are concerned, there’s a notable absentee: oil and gas. As one of the cleanest cities in the world, there’s virtually no presence of heavy industry in Stockholm.

If you don’t want to work in service, not all is lost. Stockholm is becoming a hub for tech startups, with new businesses opening every day and high demand for the creative and tech-savvy. Historically, Stockholm has also been a great home for professionals working in finance and fashion.

To get an idea of what kind of businesses are operating in Sweden, check out Sweden.se’s list of 10 World-Shaping Swedish Companies, featuring Electrolux, H&M, Ikea, and more. If you speak Swedish, check out the Public Employment Service’s labor shortage list, which details highly in-demand jobs in the country.

3. Start looking the old school way

Swedes far and wide will tell you that one of the best places to start your job search is at the Arbetsförmedlingen, or the Swedish Public Employment Service. Yes, it’s ok if you can’t pronounce it, but you’d be smart to give the office a visit. The Arbetsförmedlingen has a multitude of career programs and can help place you in Swedish jobs much like a recruiter could. If you can stand waiting in line to get in, you’ll have access to all kinds of assessment services and job search help. These include mentoring on your CV, cover letter, and interview preparation.

4. Try searching online

If you’re looking for a variety in job listings, your best bet is looking online. Job listings for Stockholm can be found across various sites, but the following are some of the best reviewed. Many of these are also included in the list of job search sites provided by the Swedish government.

For English-language jobs:

  • The Local lists more than 2,000 openings in Stockholm

  • Neuvoo lists almost 18,000 jobs, but make sure to filter for English-only

  • Job-finding giant LinkedIn houses many open positions for English speakers

For non English-speaking jobs:

While the following sites don’t cater to English-language jobs, it’s worth checking out these primarily Swedish sites too:

5. Consider working with a recruiter

While it’s easy to find listings online, it can be difficult to get personalized job help over the Internet. A recruiter can help with your resume and writing your cover letter, tips for interview preparation, and insights into your potential employer’s history and company culture.

It’s always recommended to do your own research and pick the agency that seems best for you, but the following companies are well-reviewed and trusted in Stockholm.

  • Adecco places professionals in a wide range of positions, but to work with them you’ll have to speak Swedish

  • Academic Work works with students, recent graduates, and young professionals to find early-stage jobs and internships, and they also work in English

  • Incluso works with all types of professionals across industries, and with candidates who don’t speak Swedish

  • TNG places candidates in a range of jobs, but only those who speak Swedish

  • Undutchables is a well known recruitment agency for foreigners, placing professionals in jobs across industries.

6. Build your network

One of the most important resources you can have when looking for a job, is a strong professional network. If you have the opportunity to visit Stockholm before or during your job search, you’d do well to take part in as many professional events as you have time for.

If you’re looking for meetups, the best places to start are eventful and Eventbrite, both listing events happening nearly every day. If you’re prepared to get a little more creative with where you meet your peers, check out these cool groups:

  • Startup Lulea hosts informal gatherings for entrepreneurs and professionals to network

  • Trainee Dagen brings students and young professionals together to build skills and meet with companies

  • SheSays Stockholm puts on many events for women in business

7. Apply (and wait) for your visa

Applying for a visa to work in Sweden is fairly easy. Once you have a job offer in hand, you can visit your local consulate to fill out your application. That being said, it’s much easier (and faster) to submit your application online through the Swedish Migration Board.

Once you have your work visa, it’ll be attached to your passport and you’ll be able to travel freely anywhere you wish. However, after you’ve applied and before your visa is issued, you'll not be allowed to enter Sweden.

It’s important to note that due to the current refugee crisis, obtaining a Swedish visa currently takes an inordinately long time; sometimes up to 5 months.  

8. Get moving

Finding a job and getting a visa are the hard part; now it’s time to enjoy life in Stockholm! Check out Sweden.se’s list of 20 things to know before moving to Sweden, including tips like taking off your shoes before entering homes and penciling in at least one coffee break per day. To start your time in Scandinavia right, try Time Out’s list of 20 things to do in Stockholm.

Once you make the move to Stockholm, you’ll soon be needing to either send or receive Swedish krona. If you plan to open a bank account in Stockholm or know someone with an account there, consider using TransferWise to get the fairest deal on your transfer. Not only does TransferWise use the real mid-market exchange rate to convert your money, but your money is received and sent via local bank transfers in both your home country and in Sweden. This means you can avoid unpleasant international banking fees, and have more money for yourself.

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

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