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Quick tips for writing the perfect Swedish CV

5 Feb 2013, 13:22

Published: 05 Feb 2013 13:22 GMT+01:00

Applying for a job in a foreign country can be daunting, particularly in uncertain economic times. But crafting a CV that makes an impression with potential Swedish employers can help you get your foot in the door.

For tips and advice on writing the perfect Swedish CV, The Local catches up with Frida Lindblom, previous head of Swedish career consultancy MinKarriär and now an HR specialist with one of Sweden's hottest tech companies, e-payments firm Klarna AB.

How should I approach my CV?

You should think of it as the document that gets you the interview - nothing more. This means that you should ensure that the competencies or qualifications that are relevant for the job are really visible. Think of it as though you are selling your competence and that your CV is your sales letter. Try to spark the reader's interest - don't let it be a dry document that nobody wants to read.

Think about how your international experience can help the company and try to think of other duties you have carried out during your career. These are the things that can make a difference.

How is a Swedish CV different from an American resumé, for example? How much should you show off?

I wouldn't say that CVs are very different in Sweden to in the US. A good CV generally contains the same kind of thing. Stereotypically, an American CV is more of a list of achievements while we in Sweden try to encourage applicants to give more information about exactly what they've done in each job.

SEE ALSO: Click here for the latest listings for jobs in Sweden

It's never wrong to boast but make sure that it's about situations that are relevant to your potential employer. If you've led a big project, write it on your CV, even if it wasn't viewed as such a big project in the company you did it for. As long as you give concrete examples and you can show a clear benefit to an employer, boast away - people don't do this nearly enough in Sweden.

If you're looking for a job in Sweden, when should a CV be written in Swedish and when should it be in English?

You should do what it says in the ad or what you have agreed with the person you have spoken with regarding the recruitment. As a rule of thumb, write the CV in the same language in which the ad is written.

How much personal information should be included? Should you write your date of birth and marital status? Should you include leisure activities, like singing in a church choir, for example?

You should only include information in your CV what is relevant for the job concerned. It's also important that you are prepared to discuss the information you include on your CV. Your main focus should be to angle your CV for the position and the company in question.

As an addition to the above information, one of our recruiters said "please mention that it is important that you read the ad carefully when it comes to what is required in your application such as grades, recommendation letters, portfolio, etc."

How should foreign qualifications be handled - should they be 'translated' to Swedish equivalents (e.g. Bachelors = kandidat)

Translate them if you like, but the fact is that most large Swedish companies have English as their working language and therefore they also use English titles and qualifications. If you think it might be a problem, call the employer and ask. Don't be afraid of contacting them before sending your application - you might get very useful information that you can use to your advantage.

Should you include a picture of yourself?

No, a picture's not necessary.

Finally, what are three quick tips for CV writing?

Story continues below…

1. Make it selling

2. Don't pack it - make it easy to read

3. Target it as much as possible to the job you're applying for.

Do you have a question related to employment in Sweden? Send an email with your question to news@thelocal.se with "JobTalk Sweden" in the subject line.

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Your comments about this article

15:16 February 5, 2013 by Rishonim
What a whole heaps of rubbish. It doesn't matter how well crafted your CV look. The reality is if your name is not Gustaf, Linus or Annika, your information will be deleted as quick as the plague.
16:16 February 5, 2013 by prince T
CV will not get u a job in sweden. The position has aleady being decided by staff on duty. Employment system is not based on competence but on relationship (who you know).
17:00 February 5, 2013 by dendrobates
Networking is definitely the most effective way to get you a job based on my own experience. But "who you know" alone will not get you any jobs without developing some language skills, at least to the level that your friends or known people can notice your effort and convince them that all you need is the opportunity to improve once at work.
20:53 February 5, 2013 by djmarko
95% of good jobs are based on networking in Sweden, this writing CV stuff is pure garbage, i dont think writing Cvs is rocket science, what the writer should talk about is effective networking skills that can help to land your dream job!
23:42 February 5, 2013 by prince T
If i understand correctly NETWORKING is the most biased way of employment. Pple should be given equal chances to prove their competence at interview. Like @dendrobates rightly said, u will need more than who u know to KEEP your job. Why waste the time with who u know in the first place. That is why brains regarded as useless in Sweden are making waves elsewhere. Let copy US or UK,even Norway that use competence to employ instead of who u know.

A lot of incompetent pple (sometimes mentally or psychologically imbalanced) are working in some in our government establishments like our doctors. Some of them are disaster waiting to happen.
00:00 February 6, 2013 by awaker
Actually the name, age, gender,swedish language are nationality are the main factor in the swedish job market.
00:45 February 6, 2013 by Chuck_Norris
One and only thing that matters: NAME.

You can even be Swedish, have outstanding skill but if you are named Luigi, Abdulah, Jose or something of the kind you will NOT be offered a job.
11:04 February 6, 2013 by Twiceshy
I've gotten a job and several interviews in Sweden even though my name is not Swedish. You guys are really exaggerating.

That said, I wouldn't be surprised if you're correct as far as jobs with tons of qualified applicants go.
14:09 February 6, 2013 by allnotmoney
job is gold,VCv is your shovel continue digging
17:42 February 6, 2013 by skogsbo
Prince T, networking is not biased, it's factual, if person A who already works for a company and is good at their job and trustworthy, vouches for person B, then the employer has reduced his or her risks, saved advertising or agencies fees etc.
14:22 February 8, 2013 by ckn
Bah! this is rubbish, I have landed my last 3 jobs with my linkedin profile.
12:27 February 10, 2013 by StockholmSam
While I agree that networking can be helpful, I have yet to meet a person in Sweden who got a job because of someone else that they knew. My sambo just got a great new job (that had lots of applicants) based solely on her CV and an interview. She knew nobody in that network. Even in the US, where networking is emphasized, most jobs do not go to someone with a contact in the company...at least in my experience.

I would say, though, that the name and age issue is damaging Sweden's dynamics. Whenever a job posting states "must speak Swedish," that is a smokescreen indicating the company wants "pure" Swedes with Swedish names, blonde hair and white faces. These jobs can often be done by those with minimal Swedish skills and strong English skills, which many immigrants have. It is causing Sweden to miss out on a large segment of skilled labor.
22:25 February 11, 2013 by hackie
Sweden will always get it wrong until she makes English her corporate language. By the way, who wants to read a research article published in Swedish? How come all research institutes use English language? Sweden needs a lot of grow ups to do.
14:35 February 21, 2013 by djmarko
Once you get a foot inside sweden employment, the rest becomes easier, at my job, a lady is going on maternity leave, i asked if they have found replacement, she replies that she has 2 friends in mind, that says it all, many qualified swedes are landing top quality jobs outside the country, not good for the future
19:43 March 8, 2013 by Shining
In general I think that a CV, where ever you are seeking a jobb should contain the same three things as this Swedish HR expert ends the article with. To be recruited or headhunted is about selleing yourself in one way or another.
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