Five golden rules for job applications in Sweden

The dreaded job application - but with a twist. For this month's JobTalk, we chat with a marketing manager at CareerBuilder about how to write the perfect application for a job in Sweden.

I'm looking for a job – but I don't even know how to get started on my application, you may be wondering.
Well, wonder no longer. We chatted with Johan Hasslert, marketing manager at CareerBuilder, for the inside word on getting your application into the right pile. He gave us the five golden rules. 
Five tips before sending your application: 
1. Keep it in Svenska
If the ad doesn't specifically say to apply in English, always do it in Swedish, Hasslert cautioned. Call in a favour from a friend or loved one before even thinking about hitting send. And be sure to get the language perfect – spelling and grammar mistakes never do you any favours. Recruiters searching a database tend to use Swedish terms anyway, so resumes in English will be unlikely to appear in results.
2. Keep the personal details to yourself – no one cares
It's alright to show a bit of personality here and there, Hasslert said, but don't get too deep into the private details. The recruiter doesn't care where you lived the first five years of your life, for example. But don't be too formal either – think 'lagom'. Rock climbing? Sports?
3. Focus on the relevant skills that match the job
Give some examples of your work that are meaningful for the specific job. For example, don't just say you're "driven"; explain a time in a previous job where you were driven and share the outcome. Also, if you're applying to be a banker, for example, you don't need to tell them that your skills include fruit stacking from the time you worked at a supermarket in high school.
4. Do your research on the company
This is a big one. Read, read, and read some more. Know exactly what the company does and how they do it. Then, match your qualities with the demands in their business or branch. Show them you are interested in the company, not just the job and salary. This also goes for the interview stage, there's nothing worse than an interviewee not knowing anything about the company they're applying for – and some interviewers may even find it offensive.  
5. Be honest
It may sound so obvious, but you'd be amazed how many people exaggerate their experiences. It's not worth it. This is the kind of thing that will come back to bite you, and why would you want that?
Click here for your free tickets to Careerdays, the largest career fair in the Nordic Region, held at Stockholm's Ericsson Globe Arena on August 28th and 29th.
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Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

A reader got in touch to ask how long he had to work in Sweden before he was eligible for a pension. Here are Sweden's pension rules, and how you can get your pension when the time comes.

Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

The Swedish pension is part of the country’s social insurance system, and it can seem like a confusing beast at times. The good news is that if you’re living and working here, you’ll almost certainly be earning towards a pension, and you’ll be able to get that money even if you move elsewhere before retirement.

You will start earning your Swedish general pension, or allmän pension, once you’ve earned over 20,431 kronor in a single year, and – for almost all kinds of pension in Sweden – there is no time limit on how long you must have lived in Sweden before you are eligible.

The exception is the minimum guarantee pension, or garantipension, which you can receive whether you’ve worked or not. To be eligible at all for this, you need to have lived in Sweden for a period of at least three years before you are 65 years old. 

“There’s a limit, but it’s a money limit,” Johan Andersson, press secretary at the Swedish Pension Agency told The Local about the general pension. “When you reach the point that you start paying tax, you start paying into your pension.”

“But you have to apply for your pension, make sure you get in touch with us when you want to start receiving it,” he said.

Here’s our in-depth guide on how you can maximise your Swedish pension, even if you’re only planning on staying in Sweden short-term.

Those who spend only a few years working in Sweden will earn a much smaller pension than people who work here for their whole lives, but they are still entitled to something – people who have worked in Sweden will keep their income pension, premium pension, supplementary pension and occupational pension that they have earned in Sweden, even if they move to another country. The pension is paid no matter where in the world you live, but must be applied for – it is not automatically paid out at retirement age.

If you retire in the EU/EEA, or another country with which Sweden has a pension agreement, you just need to apply to the pension authority in your country of residence in order to start drawing your Swedish pension. If you live in a different country, you should contact the Swedish Pensions Agency for advice on accessing your pension, which is done by filling out a form (look for the form called Ansök om allmän pension – om du är bosatt utanför Sverige).

The agency recommends beginning the application process at least three months before you plan to take the pension, and ideally six months beforehand if you live abroad. It’s possible to have the pension paid into either a Swedish bank account or an account outside Sweden.

A guarantee pension – for those who live on a low income or no income while in Sweden – can be paid to those living in Sweden, an EU/EEA country, Switzerland or, in some cases, Canada. This is the only Swedish pension which is affected by how long you’ve lived in Sweden – you can only receive it if you’ve lived in the country for at least three years before the age of 65.

“The guarantee pension is residence based,” Andersson said. “But it’s lower if you haven’t lived in Sweden for at least 40 years. You are eligible for it after living in Sweden for only three years, but it won’t be that much.”