"It's crucial to take your job-seeking seriously, otherwise you'll end up in the pile," says Peter Helin, marketing coordinator at CareerBuilder.se.
"And nowadays the piles are huge."
Helin, who has seven years in the recruitment industry, offers the five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt and explains how to stand out from the crowd.
1. Do your homework.
It might sound obvious, but you can't just send in a bog-standard CV and cover letter. You have to be sales-y as a candidate, you have to really put some effort into it.
First, look at the company's career page, look them up on social media, especially LinkedIn. Read any news stories about them that you can find. Maybe they posted on a site like CareerBuilder.se – check it out. Consume it all, you need to be aware of who they are before telling them who you are.
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2. Role Play
It can be a great idea to do a cold call before you actually apply for the job – take the chance to find out more and let them know who you are. But if you're going to take the plunge, then you'd better get some practice in. It could be with a friend or your own mother, it doesn't matter – just take it seriously. Call your friend on the phone and make sure you sound convincing.
Another trick is cold calling a company you don't want to work for. That way you don't burn bridges but you get the real experience from a live situation. And be sure to ask plenty of questions, you've got nothing to lose.
In fact, a lot of people who come to our career days aren't necessarily thinking about changing their jobs any time soon, but they're keen to know what's available for someone with their expertise. It's always good to know your market value.
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3. Reach out
It's time for the live situation. The first port of call is the person listed in the ad. As mentioned above, it's a good idea to cold call them and get on the top of their mind. It can be nerve racking, but it's absolutely the best way to be memorable. You want them to be thinking "Hey, I remember that person" by the time they meet you.
And be careful of being too casual or trying too hard to be funny… play it safe and play it straight. You want to be remembered for the right reasons.
4. Sell yourself
You have to think of yourself as a salesperson when you're applying for a job. But instead of selling a boat or some kind of service, you're selling yourself and your skills. You're selling the solution for them. Perhaps the person you're replacing was let go, perhaps they're expanding. But they're hiring for a reason and you need to know what it is. Think: How can I solve their current problem?
Put together a killer cover letter explaining why you're applying and why you're the perfect match. And remember, they're called CVs in Sweden, not resumés.
5. Be patient – this is Sweden, remember
If you're from the US or the UK, for example, you might have to be more patient with Swedish employers. The lead times can be longer, and direct employers may be more cautious. Often they'll be working through four or five interviews.
Why? Because in Sweden if you hire the wrong person then it's hard to get rid of them – not to mention expensive.
My advice is to stay on top of it, follow up with them, but most of all, be patient. Swedes don't like to rush these things.
Stay tuned for our next JobTalk where Peter gives the golden rules for The Swedish Job Interview.