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Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt

So you're looking for a job, but you don't know where to start. Well don't fret, we've talked to a career expert who explained role-playing, selling yourself, and playing by the Swedish rules.

Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Photo:Shutterstock.
 
"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. 
 
Click here to get free tickets to Careerdays, the largest career fair in the Nordic Region, held at Stockholm's Ericsson Globe Arena on August 28th and 29th.

 
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. 
 
Looking for a job? Follow @TheLocalJobs on Twitter for tips, tricks, and job news across Europe

 
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.
 
Photo: Shutterstock 
 
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.  
 
Read how to write the perfect cover letter here, and the ultimate CV here.
 
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.

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READER QUESTIONS

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.”

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