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, SI News catches up with Frida Lindblom, previous head of Swedish career consultancy MinKarriär (My Career) 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 than to other places. A good CV generally contains the same kind of thing. Stereotypically, an American CV is more of a list of achievements while in Sweden we try to encourage applicants to give more information about exactly what they've done in each job.
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 that 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.
In addition to the above information, read the job ad very 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 to Swedish 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. But either English or Swedish is a must.
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?
A picture is not necessary – but it is becoming more and more common. So it's really up to you.
Finally, what are three quick tips for CV writing?
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.