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Welcome to Stockholm: Our starter’s guide

Welcome to Stockholm: Our starter’s guide

By: Anirban Dey

So, firstly, congrats on moving to the great North! Things might seem a little different here, at first – but don’t you worry, we’ve all been there! From one SDCN member to another – give yourself some time, and it’ll definitely start getting easier.

Just so you know, Stockholm, your new home town, is one of the five fastest growing cities in Europe, with a population of 1.6 million, 27% of whom come from an expatriate background – so don’t let the initial discomfort get to you; this city is as international as it gets. In this article, we’ll give you a few tips about the first steps that you need to take, and some important organizations that you should know about when it comes to looking for work.

First things first …

As might dawn on you quickly, for you to be seen as ‘a person’ in Sweden, it’s urgent that you have a personnummer or personal number! Well, I’m kidding, but having this all-important number (issued by the Skatteverket or the Swedish Tax Agency if you are from the EU; issued by the Migrationsverket or the Swedish Migration Agency if you are from outside of the EU) really does make your life simpler.

The personnummer comprises your date of birth followed by four unique digits, and is a key to accessing health insurance, banking, filing taxes, state-funded Swedish classes – pretty much everything here. The waiting time for the personnummer varies from two weeks to about three months (you might be assigned either a samordningsnummer or a personbevis while you are waiting), so make this the first thing on your list when you decide to move to Stockholm, or when you start living here.

Another important document that you need to apply for at the earliest, is your Swedish ID card from Skatteverket. You’ll need this ID on a regular basis, whether you purchase medicines, or buy alcohol, or open a bank account.

Now that we have the fundamentals out of our way, let’s move on to one of the first things that is usually on most of our agendas – finding a job!

All things professional

As an accompanying partner, after you’ve settled down, you might want to start networking and looking for work in Stockholm. A word of caution – this is where things might get a little hairy, so  to get yourself through this, remember two important Ps – positivity and patience.

One of the first things that you ought to do, is spruce up your LinkedIn profile and adapt your CV for the Swedish job market. You can get help for both of these at the weekly SDCN Career Support sessions (every Tuesday from 13:00–14:30), which is a co-working space for SDCN members where you work on your CV, applications, cover letters, LinkedIn page, etc., alongside other members. This session is headed by someone from Stockholm Academic Forum, who will do their best to answer your questions about the Swedish job market, or if not, try to refer you to someone who can. You can also get feedback on your application materials or practise for a job interview.

SDCN also hosts a bunch of workshops that’ll help you in putting yourself out there and networking, because as you’ll hear ad nauseum, making connections is often crucial in landing a job in Stockholm. Moreover, SDCN has a supportive community, with both current members and alumni working at various organizations across Sweden. So, whether it’s getting a referral for a position, or information about a company that you’re applying at, or just some good advice – to paraphrase Dumbledore, ‘Help will always be given at SDCN to those who ask for it’!

These are a couple of resources that you need to be aware of:

1. Arbetsförmedlingen or the Swedish Public Employment Service

This should be one of the first places that you hit up. You would need your personnummer to register with the agency, and once you do, you get access to a range of services that they provide, such as: language courses, vocational training, internships, information about unemployment benefits, your rights, obligations, salaries and benefits, etc. On registration, a case officer is assigned to you, who, after a planning discussion, evaluates your CV and helps you in charting a career path.

Even though Arbetsförmedlingen might not be very effective in helping you seek jobs, they are useful as a gateway resource. They also act as a comprehensive database for job listings, as companies are mandated by Swedish labor laws to post all the jobs available for both EU and non-EU citizens on their website.

2. Korta Vägen

Registering with Arbetsförmedlingen, gives you the possibility to seek admission to the Korta Vägen program, which means ‘the short path’. This program involves a wide career development plan (with 26 weeks of full-time study, Swedish lessons pertaining to your profession, a personal education plan, and an internship at a Swedish workplace) and is a collaborative endeavor between Arbetsförmedlingen and Folkuniversitetet. You need to have an academic degree and some basic knowledge of Swedish to be eligible for Korta Vägen.

3. Jobbsprånget

Jobbsprånget is a 4-month internship program run by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences in association with Arbetsförmedlingen, through which expats with academic degrees in engineering, architecture, business and sciences are fast-tracked into jobs on the completion of their internships. You need to be registered with Arbetsförmedlingen to be eligible for Jobbsprånget, apart from being proficient in English.

4. Yrkesdörren

As we discussed previously, making connections often plays an important role in landing a job here in Stockholm. That is precisely what Yrkesdörren or ‘the door to work’ does, by connecting you to an experienced Swedish person who works in the same field as you. This leads to a meeting, where you get two more contacts from the Swede. So, you get in touch with the other contacts and in this way, keep expanding your network.

5. The City of Stockholm’s Mentorship Program

This is similar to Yrkesdörren, but more comprehensive, in that the applicants are placed in an 8-month long program, where an experienced Swedish mentor is assigned to each of them. The mentor guides the mentee over this period, putting them in touch with their contacts and meeting them regularly to keep track of their progress.

SDCN hosts several introductory sessions with Stockholmsmentor every year, where you get to meet the administrators of the program. After the session, you are interviewed and your CV evaluated, following which, the administrators try to match you with a mentor from your field of expertise. Don’t worry if you are not immediately matched – your CV will be kept active on the program, and they will pair you with the right mentor as soon as they can.

6. UHR (The Swedish Council for Higher Education)

Most members at SDCN, usually have highly-qualified educational backgrounds with significant work experiences behind them. But sometimes, you might find it useful to have your qualifications from a foreign university vetted, so that a Swedish employer would exactly understand how your previous education corresponds to the Swedish educational system.

For this, the UHR or the Swedish Council of Higher Education offers a free service that accredits your foreign qualifications in comparison with the Swedish equivalents. The UHR issues certificates recognizing your qualifications, which are available in both English and Swedish. You can get up to five qualifications certified under a single application. And the best thing is, you don’t need to have a personnummer or be an EU citizen for this service.

7. Working in Sweden

Another helpful resource to be aware of, is the ‘Working in Sweden’ section of the Sweden.se website. This website is maintained by the Swedish Institute and has information about several important aspects of the job search process, such as where to start looking for a job, how to apply for a position, preparing a CV and cover letter, how to prepare for an interview, unions that you should be aware of, jobs that are in high demand currently, etc. We’ve covered some of the information in this article, but this is certainly a good place to start.

Anirban Dey is a member of the SDCN Management Team and a Writer/Communicator at the Stockholm Academic Forum. He has written several articles about useful resources in Stockholm, so check out the ‘Latest from SDCN’ section of our website! 

Last updated 2021/06/04

By: Anirban Dey

So, firstly, congrats on moving to the great North! Things might seem a little different here, at first – but don’t you worry, we’ve all been there! From one SDCN member to another – give yourself some time, and it’ll definitely start getting easier.

Just so you know, Stockholm, your new home town, is one of the five fastest growing cities in Europe, with a population of 1.6 million, 27% of whom come from an expatriate background – so don’t let the initial discomfort get to you; this city is as international as it gets. In this article, we’ll give you a few tips about the first steps that you need to take, and some important organizations that you should know about when it comes to looking for work.

First things first …

As might dawn on you quickly, for you to be seen as ‘a person’ in Sweden, it’s urgent that you have a personnummer or personal number! Well, I’m kidding, but having this all-important number (issued by the Skatteverket or the Swedish Tax Agency if you are from the EU; issued by the Migrationsverket or the Swedish Migration Agency if you are from outside of the EU) really does make your life simpler.

The personnummer comprises your date of birth followed by four unique digits, and is a key to accessing health insurance, banking, filing taxes, state-funded Swedish classes – pretty much everything here. The waiting time for the personnummer varies from two weeks to about three months (you might be assigned either a samordningsnummer or a personbevis while you are waiting), so make this the first thing on your list when you decide to move to Stockholm, or when you start living here.

Another important document that you need to apply for at the earliest, is your Swedish ID card from Skatteverket. You’ll need this ID on a regular basis, whether you purchase medicines, or buy alcohol, or open a bank account.

Now that we have the fundamentals out of our way, let’s move on to one of the first things that is usually on most of our agendas – finding a job!

All things professional

As an accompanying partner, after you’ve settled down, you might want to start networking and looking for work in Stockholm. A word of caution – this is where things might get a little hairy, so  to get yourself through this, remember two important Ps – positivity and patience.

One of the first things that you ought to do, is spruce up your LinkedIn profile and adapt your CV for the Swedish job market. You can get help for both of these at the weekly SDCN Career Support sessions (every Tuesday from 13:00–14:30), which is a co-working space for SDCN members where you work on your CV, applications, cover letters, LinkedIn page, etc., alongside other members. This session is headed by someone from Stockholm Academic Forum, who will do their best to answer your questions about the Swedish job market, or if not, try to refer you to someone who can. You can also get feedback on your application materials or practise for a job interview.

SDCN also hosts a bunch of workshops that’ll help you in putting yourself out there and networking, because as you’ll hear ad nauseum, making connections is often crucial in landing a job in Stockholm. Moreover, SDCN has a supportive community, with both current members and alumni working at various organizations across Sweden. So, whether it’s getting a referral for a position, or information about a company that you’re applying at, or just some good advice – to paraphrase Dumbledore, ‘Help will always be given at SDCN to those who ask for it’!

These are a couple of resources that you need to be aware of:

1. Arbetsförmedlingen or the Swedish Public Employment Service

This should be one of the first places that you hit up. You would need your personnummer to register with the agency, and once you do, you get access to a range of services that they provide, such as: language courses, vocational training, internships, information about unemployment benefits, your rights, obligations, salaries and benefits, etc. On registration, a case officer is assigned to you, who, after a planning discussion, evaluates your CV and helps you in charting a career path.

Even though Arbetsförmedlingen might not be very effective in helping you seek jobs, they are useful as a gateway resource. They also act as a comprehensive database for job listings, as companies are mandated by Swedish labor laws to post all the jobs available for both EU and non-EU citizens on their website.

2. Korta Vägen

Registering with Arbetsförmedlingen, gives you the possibility to seek admission to the Korta Vägen program, which means ‘the short path’. This program involves a wide career development plan (with 26 weeks of full-time study, Swedish lessons pertaining to your profession, a personal education plan, and an internship at a Swedish workplace) and is a collaborative endeavor between Arbetsförmedlingen and Folkuniversitetet. You need to have an academic degree and some basic knowledge of Swedish to be eligible for Korta Vägen.

3. Jobbsprånget

Jobbsprånget is a 4-month internship program run by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences in association with Arbetsförmedlingen, through which expats with academic degrees in engineering, architecture, business and sciences are fast-tracked into jobs on the completion of their internships. You need to be registered with Arbetsförmedlingen to be eligible for Jobbsprånget, apart from being proficient in English.

4. Yrkesdörren

As we discussed previously, making connections often plays an important role in landing a job here in Stockholm. That is precisely what Yrkesdörren or ‘the door to work’ does, by connecting you to an experienced Swedish person who works in the same field as you. This leads to a meeting, where you get two more contacts from the Swede. So, you get in touch with the other contacts and in this way, keep expanding your network.

5. The City of Stockholm’s Mentorship Program

This is similar to Yrkesdörren, but more comprehensive, in that the applicants are placed in an 8-month long program, where an experienced Swedish mentor is assigned to each of them. The mentor guides the mentee over this period, putting them in touch with their contacts and meeting them regularly to keep track of their progress.

SDCN hosts several introductory sessions with Stockholmsmentor every year, where you get to meet the administrators of the program. After the session, you are interviewed and your CV evaluated, following which, the administrators try to match you with a mentor from your field of expertise. Don’t worry if you are not immediately matched – your CV will be kept active on the program, and they will pair you with the right mentor as soon as they can.

6. UHR (The Swedish Council for Higher Education)

Most members at SDCN, usually have highly-qualified educational backgrounds with significant work experiences behind them. But sometimes, you might find it useful to have your qualifications from a foreign university vetted, so that a Swedish employer would exactly understand how your previous education corresponds to the Swedish educational system.

For this, the UHR or the Swedish Council of Higher Education offers a free service that accredits your foreign qualifications in comparison with the Swedish equivalents. The UHR issues certificates recognizing your qualifications, which are available in both English and Swedish. You can get up to five qualifications certified under a single application. And the best thing is, you don’t need to have a personnummer or be an EU citizen for this service.

7. Working in Sweden

Another helpful resource to be aware of, is the ‘Working in Sweden’ section of the Sweden.se website. This website is maintained by the Swedish Institute and has information about several important aspects of the job search process, such as where to start looking for a job, how to apply for a position, preparing a CV and cover letter, how to prepare for an interview, unions that you should be aware of, jobs that are in high demand currently, etc. We’ve covered some of the information in this article, but this is certainly a good place to start.

Anirban Dey is a member of the SDCN Management Team and a Writer/Communicator at the Stockholm Academic Forum. He has written several articles about useful resources in Stockholm, so check out the ‘Latest from SDCN’ section of our website! 

Last updated 2021/06/04

Latest from SDCN