Swedish Language Blog

Finding a Job in Sweden Posted by on Aug 4, 2011 in Living in Sweden

It’s not easy. Finding a job. Trying to enter the workforce after studying, after unemployment, after a child, it doesn’t matter, it can be a shock to the system. Especially if you’re moving to a new country. Especially if you don’t speak the language. That being said, it is doable. It’s hard work, but it is doable.

The following is by no means the only way to find a job, it is not meant to even be a guarantee at finding a job. It’s a start. And when you’re moving to a new country, just knowing where to start can be huge.

Pay attention to all that job hunting advice. Especially the stuff that tells you to treat your job search as a job in and of itself. Sit down, search, write, contact, polish. It will help. Remember that not speaking the language is a problem, remember also though that whatever language you do speak natively is not. In fact, it may be what sets you apart from others. This isn’t a pick-me-up post though about life lessons, so without further ado, a few suggestions followed by a few concrete places to search.

Use every media source available to you. The internet, newspapers, Facebook Twitter, LinkedIn. Everything that might lead you to a contact is worth exploring. Of course, I used a whole lot of online sources.

The following is quite simply just a list of places to start:

You might recognize a few of the above. A couple (DN and SVD) are the big newspapers in Sweden. Monster and Manpower are pretty international. Some you might not recognize, Workey for example. Some have English options, others don’t. A tip for those of you who are still learning Swedish. Find the search bar and type in “English.” All the job announcements that want you to speak English will pop up, usually in English. I’ll be honest, I haven’t tried this with other languages, but give it a shot with your language. Use those skills that you have. Language skills count. Find jobs that seem interesting and that you are qualified for and go for it.

Try Arbetsförmedlingen. They are the employment office Sweden.  I’ll be honest, I haven’t had the best experiences with them as I wrote a while back, but they do their job and I know a few people who have been quite pleased with their work. Their website can be found above, and while I was not pleased with my experience at one of their physical offices, their website is great for finding job opportunities.

Talk to everyone you know. Seriously. Everyone. It doesn’t matter if they have any connection with Sweden, someone they know might. It’s worth making it known that you are planning on moving and that you appreciate any advice, suggestions, or job offers that might come out of mentioning that.

The next suggestion is one that I have heard you shouldn’t do. It’s also the one that got me my first part-time job in Sweden and my first full-time job in Sweden. Cold applications. Find companies or organizations that you are interested in. That interest and passion comes through in resumes, cover letters, emails, phone calls. Try to find the person who is in charge of hiring for the department you want to work in. Marketing? Find the marketing manager. Scour the internet for this information. Be specific and say exactly what you can bring to the table, exactly why you are worth hiring for a position they weren’t looking to hire for. Be warned that you will be ignored. A lot. People are busy and did not ask for your CV. That’s ok. You are unemployed, you have nothing to lose.

Looking for a job is miserable. It’s a process fraught with rejection and rejection is never good for the self-esteem. It’s lonely, it’s hard, it’s boring, it’s exciting, it’s a roller coaster of hope and dejection. Plenty of people have been there. I definitely have. It does get better. I promise, but keep trying. The above might not be too much new information, but I hope that the websites can be of some help and that you find yourself with a better idea of where to start.

If you have other suggestions, please leave them in the comments section.

And finally, good luck!

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About the Author: Marcus Cederström

Marcus Cederström has been writing for the Transparent Swedish Blog since 2009. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Oregon, a Master's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a PhD in Scandinavian Studies and Folklore from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has taught Swedish for several years and still spells things wrong. So, if you see something, say something.


  1. Anna Lau:

    To start a new life in a new country is hard not to mention to find a job there.I have had such wonderful opportunity and experience in finding a full time job in Sweden after just a year migrated to Sweden back in 1996. I spend half year learning Swedish For Immigrant (SFI) and another half year Swedish as Second Language (SAS)right after I migrated there.

    To me, is abselutely crucial and neccesary for one to learn the local language in order to better start a new life. It also makes job searching so much easier when one can speak and understand local language. With a bit of luck and ‘what you can put on table’, yes you may just find a job.

  2. Anya:

    I was advised to adjust my way of writing a cover letter from bragging about myself and my abilities (which is what you’re supposed to do in the U.S.) to talking more about why you want to work for that specific employer, why you find them admirable. It’s counterintuitive if you’ve spent years in American culture, but I’d say it was definitely the right thing do to.

  3. Fadi:

    I have to agree that the cover letter makes a big difference, and that the U.S style “bragging” I’m used to has very little effect on getting you to the interview.

    Nice list, I’d add:

    – Dfind
    – ingenjoren.ingenjorsjobb.se/ (for engineers)
    – RSS feeds you can find on the career website of some companies, very helpful to avoid missing good opportunities (example: ericsson)

  4. Sophia:

    Please add:
    Swedish residency
    Swedish work permit
    Swedish language
    These are required before you even can start to enter the job market in Sweden, in most cases. Swedish jobs go to Swedes in the first place, no matter how brilliant your education or career path has been so far. Sometimes even your name unfortunately puts your application in the trash can.

    Concerning the work permit, if you have no other benefits (like having a Swedish spouse) which can ease you in to getting a work and residence permit at the same time, you have to have an offer in hand before you can apply for a work permit.

    Sad but true. My American husband has tried for many years, and I (who has two out of three down) can’t get a job from abroad.

  5. parham:

    thanks for your website to help us
    i am from iran and i can speak some english and swedish i am civil engineear and more i like makeup artist disigner and haircut and…
    can you help me how can i come to sweden for live ?
    thanks alot

  6. Billain:

    Thanks for your great article…..

    The above information is very helpful to the job seekers…

  7. sequoia:

    I was told by my cousin who used to work at the employment agency that the two jobs you can get even if you only know a little Swedish (assuming you know English) is working at Subway and McDonalds. As long as you also dress nicely. I don’t know how true it is, but I thought it might help someone.

  8. Brant Kemplin:

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say great blog!

  9. James:

    @ sequoia

    Unfortunately it gets worse. As you do learn more and more Swedish you find that you are guilty of ‘thinking that you are too good’.

    Swedes refer to something called ‘ödmjukheten’ but it’s really only a yolk to put on foreigners a.k.a. systemic racism.

    If you don’t move to Sweden with a company from abroaqd then you are going to have to wait a long time for any reasonable employment befitting your knowledge.

  10. Maria:

    Dear everybody,

    I am the Master of architecture and soon I will have Specialization in Buildings Energy Efficient. I am 25 years old, and next year my plan is to find job in Sweden. I have Hungarian passport, but I am finishing my university in Serbia in Novi Sad.
    Could you tell me something about architects jobs in your country and where I can search for them? How much do architects earn and how is difficult to find a job as a graduate architect with two years of volunteer experience?
    Also something about language. Is it enough some basic knowledge for the start? I know English (FCE) and German (A2) till now, and my plan is to study Swedish very hard till April, May when I plan to come.
    Thank you very much for any information that you could provide me.

    Best regards,

  11. rahewa:

    I have a resident permit in Sweden and i graduated with B.A degree in marketing management. I came as a student for the first time in one of the university for my masters program i tried so hard to find job, i have been told i need a resident permit i got that,i have been told i need the language now i speak good Swedish and apply for job but still no hope. It is so hard fellows!!!

  12. Tilitoimistopalvelut Lappeenranta:

    I agree that now a days it is really hard to find a job and it is depends on what you gonna say in interview.In Finland before i use to be an accountant i walk in difficulties and it is hard for me to get a job until i use to look for some job advice and they are helpful and i am happy that you share that tips to many people.