Discovering how to network, the Swedish way

Expat partner Charlotte Lubbe has learned that personal networks are absolutely vital when searching for a job in Sweden.

Change of plans

“I didn’t expect to be doing a job search at all. Initially, I thought I would be working remotely for my employer in South Africa. Unfortunately the contract with the client I was working for ended due to Covid-19,” says Charlotte, who is from Pretoria, where she’d had a 25-year career without interruption.

Firing off applications

With great determination, she set about aligning her CV and cover letter with Swedish standards. “I applied to more jobs than I can remember in a couple of months,” says Charlotte, who eventually decided to enlist the services of a coach. “I was reluctant and unsure if it would help. I wondered what a coach would do that I couldn’t figure out myself.”

Setting goals

“Once I made it clear that I was interested only in a job search, we started to set goals and I honed my elevator pitch for networking events,” says Charlotte, who joined a non-profit organisation called International Citizen Hub Lund that enhanced her understanding of networking and recruitment in Sweden. “I was one of 50 job-hunters selected to join a workshop that introduced Swedish culture and explained what recruiters are looking at when they receive a CV.”

Personal contact

“I also came to understand that personal connections are really important here in Sweden and it’s okay to be proactive. For example, it’s perfectly normal to contact the person who posts a job on LinkedIn and introduce yourself,” says Charlotte. “That just wouldn’t happen in South Africa. Even when I told people at our church that I was searching for employment, they have offered to make calls and introduce you to someone they know!”

Support network

“Through networking events and workshops, you also meet many other experienced and well-qualified individuals who are in the same boat, and that camaraderie can be reassuring. The facilitators are also extremely helpful, using their own networks to let recruiters know who you are and why they should be interested,” says Charlotte, who has been interviewing for jobs and is hopeful she will land a role soon. “I hadn’t expected to be in this situation but I believe there’s great value in getting to know yourself better. Through this job search I have already learned a lot about myself and Swedish culture.”

Photo: Charlotte with her husband

This article was originally published for the thousands of expat partners that Global Connection supports around the globe

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