Looking for work

Last updated: 20 9 2018

Image Boken om Sverige
This material is from the book About Sweden.

Looking for work can take a lot of time and there are many things to bear in mind.

Here are a few suggestions about how to go about finding a job.

  • You can visit Arbetsförmedlingen and apply for the jobs advertised there.
  • You can contact employment agencies that provide staff to various businesses.
  • You can contact a recruitment company that finds people for businesses who want to employ new staff.
  • You can reply to job adverts in newspapers or that you find on the internet.
  • You can contact employers yourself.
  • You can ask people you know – use your personal network. A lot of people find work through their own contacts.


Arbetsförmedlingen is a central government authority that can be found throughout Sweden. Arbetsförmedlingen tells you how you can find work and provides information about various professions and training programmes.

When you have received a residence permit, it is important that you register as a job seeker with Arbetsförmedlingen.

Introduction benefit

If you are entitled to introduction benefit, a case officer at Arbetsförmedlingen will work with you to produce an introduction plan. The introduction plan is a plan for how you will enter the labour market and it is valid for the two years in which you are entitled to introduction benefit.

Work placement Photo: Colourbox 

Support for job seekers

Arbetsförmedlingen supports job seekers in various ways. There is special support to help those who have recently arrived in the country find work.

There are also opportunities to undertake work placements. Work placements involve you working for a time at a workplace at the same time as you receive benefits from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. You therefore receive no wage from the employer.

Work placements provide you with an opportunity to enter the labour market in Sweden and demonstrate what you are capable of. They provide you with experience of working in Sweden and may improve your chances of finding a job. If the work placement goes well, you can ask if you can use your employer as a reference when you apply for jobs. This means that those who you are applying for a job with can call and ask if you worked well during your work placement. It is good to have a reference. Almost all employers want to have one when they employ someone.

Arbetsförmedlingen has training programmes for various understaffed professions. The idea is for these training programmes to lead to a job.

Introduction jobs and New start jobs

Introduction jobs and New start jobs are two ways that people who have recently received a residence permit can get a job. Under these schemes, the employer can receive a part of the employee's salary as a subsidy from Arbetsförmedlingen. Contact Arbetsförmedlingen if you are interested in Introduction jobs or New start jobs.

Application documents

When you apply for a job, you have to send in the documents that the employer has requested. Often the employer will ask you to send both a personal letter and a curriculum vitae (CV).

Talk about your career goals, your work experience, your education and other knowledge and preferably what you are like as a person. Photo: Colourbox


Curriculum vitae (CV) is Latin and means the story of your life. In your CV, you have to describe your career goals, your work experience, your education and other knowledge and skills. You can also describe yourself and what you are like as a person.

A CV can contain the following:

  • Name, address, telephone number and email address.
  • Education: a list of the educational qualifications.
  • Work experience: a list of the work experience you have.
  • Other experience such as language and computer skills.
  • References: name of a previous employer or a person who knows you well.
  • Brief personal information: your interests, family and recreational activities.

The CV can also contain brief information about what you have done in your previous jobs and the content of the study programmes you have taken. Grades and certificates can be provided at an interview or if the employer requests them.

Application letter/personal letter

In an application letter or personal letter, you set out why you are interested in this specific job or company. You also explain why you are suitable for the job and provide details about your past experience. It is important that the personal letter is adapted to the specific job you are applying for.

The letter should be short, about one A4 page is appropriate.

Notification of interest

If you are interested in working in a certain workplace, but there are no jobs currently being advertised, you can send in a notification of interest. You send your CV and a letter in which you describe why you want to work at that specific workplace what you are good at.

Job interviews

A job interview is a conversation in which an employer interviews a person who is applying for work. There are some important things to think about when you are to attend an interview. It is a good idea to read about the business and to carefully think about what experience you have that makes you right for the job. For example, you can look for information on the internet. This demonstrates your interest in the job you are applying for.

Common questions

It can be a good idea to think about how you are going to respond to various questions in an interview. This can make you more confident when you meet an employer.

Common questions and challenges:

  • Tell me about yourself! What sort of a person are you?
  • Tell me about your previous experience and your studies!
  • How do you work as part of a group?
  • What are your strengths and positive qualities that are appropriate to this job?
  • What do you need to get better at? (It's often a good idea to show that you know your weaker sides as well.)
  • Why have you applied for this job? What is it that attracts you?
  • Why should we employ you? What is it that makes you suitable for this job?
  • What are your long-term plans for the future?

During a job interview, you have to answer questions about, for example, why you are applying for that specific job. Photo: Colourbox

Other things to think about when you go for a job interview

First impressions are important when you meet the employer. Find out in advance if the workplace has any special requirements regarding clothing or if it has a dress code.

Many employers expect you to greet them by shaking hands with them.

It is important to arrive at the interview on time. If you are late, you can harm your chances of getting the job.