I receive a lot of career related queries from people, starting from ways of finding jobs/internships to writing CVs and cover letters. Though I am not an expert on any of these, in fact, I got numerous rejections last year while applying for internships. But that’s exactly when I realized that I was approaching the companies the wrong way with an un-Swedish CV. I feel I can use my blog as a platform to offer some help from the lessons I learned about these things in last one year.
I know I have a mixed set of audience for these topics. Some want help with their CVs, Cover letters, some want to know how to get Internships or part-time jobs. Some want to know how it works with finding a Master thesis or summer jobs. And some are just curious to know how does the job market work in Sweden.
To make it better organized, I’ll be publishing 5 different posts in this series during this month, following which I’ll be writing blog posts intended for new students.
Career Talk #1: Career options after Master’s in Sweden [This blog]
Career Talk #2: Dos and Dont’s for your CV & Cover letter [READ HERE]
Career Talk #3: Finding Part-time jobs, summer jobs, and internships [READ HERE]
Career Talk #4: Master Thesis Hunting guide [READ HERE]
Career Talk #5: How to look for jobs in Sweden [READ HERE]
Disclaimer: I have done a lot of research for writing these posts in the last couple of weeks ever since I came up with the idea of writing on this topic. But some of my suggestions could still be flawed so don’t consider this as a panacea.
I talked to some of my friends to know about their experiences about their experience while they searched for job/thesis which I will be mentioning in the upcoming posts. A big shout-out to Sandipan, Niroop, Dhiraj, Hassan, Pascal and many others whom I talked to get a broader idea of things.
Let’s get started with the first post
Career options after Master’s in Sweden
Let me start this with clearing a common misconception or rather a situation of unawareness. The most common question I get from the prospective students (and sometimes parents) from India is: How is the placement scenario at KTH. Well, the short answer to this question is: There is no placement scenario at KTH. But let me get into details. For those who are not from India, placements are something I suppose unique to India and some other countries when companies come to college campuses and recruit students. This kind of becomes a selling point for colleges based on the percentage of students who have jobs before they graduate.
In Sweden, or rather in Europe. Things work in a different way, university guarantees you a good education, good networking opportunities, good practical skills; however, finding a job is your own responsibility. This means, you don’t just need good grades, but your soft skills matter too. So my friends, forget the word placements if you plan to move out of India, and don’t expect the university to spoon feed you with certain limited options.
But don’t get worried, it’s not that you are isolated from the industry. It’s rather opposite, the education here is tightly coupled with industry and its demands. There are a lot of course-projects which will be sponsored or proposed by any company and you’ll be working closely with them. Then there are career fairs like Armada and many other departmental fairs where you get a chance to interact with company representatives. In fact, Armada, the career fair at KTH is the biggest career fair of Scandinavia with over 180 companies present at KTH campus every year.
Now, let’s get started with the main topic: What are the career options for a university graduate in Sweden. I’ll try to focus on the technical jobs as they are pertinent to the university education.
So as far as I understand, once you graduate you have four options.
- Work at a Company
- Pursue a PhD
- Start your own company
- Stay unemployed
Now that staying unemployed doesn’t qualify as a “career option”, let’s talk a bit about the first three.
1. Working at a company
Sweden is home to a lot of famous brands like Ericsson, Volvo, IKEA, Electrolux, Spotify….and the list goes on. Obviously, they all have job openings all the time. But not just these big brands, there are a lot of small and medium scale countries, who are basically suppliers/consultants to these big brands or have their own products, which have a lot of jobs. I was attending a lot of career meetups during summer, and during one of those events, a speaker told two interesting things about Swedish job market. 7 out of 10 new jobs are in small or medium scale companies. And the other thing he told was quite interesting, 3 out of 5 new jobs are not advertised for.
But why am I telling this! there are two takeaways from this. First, Networking is very very important. If you have a good network, you might actually get a job pretty easily. The other important thing is, which no one will say out loud, but the importance of knowing Swedish. In small companies, with 10-30 employees, knowing some basic Swedish increases your employment chances by 2-3 times. And if you plan to stay here for more than two years, there is no harm in learning the language, in fact, it is the best way to know about the culture. Also, go to all possible networking events, that turns out to be really helpful.
You can take a look at the KTH Linkedin Page to know where and what kind of industries are the KTH Alumni working to get a broader idea of the possibilities after Master’s.
2. Pursue a Ph.D.
Ph.D. is considered to be a full-time job in Sweden, and you will be an employee of the university. Ph.D. consists of 80% research and 20% teaching. And it takes 5 years to complete, and the salary is also pretty decent, so don’t be lured into a company job if research interests you.
The vacancies for Ph.D. are continuously advertised on KTH Vacancies web page, but one can always approach their professors after their thesis if they are interested in working with them.
Interestingly, KTH is responsible for approximately one-third of Sweden’s technical research capacity and engineering educations.
3. Start your own company
The European Digital City Index (EDCI) placed Stockholm second in Europe when it comes to supporting digital entrepreneurs. And I see the overall ecosystem for starting a company is pretty good here. In fact, at KTH, KTH-Innovation provides free assistance and mentorship if you wish to start a company, a couple of my friends did start their companies and are working on it. [Read about Windiglobe]. There are 3 incubation centers right at the KTH campus, and much more around in Stockholm. So starting your own company is also not a bad Idea. In fact, Daniel Ek, the co-founder of Spotify is a KTH Alumnus. If you’re from India, you must know about True-caller, The co-founder Alan Mamedi is also from KTH.
Want to start a company? Don’t hesitate.
Read more blogs in this series: