If we talk very frankly, for most of us, the final motive of studying a master’s programme is to find a good job. But a lot of us have no idea how to approach employers, especially those who are used to on campus hirings (campus placements as we call in India). Here in Sweden, one thing is quite clear, education is guaranteed by the university, finding a job is your responsibility. So it all comes down to your capabilities, skills, and most importantly your network to get a job.
If you are a student of the first year you would be more interested in knowing about summer jobs, internships, part-time jobs or thesis projects. I had written blog-posts on these topics in past. You can read them here:
There is no fixed recipe or magic trick for jobs in Sweden; usually, everyone has their own story of how they got their job. I talked to six of my friends who have gotten employed in past couple of years to know how they got their jobs. Though everyone had their own story, there were some common tips that I got from them about things one can do to have a higher success rate in landing jobs. One of the most common ways people get jobs is that they do their thesis project in a company which later hires them full time, but there is no guarantee for that. If a company is hiring a lot of thesis candidates, there is already a lot of competition among all the thesis candidates for a few positions, and sometimes they are not looking to hire at all.
Tips for job hunting in Sweden
- Network: I have been stressing on this a lot. In one of the event’s I attended, there was a speaker who gave some stats about jobs in Sweden, he said 6/10 jobs in Sweden are not advertised for, the small companies prefer to hire through networks as it establishes an element of trust. And then there was another statistic he told, 7/10 new hirings happen in small companies. So keep your radar on for your potential employers. Try to go to various events and meetups relevant to your field, in addition to free sandwiches, they offer a great chance to meet new people from your field. Most of them are probably are your potential employers or can put you in touch with your potential employers. The most important thing about going to such events is, a lot of people attend such events, so in case you find someone who can be of help, make sure to follow up on your communication later over LinkedIn or email.
- Be visible on the Internet: It is always beneficial to have an updated LinkedIn profile, I personally was contacted by a couple of recruiters for interviews on LinkedIn. So always keep your profile up to date with details of your projects, courses, and achievements. In the current start-up scenario, I have seen a rise of people adding each other on Facebook before LinkedIn, so in such cases, try to keep your timeline a bit clean, if memes are the only things you are posting, I am not sure how a person would react, but the least you can do is to have your own picture as a Profile picture.
Another good idea is to have a web-profile, CVs never have enough space to have details of everything you have done, so making a web-profile can be a good option. If you are a KTH student, you should know that every KTH student has a web profile associated with their account (www.kth.se/profile/your-kth-user-id/), that they can build according to their convenience. For example, you can see mine.
- A good application (CV and cover letter): There is one thing that I have observed in Sweden and people have repeatedly told me this as well that your grades don’t matter in a job application, your CV does. So if you want to increase chances of getting an interview call after sending in the application, better have an impressive CV. I had written a detailed post about writing CV & Cover letter, read it here: Career Talk #2: Dos and Dont’s for CV & Cover letter in Sweden
- Finding Jobs: You can find a lot of jobs on LinkedIn, but there are a lot of other web portals where you can look for jobs:
- LinkedIn Jobs – Undoubtedly the first choice.
- Angel List – Interested in working for start-ups? This portal is full of those opportunities.
- Graduate Land – Another good job portal, with jobs from all across Europe.
- The Local.se jobs portal – A portal for English language jobs in Sweden.
- Academic Work – One of the better job portals
- Arbetsformedlingen – The official job portal of Sweden
- Blocket jobs – Another good job portal
- Eures – European Job portal
- Glassdoor jobs portal
- Approaching your employers: What do you do when you find a job position that suits you? You send your application asap, right? In Sweden, it would be a great idea to call the hiring manager/HR and discuss the job position and look what they are looking for in their potential employee. Thereafter you can highlight that particular skill more than your other skills in your cover letter to let them know that you possess what they are looking for. If there is no phone number in the job ad, but there’s an email ID to contact, then you can get in touch with them over email.
I know, I am no expert in giving tips for finding jobs but this is a collective wisdom of the people who have advised me over past couple of years and eventually following these things gave me success. But to make it less monotonous, I had interviewed 6 of my friends about how they got their jobs and what tips they have to offer for people who are looking for jobs. You can read their interviews below. I asked the same question to myself, so at the end, you’ll find my story of how I got my job too.
Master’s Programme Studied: Environmental engineering and sustainable infrastructure
Currently Working at ÅF
Her story: I found my job through a non-school friend (hockey), who had a coworker who recommended me to ÅF. My friend’s coworker sent my resume to ÅF, and soon after I was asked to come in for an interview. The interview was with my (then) manager and lasted about 1hr. It was very casual, more a discussion about my background and then what they do as a company. At the end of the interview, I was offered the job.
Some tips: Employers are looking for immediately-applicable skills. In my industry, AutoCAD is used almost everywhere so being proficient in that computer program was basically what got me the job. Also, I got my job through NETWORKING, not applying to some online system. This is the most important thing I could recommend!
Master’s Programme Studied: Engineering Materials Science
Currently Working at the International relations office at KTH, he works with a pan-European Joint master’s degree project.
His story: During the summer, I had a part time job in the same department and once the summer was over, they had a position vacant and I had the possibility to continue working here. Since it was a continuation of the summer job (which I had got as a continuation of my Student blogging job before) the recruitment process was quite simple because I was already familiar with the department.
Some tips: I was learning Swedish along with my studies and I think that worked to my advantage because even though most of the work can be done just with English, it was quite important in my department to handle things in Swedish as well even if not fluently. Also adaptability is quite an important trait to have since you can get quite a few challenges working in an international atmosphere.
Master’s Programme Studied: Wireless Systems
Currently Working at Ericsson as Radio Network System Engineer in Stockholm.
His story: I found the job while doing my master thesis at Ericsson. The recruitment process went fairly well. I was offered a job in the department where I did my thesis. Even though my thesis was a research study and proposal, the department where I was doing it was more into design and implementations. Thus I was a bit reluctant to accept the job offer. Fortunately, at the same time, I was offered another offer from a more research oriented department at Ericsson, which I accepted.
Some tips: I couldn’t score excellent grades during my first year in KTH as I resumed studies after working for 5 years in the industry. However, I improved my academic profile overall in the second year, especially by scoring well in advanced courses in data science and wireless communications which I think was a good start to get a thesis of my choice. I think my experience also was accounted when I was offered the job. Quite differently I did not put many efforts on connecting with the colleagues while doing my thesis, instead, I preferred to work hard in my thesis to get a patent for Ericsson. And that’s how I think it was fairly easy for me to get the job. Passion and aggression to innovate were the keys for me!
Master’s Programme Studied: EIT Digital Embedded Systems
Currently Working at Volvo Cars in Gothenburg
His story: I got the job by applying to job advertisements on the career websites of various companies. I had been through recruitment process at Scania, Volvo Cars, and BMW. Scania and Volvo were pretty similar – Online aptitude test, HR, Technical interview with some questions about my thesis and CV. BMW had an extra programming test in addition to all the above.
Some tips: I used to do a lot of hobby projects for fun, and I uploaded them on my Github page. That, along with a relevant thesis helped me in finding the job.
Master’s Programme Studied: Embedded systems
Currently Working at Ericsson (ASIC and FPGA department) in Stockholm
His story: I found out about the job opportunity while doing my master thesis at Ericsson. Doing a Master thesis, or an internship can increase your chances of getting a job at a company as they get to know you throughout the process. We were told about these thesis subjects during a course, system design languages (SystemC), by a guest lecturer from Ericsson. The company also posted these thesis topics on their website later on. The recruitment process started with a skype interview with the HR. After that, I had to sit through an online assessment test. This was followed by two interviews with the potential supervisor and a manager. The interview was mostly non-technical, with a couple of technical questions in the end. I was given
the thesis position after that. The job recruitment process was also pretty much same. However, I had one extra interview with two other managers who basically ran me through the options that I could choose from following which I was offered this position.
Some tips: I made sure to go to events where companies of my interest were scheduled to make an appearance, for example, career fairs and socialize with their employees.
I also took part as part of the administrative team in a major event that concludes with the organization of one of the biggest career fairs in Stockholm. Coincidentally,
Ericsson was a major sponsor of the whole event. In a nutshell, i believe networking is very important to be a part of a company as that helps the company to
know you personally, which is regarded highly by recruiters.
Master’s Programme Studied: Security and Mobile Computing (Erasmus Program – NordSecMob). Studied the first year in NTNU, Norway and second year in KTH, Sweden.
Currently Working at Scania R&D with Autonomous vehicles in Södertälje.
His story: During my studies, I used to go to a lot of networking events in the area of my interest. Meetup is a very good platform to find people from your desired interest. While in Norway, I landed a part-time job in NTNU Technology transfer initially when a friend of mine recommended me. And eventually, I landed my summer job in Sikom Connect in Norway since someone in Sikom Connect knew my boss in NTNU technology transfer and he gave me a good recommendation. What I learned that in the small technology world, doing good work and maintaining good relationship both are very important.
I landed my first part-time job in Sweden in similar fashion while I went to a meetup and someone introduced me to a like-minded person. My job in Scania also happened due to the fact the recruiter knew me when I went to an autonomous vehicle meetup organized by Scania. Of course, like everyone, I also applied for a lot of jobs but having some contacts always helps to land your resume at the right person’s desk. Another good way of landing a job is by doing your thesis in the company of your interest. This will set you up with good contacts and eventually you might get a job if there is a position at that time.
Some tips: It is always good to know people and do some activities apart from your studies. I used to go to the meetups of my interest once a month generally. I also tried to contact the managers of particular organizations which I was interested in over the LinkedIn. I used to work on hobby projects and made sure to build my GitHub as I was into programming. I also volunteered in some tech events as these give a good chance to meet people. I also became a member of NOVA, which is an invite only group for top talents in Sweden. I think these kinds of smalls steps definitely helped me to stay afloat in the job market and eventually got me to the right place. Lastly my 2 cents for the people who will have visa issues after studies: Try to get a job in any related field so that your visa problems are sorted out so that you are not under stress. And eventually, you can always find the right job or company of your interest if you look.
I studied the master’s programme in Embedded Systems at KTH (In fact still studying, as I am yet to present my thesis). Currently, I am working at Volvo Trucks in the Advanced Electrical Engineering department, which is the RnD section of Volvo Trucks.
My Story: I am working in a field which has very few positions for fresh graduates, after searching for a suitable thesis in Electronic design during the degree project fair and the career fair (Armada), I was a bit disappointed as I couldn’t find a single thesis that was in accordance to what I wanted to do. By end of November, when most my friends had a thesis project (yes, it’s that early), I was still looking for something. Since I did my internship in the Integrated Transport research lab at KTH, I had an inclination to work in the automotive industry. Luckily for me, my flatmate knew what I was looking for and he found a thesis in PCB design, which was exactly what I was looking to do, I came to Gothenburg for the interview and got accepted for the position. So didn’t hesitate to move to Gothenburg when I found something so aligned with my interests. Later, I realized that one of the Hardware engineers had recently left the same group that I was working at and they would be hiring a replacement for him soon, so I threw my hat in the ring too. Many people have a misconception, that thesis workers are just casually hired if they work well. At least for me, it wasn’t like that, I had 4 interviews before receiving the final offer and the whole hiring process (from application till result) took almost 3-4 months.
Being a thesis worker definitely helped me, they knew that I had enough skills and motivation for to position in order to be hired against the usual requirement of longer work experience. I hope to be able to justify that belief.
Some Tips: Although I have mentioned a lot of things above, there is a very important thing about timing, if you are doing a thesis in the Spring semester, start applying for jobs from January/February, especially if you are not an EU resident. The usual hiring process might take 2-4 months, and to take care of all the legalities, it is always better to apply for your Work permit before your student permit expires (which is usually June 30). Once the vacation season starts, the country comes to standstill and then hirings resume only in September in most of the companies. So it is a good idea to be proactive and look for jobs in parallel with the thesis. Moreover, once you have a job offer, you can work on your thesis stress-free and enjoy your vacation time too.
Big thanks to Anne, Jairam, Darshan, Sandipan, Kannan, and Hassan for their valuable inputs for this blog post, I’m sure it will help in giving a better perspective of the job scene.