A CV is a summary of your experiences and skills described within different sections in reversed chronological order. Here you will get guidance, step by step, in creating a CV suited for the Swedish job market. You should always adjust the CV to each job ad and change the parts that do not fit. Read the job advert carefully beforehand and make sure you answer the questions asked.
How do I begin?
Do you already have a CV that is adjusted to the Swedish job market? If so, just use this checklist and make sure you included everything.
Do you wish to start from scratch? Follow the steps below. When you are done you can use the checklist to make sure you thought of everything. Search the web and see if you can find a layout that suits you, and to find more inspiration. You can also use this website: buzzcv
1. Design and layout
A CV should be no more than 1 page, and a maximum of 2 pages. If it’s longer it will be tiresome to read it. Show the employer that you can put words on your qualities and experiences and that you can promote yourself.
The format and the layout should be neat, clear. Headers and body text should be distinguished from one another. Use maximum of two fonts, one for the headers and one for the body text. Check that all headers have the same font and size. Remember that the CV is the first impression. You can start from a CV template, but change it so it gets a little bit more personal.
2. Personal and contact information
Begin with your personal data and contact information. Write your full name, year of birth, address, phone, e-mail address and LinkedIn. One e-mail address is enough, preferably your mail address from KTH, which gives a serious impression. You should never use a company’s e-mail address in a CV. You don’t have to include your social security number or marital status. The contact information should be displayed on both pages.
3. Career Objective
A trend, over the past few years, has been to include career objectives in the beginning of a CV. You should only do so if you have a clear and specific goal which lies in line with the job you are applying for. Don’t write things that you will express elsewhere in the CV and avoid vague statements. Try to be clear. It’s often difficult to formulate a clear objective in the beginning of the career. You might have to gather some experience first.
As a student or recent graduate it is wise to begin by describing your education rather than your work experience. Under this header you should only include educations from universities. Other educations which have led to a diploma or certificate can be listed under the header “Other qualifications” later in your CV. Since everything should be listed in reversed chronological order, you should begin by describing your latest or on-going education. You should write down the year and month when you started and ended something, the name of the university or school, where it is situated and your degree, for example:
2018-08 – 2020-06 Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
Describe then the purpose of the education and the most important courses, or the ones relevant for the job. Three to four lines of text are enough. If you don’t know how you should summarize your education in a good way, take a look at the description of your programme in KTH's course catalogue. Maybe you could use some of the descriptions but in your own words. Avoid using abbreviations that the reader might not understand. You should also avoid links and references to information elsewhere. The reader will not have the time to look up additional information. You don’t have to mention course credits or grades either. A CV containing lot of digits mixed with words is hard to read.
5. Work experience
Now it is time to describe your work experience. If you have experience from the technical field it is great, but if you lack experience from that field you should not despair. All kind of work experience is highly valued among employers, for example work at a restaurant, a grocery store, babysitting and so forth. You develop general so called Employability skills that are important in almost all kind of jobs. Things like being able to communicate well, to plan, to organize, handle stressful situations, team work, handle costumers and people. Investigate if you have these Employability skills. Describe them in short sentences with active verbs, for example; "I organized...", "I was responsible for...”.etc.
How do I describe my work experience?
- Describe the assignment - What did you do?
- What was the result for the company?
- Which skills did you develop?
- What did you learn?
6. Extracurricular activities
These experiences will give a hint about your personality and what you enjoy doing in your spare time. If you have been part of a sports team, an orchestra, a play or organization or club you should mention that. Perhaps you have organized events or even been a team leader? You develop skills for working life even through these experiences.
7. Language skills
Language skills should be listed under a separate heading. If you are enrolled in Swedish SFI classes or the like you should absolutely mention this. You then show the employer that you are seriously trying to learn the language. It is a matter of attitude; where you are willing to learn rather than being able to speak fluently. When it comes to describing your language skills it's often ok to just indicate if you speak fluent, have advanced or good knowledge and so on. You can use a scale that shows which language you are fluent in (native language) and a falling scale from that.
8. Computer and IT skills
Mention all kinds of computer skills even if you don’t master them or have worked professionally with them. Help the reader by grouping your skills into headings such as programming languages, software, applications and so forth. Do not forget to include skills in MS Office.
9. Other merits
Here you can mention educational qualifications that you have besides university and higher studies, i.e. smaller courses that have led to a diploma. You should also bring up scholarships, awards and driving license. Since the employer is interested in who you are as a person besides educational and professional experiences, you could also shortly mention something about what you enjoy doing on your free time.
We have now reached the final point in the CV. It is important to have a couple of reference persons that can confirm that you actually worked at a certain company and what it was like to work with you. The employer will contact reference persons after the interview if the employer still is very interested. The best reference person is a former boss or team leader. If you need Swedish reference persons you could also ask a teacher or professor at KTH. You don't have to write their names and contact in the CV, instead you can just mention that this information is available on request.
Should I include a photo in my CV?
In Sweden it’s optional, but quite common. In some cultures you should always include your photo and in others absolutely not. Avoid using a photo which is too relaxed and informal, for example a photo from a party. On the other hand, do not use a photo where you look too formal and stiff, such as a passport photo.
Is it really necessary to adjust each CV to each job ad?
You should never send out the same application to multiple employers. It is always evident that it is an impersonal and general job application and the employer will not spend time on reading it. Adjust both your CV and cover letter after each job position. Try to give the impression of being particularly interested in their company.
Before you send your CV, be sure to proofread it! Spelling errors will give a bad and unserious impression. Ask if someone can check and proof read your CV and, if you like, use the checklist mentioned above. If you need more help, please contact us at Career or visit our drop-in.