23 april 13:00
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How to network in Sweden

Many job opportunities are never advertised. Instead, numerous employers find staff through their own networks. But how do you build a network if you are new to Sweden? In this section, we explain. Plus, we provide simple beginner tips and sound advice for success!

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Ziza Madani:
Did you know that more than half of all jobs are never advertised? Instead, people get jobs through contacts and by networking. But what exactly is a network? And how do you build a good network to get a job? Stay tuned and we will give you some tips on how to be a smooth networker.

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Ziza:
Welcome to the New in Sweden podcast. A podcast where we give tips and advice on job hunting and finding employment here in Sweden. This podcast is for those of you who haven’t been in Sweden very long. A lot of things may be new for you. The title of today's podcast is, “Networking for a job”. My name is Ziza Madani and I’m joined here in the studio by my colleague Pär Axelsson who also works here at Arbetsförmedlingen, the Swedish Public Employment Service. We want to give you some practical advice and share our experiences. And as usual, Pär has promised to offer some of his super tips. Five of them, to be precise. We will hear more about those in a short while.

Pär Axelsson:
Yes. Good things come to those who wait.

Ziza:
Exactly. Hey, Pär. One thing comes to my mind.

Pär:
What?

Ziza:
This podcast is a result of our networking here at Arbetsförmedlingen, isn’t it? That’s how we got the New in Sweden podcast going.

Pär:
That’s true. That’s how it happened. Old fashioned intra-office networking. Talking to people, pulling some strings, checking things out, not taking no for an answer, talking to some more people… That kind of thing. It worked for us here in the office – and for you, dear listeners, hopefully you can make this happen too in the big world out there.

Ziza:
I think for a lot of people, the word “network” can be a bit difficult to understand. What do we mean by network, in this context?

Pär:
It’s nothing strange at all, really. Networking is something humans have always done. In the past, you only met and talked to people within a geographical area. You had your family, then you got to know your neighbours. You met more people in the local store or made friends in the town square. Today our networks are much bigger. And the internet gives us much greater opportunities to stay in contact with people and to make more contacts and increase our networks.

Ziza:
Would you say everyone has a network?

Pär:
Yes. Basically, everyone has a network. But you may not think of people that are close to you as part of your network. You think about them as family, relatives, classmates, neighbours, and so on. But if you change your job, or if you move to another country, it becomes very obvious. Suddenly you don’t know anyone anymore. Your network has become very small, so you need to start building a new network.

Ziza:
So, if you want to start building a network to get a job in Sweden, where do you think you should start?

Pär:
Start by planning your networking. You can do this in three steps. One, set a clear goal. Two, decide what kind of a job do you want. Three, with a clear goal, it will be easier for you to find the right contacts.

Ziza:
And then what?

Pär:
Start mapping your network and try to make it bigger. Hopefully you have a few people around you, family or friends. Your friends have brothers and sisters. Then you may have neighbours and you may know people from trainings or courses that you have attended. If you are studying at SFI, Swedish for Immigrants, tell the teacher about your dreams and plans for the future. That’s a good way to start building your new network.

Ziza:
What's the next step in building your network?

Pär:
Think about what people in your network who can help you with in your job search. Do you know people working in your industry, or the industry that you’re trying to get into? Does anyone know someone who works at a company where you want to work? Or do you know some people who just know a lot of people, and who can spread the word that you’re out there and that you are available for work.

Ziza:
You said you should go through your contacts. I think it’s important to review your contacts on Facebook and other social media as well. You may find such key people there. Contact them on social media. You want to make sure these key people know that you are looking for a job.

Pär:
Ziza, you know more about social media than I do. Could you tell us more about social media and networking for a job?

Ziza:
In social media there are different groups for different industries or professions. You can find these groups on, for example, Facebook and become a member. These groups are very good places to make new contacts. Say, for example, you want to work as a carpenter or assistant nurse. Search for these groups where you live or nearby. In the groups, there are people who work in these professions and employers that you can contact. Make a post where you describe yourself briefly and what kind of a job you’re looking for. Comment on other people’s posts. In groups like these you can find key people who may be of help on your way to a new job.

Pär:
What if you find it difficult to contact other people? Perhaps you are the shy type?

Ziza:
I’m glad you brought that up, because even if you are not very outgoing, there are still great opportunities to network through social media. You just need to write a few lines and then you are up and running with your networking. If you feel like speaking face-to-face with people is not what you’re best at, then focus more on social media. It’s probably easier for you than networking live by chatting to people on job fairs and recruiting events.

Pär:
Great tips, Ziza. I would like to recommend another thing.

Ziza:
What?

Pär:
Föreningslivet.

Ziza:
Well, this is an English language podcast. What is that in English?

Pär:
Clubs, organisations, and associations. If you are interested and passionate about something; if you’re into sports, or if you have a hobby or a special interest, you can join a club or an organization of some kind. People usually do voluntary work here, which means that you meet people of different ages and from different professional backgrounds. That entails meeting people outside of your existing network.

Ziza:
Sounds like a great way to connect with people if you’re new in the country as well. I’m thinking about confidence when networking. We try to make it sound easy, and for some people it will be, but it’s not easy for everyone. Do you have anything more to say about that?

Pär:
Those who will help you, know that you are new in Sweden and need a job. By contacting them and asking for help with your job search, you show that you want to do the right thing for yourself. Everyone will appreciate this.

Ziza:
Before we conclude today, Pär, you promised our listeners five super tips for networking. What is the first thing they should do to get going?

Pär:
Yes. One: Go to recruitment meetings and job fairs in the industry you want to work in. There, you will meet employers and people who work in the industry. That can give you tips and opportunities.

Ziza:
Okay. Do you have any more super tips?

Pär:
Of course. There are many organisations and groups that can help you with the Swedish language and help you find new contacts in Sweden. Some of them meet physically and other meetings take place online, which can make it difficult to pick up the language. But on the other hand, online meetings are very time efficient.

Ziza:
Do you have names for any of these organisations?

Pär:
Of course. Yrkesdörren is one of them. Jobbentrén is another one. Kompis Sverige and Svenska med baby are other examples of such organizations. I should also mention Kvinnoträffen which is a meeting place for newly arrived mothers with children, where they can meet other women who are settled in Sweden and have established themselves on the job market. At Kvinnoträffen they get together and share their experiences.

Ziza:
That sounds great. And what’s your third super tip?

Pär:
Introductions. If you’re given a name from someone, and they put you in contact with someone for a job, be clear about who made the recommendation. And remember to thank the person who did the recommendation. They probably want to know how things worked out for you.

Ziza:
And the fourth super tip.

Pär:
The fourth one is to write a short presentation of yourself. Prepare a so-called elevator pitch. Prepare a 30 second presentation about what you have worked with before, what education you have, and where you have done an internship, for example. Practice your elevator pitch so that you are ready to tell someone what you’re good at in 30 seconds. Sometimes that’s all you’ve got. Be prepared. Simply, what you know and what you are good at. It can be worth its weight in gold when you meet the next person who can help you with jobs.

Ziza:
And number five. Your last super tip.

Pär:
The last tip is to remember that the people in your network can help you in different ways. Someone may tell you about a position somewhere. Someone else puts you in contact with one of their contacts. A third person helps you with your CV or cover letter. A fourth person may be a reference for you to future employers.

Ziza:
Well, thank you. And those will be the final words for today’s broadcast. Thank you for listening to today's episode of the New in Sweden podcast. See you next time with more useful tips and advice for those who are new to Sweden. Bye for now.

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Speaker:
You have been listening to the New in Sweden podcast by Arbetsförmedlingen. You can find all previous episodes at arbetsformedlingen.se/play. If you have any questions, tips, or ideas, please e-mail us at podcast@arbetsformedlingen.se. this episode was produced in the winter of 2024.

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