CV and applying for jobs
For social sciences students
- How to write a CV
- How write a cover letter
- Preparing for an interview
- Tips for getting a job in Sweden
How to write a CV
CV stands for Curriculum vitae which is Latin for “life description”. In the US, it’s more common to use the term “resume” as CV are more used within academic circles and scientific or medical careers.
Writing an excellent CV is not just about finding the perfect template online, it’s a way for you to introduce yourself to the employers and persuade them to give you an opportunity for an interview. An excellent CV not only tell what you have done (the past), but also what can be expected from you in a future job. Use short sentences and make it easy for a reader to grasp your CV in two minutes. It doesn’t mean it has to be very short or minimalistic. Adapt it a little bit for the jobs you are searching for. There are lots of information and tips online.
A CV should contain the following:
- Personal information: Usually the first part in the CV. Contains your personal information, such as full name, date of birth, nationality, and contact details. Civil status is usually not included when applying for a job in Sweden. In this first part of your CV you can also add your personal profile – a summary of your profile and career objectives. Writing a personal profile is a feat. There are lots of tips online.
- Work experience: Make a list of your work experience and employment history, in reverse chronological order. Start with your present or most recent position. Under each experience you may write your main task- responsibilities and what you have achieved. Use bullets and action verbs for this purpose.
- Education: Make a list of post-secondary degrees; name of the university, dates studied, name of the degree or major subjects. Also shorter courses can be listed here. If you have some certificates (e.g from language schools or computer courses), this is a good place to display those competences.
- Other skills:
- Language: Make a list of the language you can speak/write in and what level. You can differentiate between your reading, writing, speaking and understanding. Words like "fluent" apply to the speaking part only, and say nothing about reading/writing. You can use native for your own native language. It’s possible to use The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF) scale if you are searching or a job within the EU.
- IT: State which software you know and at what level. (Very good knowledge, Good knowledge, Basic knowledge).
- Other information: If you have other merits like grants that has been awarded, sport achievements etc. or driving licenses you can make an extra category. You can also add interests her.
References: References can be submitted on request. Make sure the references are familiar with your job searching process and confirm that you are providing their correct title and contact details.
How write a cover letter
If the CV focuses on the past, the Cover letter should focus on the future. It’s tempting to write about what you have done and highlight the best parts from the CV, but save that for the personal profile (in the CV).
- Read the description and address the job's needs with clearly written, powerful phrases
- Customizing the cover letter is the easiest way for you to demonstrate that you have clearly read and understood the job opening
- Research the employer, the department, project or position
- Try to find out how to distinguish your application from others
- Avoid clichés and have a positive and professional tone
The cover letter should not exceed more than one page. Divide it into different text parts:
- Dear Sirs/Sir or Dear Mr/Mrs + name of the manager.
- Introduce yourself and explain why you are interested in the position
- Why should they hire you? How does your competences and experience match the requirements? (Refer to relevant skills, experience and knowledge, achievements and personal qualities)
- Conclusion: state your interest in the organization/unit/job and how you could contribute.
- Good endings: "I am looking forward to hearing from you” “Thank you for any time and effort you take in reviewing my application."
- Yours sincerely/Sincerely yours + full name
Preparing for an interview
The interview is very crucial, as it’s your opportunity to demonstrate your personal skills and really get the job.
- Research the employer’s profile
- Write down questions you want to ask about the position and the employer
- Try to find arguments why you want the position and what you can offer to the employer
- Practice typical interview questions with a friend.
- Find out the employer’s location and how to get there. Arriving late gives a bad first impression and could affect your chances of getting the job
Search for “interview questions” online to find examples and tips on how to prepare and answer typical interview questions.
Tips for getting a job in Sweden
Citizens of non-EU countries can apply to stay in Sweden for up to six months after their studies in order to apply for a job. If you find employment, you can apply for a work permit and really start launching your career. As an international student it can be hard to just go and find a job within those six months after the studies - your career planning need to start when you begin your studies. Here are a few tips to help you get things started.
1. Career Hub
First of all, get registered at Career Hub. You will find information about employment fairs, career events, internships and jobs.
2. Learn Swedish
Nearly everybody in Sweden speaks English. The large companies have English as their corporate language and the second official university language is English. But being proficient in Swedish open doors as the social language often is Swedish and as a social scientist you might work somehow related to the public sector where the official language is Swedish, if you find a job where you have to search for information, arrange events, attend meetings and workshops, you will need to know Swedish. Learning Swedish will also show that you are ambitious and want to integrate with this country. Even though you are qualified enough and knows perfect English, it’s always easier to hire someone that knows Swedish.
Take the chance to learn Swedish, it will also make you more competitive on the international labor market. Your Sweden experience will be strengthening with Swedish language skills and give you benefits as you will appear more competent.
3. Take an internship
Gain relevant experience, acquire good Swedish references and start building you professional network during your studies. It’s not easy to get an internship if you don’t know Swedish, but if you know some spoken Swedish and understand reading - contact the employer, present an idea and try to convince the employer, it might work! Try and learn to communicate in Swedish but write your assignment in English.
4. Get a part time job
A part-time job is an excellent way of learning Swedish, get references, experience and a professional contact net. Don’t just focus on if it’s relevant or not for your future career. Be open-minded and see it as an opportunity to get Swedish experience on paper, extra money and references.
5. Get involved in your student union/get a voluntary job
It’s an excellent way of networking, learning the language and to get new skills. Some voluntary jobs can be skilled as you can learn how to arrange an event, influence the decision making at the university or learn basic project leader skills. It also provides you with Swedish references for your CV.