"Networking in Sweden is Godsend especially in your job search. Yes, sounds bizarre but true in every sense. Not only you open your doors to new people/friends, but you also open the doors to your future job. Sweden thrives on trust and credibility. While your resume is a proof of your competencies; your contacts and references boost trust. Let us face it- networking is not going to get your job overnight but creating meaningful relationships might."
When the brain finally made peace with the thought of relocating to a different country (in my case Sweden), I went through all things excitement and anxiety. Excitement for obvious reasons; new place, new people, new culture and the likes. Anxiety cum nervousness because relocation means life change. Period.
Though on the work front, I had parked my anxiety aside till I settled in (at least physically). My honest and now I feel naïve impression was that finding a job in a European country may not be all that difficult; but myths were shattered, and all hell break loose when I found myself in the cacophonic Swedish labour market. It has been 5 tumultuous years of finding my foothold in the job scene.
What I am trying to tell you here is that YOU are not alone! Look around, there are quite a few out there wanting to hand hold you given their personal experiences. Believe me, I am neither a job counsellor nor a mentor; I am just another ambitious individual trying her level best to overcome the fear of landing in no man´s land. But experience has been my best teacher so far and that is what I am here to give - a sense of direction to all those anxious, excited and extremely talented internationals landing in Sweden.
The first cultural shock that I had to encounter was the language. Little did I know that my English fluency would entail me to rely on using Google translator even to buy milk cartons! Not knowing the language can make you feel isolated and homesick. Do not waste any time in enrolling yourself in the language course or start self-learning online. Learning a new language allows you to get close to the new culture.; lets you understand it far better than you expected.
From ordering your cup of coffee to bus rides to grocery shopping, speaking the local language can get you talking with the local community. Plus, learning a foreign language does look fancy on the resume.
If you choose to go to a country far from your homeland, it can get isolating and frustrating. You might find your solution in networking. Networking in Sweden is Godsend especially in your job search. Yes, sounds bizarre but true in every sense. Not only you open your doors to new people/friends, but you also open the doors to your future job. Sweden thrives on trust and credibility. While your resume is a proof of your competencies; your contacts and references boost trust. Let us face it - networking is not going to get your job overnight but creating meaningful relationships might. Start small or local. Be open to attending local events or simply volunteer. Join a sports club or hobby class irrespective of the language barriers.
Take my word when I say that even jogs at the park can help you land a job in Sweden! Build your network both offline and online. Make sure you make LinkedIn your best buddy!
Here comes the most crucial aspect. I feel It is OK to fail! It is OK to be afraid of failure! No matter how solid your CV looks; you are going to face rejection. My inbox is probably flooded with more rejections than job applications. I have faced rejections even for unpaid jobs. I have made desperate calls to parents, contemplated returning home, felt stressed, feared depression and so on because I had self-doubt syndrome. For someone who has always been active and working round the clock, a career gap looks suicidal. However, having said all the above, these failures have been my strength and helped me retain my sanity. It introduced me to a side of mine I had not previously explored which was the ability of handling rejections!
It is not something to be proud of to be honest, but these are harsh truths. I hope that none of you reading this should not face rejections but if they come your way in any circumstances, do not let them boggle you down.
I have finally made peace with the fact that Sweden is going to be my home and I have a strong sense of feeling or call it intuition that the labour market will positively welcome me one bright, sunny day! For all you newcomers out there, do not lose faith in the system. Yes, your path may be rough but being persistent is the key. You might feel that Sweden is not for you if you are not able to cope up with the competition or even on a lighter note, the climate. Do not let anything discourage you from chasing your dreams. Be in control of your game for tomorrow is your time to rise and shine.
/ Punit Thorat
If anyone of you feel the need to talk to someone, send me a line.
The views expressed in this article are personal and are not intended to malign.