Before I came to Sweden (July 2015) I had been thinking how to prepare myself for this change and challenge. It was my first expat experience but I knew that language is vital to understand the culture and find a job, so I started with this. I found the Swedish Language and Culture full-time program at Folkuniversitetet in Lund and within one year of intensive work I achieved C1 (fluent) level. When the program was nearing its end, I started looking for a job. I am a well-educated researcher within social science with several years of experience and I thought that it wouldn’t be difficult to find something interesting. I checked Arbetsförmedlingen’s website but found that it didn’t offer exactly what I was looking for. Then I searched other job sites but still it wasn’t easy to find something interesting and relevant. It just didn’t work for me. I needed something else. At the same time, I started participating in the Kick-Start Program. And that was it!
What has the Kick-Start Program given me?
First of all, I gained knowledge about the job market. There is a big difference in the whole process of getting a job in Sweden or Denmark that I wasn’t aware of. I have learnt how to effectively look for a job or start my own business. Now I know what I can expect at every stage of this process and how I can prepare myself. I got individual guidance in writing a CV and cover letter which helped me a lot and increased the efficiency of my applications. I also got useful tips on how to prepare for interviews.
What I think was a big advantage of this program was great guest speakers. We met experienced recruiters, entrepreneurs and other professionals who shared their knowledge and experiences. What is also very important is that I have started building my network, which is another great thing about the Kick-Start Program. Since it’s estimated that only 30% of jobs on offer are published, networking is crucial to find a job. I have learnt how to connect to other professionals but also how to use LinkedIn to develop my network.
Last but not least the Kick-Start Program has given me the confidence and faith that I can succeed. In the program we met people who told us their success stories which I found were very inspiring. The program was also a great opportunity to discover cultural differences and how we all can benefit from our diversity. We should consider it as our advantage and not an obstacle to success.
You may wonder how my story ends. I have had a few interviews and this time I was much better prepared than before. I have utilised all the tools and knowledge I have gained from the Kick-Start Program and hopefully I will soon get my dream job.