Two weeks ago I went on my first job interview here in Sweden at an international school called Vittra! While I have applied to many jobs over the years I have only been on nine interviews my whole life, this one in Sweden makes 10. But this time I didn’t hand over a resume like usual, I gave my newly created CV, “curriculum vitae.” The first thing I had to do before my interview was make some adjustments. The format and over all vibe of the CV is much different than my beloved resume:
- I stuck to English for now, because it is an international school and I was applying for an English speaking position.
- I was surprised to have to include my personnummer (Equivalent to SS#, but used very differently and more public), and my date of birth and age. I’ve read that it is not uncommon to include personal information, such as marital status, kids, hobbies, and a photo. I decided to stay clear from that.
- Less bragging. Unlike my resume, this CV was not a break down of every task, responsibility, and achievement. Only the very basics and a brief outline of job description is needed/wanted. Anything more than that is bad form.
- I also handed in a cover letter, which is somewhat common in New York but usually for larger firms and professional positions. I have dozens of cover letters for publishing houses I have applied to, but wouldn’t need one for any of my dental assistant or receptionist applications. In Sweden it seems like a cover letter is just as important as the CV, for any job.
The interview was with the “Rektor” of the school, which is the headmaster/principal. The actual interview lasted about 45 minutes and was very relaxed and friendly. More of a talk than an interview. We spoke about the differences in private and public schools, between schools in New York and schools in Sweden, between tutoring and teaching. She told me more about Vittra:
Vittra is a private school that strives to give more flexibilities and options to the kids, more individual attention and assessment, more exposure and emphasis on the English language as well as learning more about other countries. The interests and strong points of each student are noticed and encouraged. Ages 6- 16 there are only about 250 students, in addition there is a new “forstskolan” wing for ages 1-5. The school has a huge shared open area that is available to the kids whenever they want to use it – for reading, studying, art projects, relaxing, quiet socializing. Each class room in the school is named after a different country. When a student is done with his or her work they are given something different to do or sometimes they can have some free time for finishing early.
We spoke a lot about the individual attention to each student, since I have done one-on-one English and Math tutoring for ages 8-12 but have never worked as an actual teacher. They want more native English speakers in the school to increase the availability and comfort level of learning, speaking, and listening to English. It was all very positive and hopeful. The plan would be to work with the youngest kids first (ages 1-5), since my experience is not in a school setting and the younger years is when the language development is highest. There was mention of work starting in August, “we could certainly use you,” “it would work well,” but nothing has been determined or set up. Not knowing Swedish yet didn’t seem to be a concern, as my job would be to speak English, however having SFI classes everyday would need to be worked out. So, we will see what happens! Fingers crossed!
Since there was only two weeks left of school, and August is so far away, I suggested it would be nice to observe/volunteer for a few days so I can meet the teachers and students while getting a feel for how the school functions. And so I have been volunteering at Vittra in the mornings and going to SFI in the afternoons. I even got called in to cover and paid for the last two days! The experience has been amazing! A lot more details and stories about it tomorrow!!