Something Swedish

First Job Interview In Sweden


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.

Getting ready for my first interview in Sweden!

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!!


20 thoughts on “First Job Interview In Sweden

  1. Awesome! I hope you get the job. 🙂 I’ve noticed some differences in the way Australians go about applying for jobs, since I’ve been researching how to construct a CV the Australian way for G. They also seem to use a lot more personal information, though I read somewhere that is becoming less common. Funny how things we take for granted that everyone knows how to do back home, like how to apply for a job, becomes a lot more confusing in a new country.

    • It really is the day to day things that you don’t expect to be different but most certainly are! I think it is becoming less common here as well, but still interesting to note!

  2. Martial status? Like how much weapons training you’ve had? 😉

    Sounds like a perfect job for a native English speaker, can’t be too many of those around in Sweden. Håll tummarna!

  3. fantastic, what a landmark occasion for you, good luck 🙂

  4. Wow, good for you, Meg. Mariette worked at Vittra as a vik (substitute) and she definitely, definitely noticed that they are way understaffed for the little kids you will be helping. I am glad they realize that they need more teachers for the little ones. I think they just opened last year and Mariette said it was a zoo, but hopefully they are now getting it together. I am sure they will and am sure they will hire you! So, grattis!

    • Tack Dan! When did she work there? For how long? Which age group? (Very curious)The forskolan only opened in August, so it must have been very new. When I was working there were 4 or 5 teachers for 20-25 kids (Ages 1-3) I think there were 3 or 4 working with ages 4-5 but seemed like less kids (I didn’t count as I wasn’t working with them).

  5. Wow! Meg, how wonderful the interview appears to have gone — they are really missing out if they DON’T hire you!! You’re the best. I assume you have shown them the blog you have been working on all these months. By the way, Fredrick, I am sure they meant “martial status” as in “husband training”, not “weapons training” (this is also a joke) . . .

  6. Good luck to you!
    I found a lot of differences between the French from France curriculum vitae and the Canadian résumé.
    In France, it is pretty much like in Sweden regarding personal details but they do want very detailed information about your tasks.The Canadian version just has the essential. I hope you get the job!

  7. I went to a vittra school from year 6-9 , I loved it! Great teachers and great students 🙂

  8. A friend invited me to visit Sweden and look for a job, do you think I can find one? I’m glad I’ve found this site, it helps me get idea.

    • Hej Yamie! I’m glad my blog is helping you out! It is very hard to answer your question though. It depends on what type of job you are looking for and it helps a lot (100%) if you know Swedish. There are places that will hire, but you can’t be so picky in the beginning I think. Good luck! I hope you find what you are looking for.

      • Thanks a lot Megalagom, been reading this site more often this time as I will come to Sweden on December 2012. Trying to learn basic words and checking some tourist spots.

  9. Pingback: Another New Year « Something Swedish

  10. Hi There,

    My husband and I are thinking of moving to Sweden as my husband is originally from there. I’m nervous though, because I really want to work… I’m afraid that if I don’t work, I’ll feel even more isolated.

    You mentioned Vittra school. I have a BEd in Education, and ESL experience so I was going to contact them. You wouldn’t happen to have an email address would you? I’ve gone to their website and looked at the “work with us” page but there isn’t anything coming up. Their “contact us” just has the info address.

    Thanks in advance,

    • Hi Brianne,

      Sorry for the really really delayed response! It’s normal to be nervous and work is a great way to be less isolated, but don’t get your hopes up before you have basic Swedish under your belt. The SFI and SAS classes are also an awesome way to meet people and socialize and feel less isolated in the meantime. Aside from Vittra there is Folkuniversititet and Internationella Engelska Skola. All of these have multiple locations throughout the country so you would have to find the one closest to you for the contact information. Lycka till! (Good luck!)

  11. Hi, interesting blog, I chanced upon it while looking for info about the Vittra schools, are you now working in a Vittra school? if so, would you be able to give me any inside info about it?

    • I volunteered for about a week and substituted for a few days, but did not start working there afterwards – so I don’t have much to tell aside from it seemed like a lovely environment. Good luck!

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