In Swedish language, there are words that consist of three words at the same time (think like inception!). So you may look with a blank face the first time you heard or see the word “Arbetsförmedlingen”. It’s the official employment office of Sweden and, believe it or not, you are gonna say it easily after few practices. (I thought I could never manage to say any of these “inception” words in Swedish but now I can- how cool!)
Anyway, back to business. Registering Arbetsförmedlingen is a must in Sweden if you are looking for a job, even if you’re a foreigner. To register, you should have Swedish ID card (In fact, you need that ID even to breath in Sweden – they literally don’t let you do anything without it!). I got my ID few weeks after moving, but it may take up to two months – so you should apply it as soon as you step into Swedish land. The second step, after getting your ID, is getting a Mobile BankID account. It is an app allows you to enter countless Swedish systems including Arbetsförmedlingen. These two are Sweden 101 – it’s better to get these before starting your job hunt.
Arbetsförmedlingen’s website is in Swedish and there is no English language option. Don’t panic because they recommend somewhere in the website to use Google Translate to translate the page to English (they say the website quite suitable for Google Translation – and actually yes it is!) So just right click while you’re on the website and you will see a Translate to English option. So, we solved this problem too, lets move forward to creating some profile.
Enter My Profile section and there you will see some headlines you need to fill like personal information, education, work experience etc. Below photo shows my profile screen.
That was the easy part. Now we will proceed to Personal Letter section. Without writing a personal letter, the system does not allow you to complete your profile or look/apply for jobs. They basically require from you to write a detailed combination of cover letter and CV in this letter (so easy to say but desperately hard to write – I know and share your agony…)
So the main headlines they want you to tell are:
- What you are good at
- Special interests you have
- Tasks you are particularly interested in
- A detailed description of your skills and experience
Which means everything! The letter limit is 3600, so you will have plenty of space to write your life story.
If you succeeded to complete this stage, then we’re almost done. Now, go to Register Yourself section at the left menu in the page and enroll for a meeting in Arbetsförmedlingen. That meeting is your final approval, you need to go there to complete your registration. There are more than 30 offices in Stockholm and you can choose which suits you best. After choosing office, you will see a timetable and select one of that fits you. If date/time of your selected office is not convenient for you, you can go back and select another office. I went Stockholm City office in Tunnelgatan and it was quite good.
Before the meeting date, there is a section in the website that you should fill. There are some similar questions to personal letter section, and you should write few things so employment officer can read them and prepare herself ahead. (aren’t they really cute, Swedish people always love to help people)
Go to the meeting with your Swedish ID Card and also bring the Migration Office Letter that says you can live and work in Sweden for some certain time. (You may forget about the letter but it was sent to you at the beginning, even before you get your residency permit card) You can also send the scan of letter later with email.
At the Arbetsförmedlingen, you wait until your meeting time and then someone (your appointed employment officer) come and say your name loudly – follow that person! The meeting is like an interview, they want you to tell about yourself and what you want to do. Then s/he tells how they can help, together you make some brainstorming, also s/he tells how the system works etc. The officer in the meeting is your key contact, you can email her anytime if you have a question about anything related with job searching or employment. So now you have a career consultant for free!
Also they want you to enter some activity report in the website monthly. It can be as much as detailed you want or just a brief paragraph. You should tell what did you do in your job search process – how many ads did you apply, how many interviews you went, did you take any courses/education etc. You can think it like a diary. By this way, they know you still look for a job and you’re still within the system.
There are many more details about Arbetsförmedlingen that I do not know yet- I think no one know fully about them 🙂 However, there are certain incentives that are very useful:
If you have an internship, they afford your taxes and also pay you some little salary. So it’s good for your employer to give you an internship!
Also if you’re foreigner and taking some Swedish courses from SFI (these courses is a whole different topic that I should write about), then your employer can get some money from Arbetsförmedlingen.
If you are an entrepreneur and apply Arbetsförmedlingen with your business plan – they appoint you some consultants and if the business plan makes sense, they pay you a salary for six months without demand anything in return.
So those are the few good opportunities I heard about Arbetsförmedlingen and I bet there are many more. So you should ask your “career consultant” if you have something in your mind.
P.S. There is also some employment benefit for unemployed ones. However, to apply this you should have worked in Sweden at least one year and then you should have become unemployed. So if you moved to Sweden recently, you are not eligible for that.