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PRESENTED BY INVEST STOCKHOLM

How to find work when you’re new to a city

Some people move abroad for an irresistible job offer. But if you decide to settle in a new country for love or adventure, finding work can all too quickly become your biggest source of stress.

How to find work when you’re new to a city
Photo: Getty Images

Many people who move don’t know anybody in their new city and can say nothing more than ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in the local language. It’s easy to become disheartened – and even more so when Covid-19 restrictions make face-to-face networking impossible.

The Local, in partnership with Invest Stockholm, offers a simple guide to some of the key steps you can take to boost your job prospects in your adopted home, wherever you are. 

Curious about Stockholm? Find out more about career opportunities in the Swedish capital

Digital networking: be confident in what you can offer

You’re in an exciting new European city. But you’ve barely left home for weeks due to the pandemic and you don’t know how or where to begin your job search. 

All is not lost. The opportunities for digital networking are greater than ever. Now is the ideal time to make new connections online – and the contacts, skills and confidence you develop could prove vital long after the pandemic is over.

Networking – in person or online – can be a “scary” process, says Shaena Harrison, Executive Assistant to the Director at LinkedIn Nordics. But you should take confidence from your willingness to switch country in the first place, Harrison advises. Finding a supportive ‘team-mate’ can also be vital to keeping you going.

“We’re ready for adventure when we move abroad, so we shouldn’t be afraid to tap someone on the shoulder – or to do the digital equivalent,” Harrison says. “With physical events, you can take a ‘wing person’. Even if you’re networking digitally, you could find someone to work with as a team.

“The most important thing is to ask yourself ‘why do I want to reach out to these people?’ Frame the answer in terms of what you can offer, rather than what you’re looking for.” To learn more about the Stockholm approach to networking, click here.

Photo: Shaena Harrison

The tools to open up opportunities

So, what tools can you use to build your digital connections? Social media is likely to be key, of course, whether your preference is Facebook, Twitter, a younger rival or a dedicated professional network like LinkedIn.

Last year LinkedIn introduced an “Open to Work” setting. This means you can easily show on your profile page that you’re job-hunting – sharing this either with recruiters only or with all members. Those able and willing to pay a monthly subscription for LinkedIn Premium can also gain access to LinkedIn Learning, which offers a vast range of courses to help users upskill or reskill. 

If you’re not sure what you want to do next, many websites and apps offer personality tests that will offer quick advice on your aptitude for different careers. And don’t forget to Google yourself and look at the results with the critical eye of an employer!

What if you’re moving because your spouse or partner has landed a new job? Many major cities offer support networks for people in this situation, so it’s worth doing a search. If this applies to you and you’re new in Stockholm, click here to find out how the non-profit Stockholm Dual Career Network could help you.

Find out the tips and tricks that could help you land a top job in Stockholm

Employment sites 

Major international sites with listings across industries include Monster, Indeed and Glassdoor (where you’ll also find reviews of companies by current or previous employees). Want to focus on jobs where you can work in English? The Local’s job site is Europe’s foremost hub for English-language jobs, reaching 50,000 jobseekers across Europe every week.

Keen to impress with your language skills and international experience? You could try Europe Language Jobs, which specialises in matching multilingual candidates with multinational companies and has job offers in more than 40 languages.

You may also want to look at job listings and support from public employment agencies. EURES is an EU agency set up specifically to help jobseekers find work and employers to recruit across Europe. It aims to ensure career opportunities for European citizens aren’t held back by issues such as language barriers, bureaucratic challenges, and local employment laws.

On the site, you’ll find jobs from public employment agencies in EU and EEA countries, as well as Switzerland, and as of January 2021, more than 2.3 million jobs are listed. Companies in Germany place the most adverts, followed by the Netherlands and France.

You’ll find a wide range of job sites to search wherever you are. But sometimes the choice can prove confusing. Narrowing the search by focusing on specialist sites related to your industry may work for some. Stack Overflow, for example, is one of the world’s largest communities for programmers.

Finding work in Stockholm

Stockholm has an exciting start-up scene and is recognised as one of the most innovative cities in the world. Finding a job can be tricky, however, if you move to the city without an offer.

You’ll need to speak Swedish for most jobs advertised in Stockholm. Swedish isn’t required in many start-ups and large international companies where English is preferred, however. One site specifically for English-speaking jobseekers is www.jobsinstockholm.com, which also includes professional jobs in other parts of Sweden and useful tips for English-speaking job-hunters. Many jobs with start-ups appear in forums and networks, including Startupjobs.se and The Hub.

If you’re on Twitter, follow @movetostockholm and the activity on the hashtag #movetostockholm to hear about the latest opportunities. You could also join Invest Stockholm’s Move to Stockholm group on LinkedIn for work opportunities, practical advice on settling in, and to make new connections.

The Swedish Migration Agency and the Public Employment Agency regularly put together a labour shortage list (in Swedish) of occupations in high demand. If you’re offered a job on the list, you can then apply for a work permit from Sweden without following the usual requirement to apply from your home country.

Finally, what if you’re ready to start your own business? It’s straightforward in Stockholm, especially if you choose to register as a “sole trader”. Could this be the time to challenge yourself by going it alone as a freelancer?

Get the official advice on how to go about finding a job in Stockholm – or alternatively read more about your options for starting your own company in the city.

 
For members

JOBS

Do I have to take most of my annual leave in August in Spain?

Many Spanish companies still expect their workers to take their holidays at specific times of the year, primarily in August, right in the height of summer when many hotels are fully booked. So what are your rights, are you obliged to take your vacation in one particular month?

Do I have to take most of my annual leave in August in Spain?

While it’s your right as an employee to be able to take holiday days, do you have to take them when your company wants you to take them, or are you able to choose and have more flexibility?

Despite August being one of the hottest months in Spain and the one month of the year when many official companies and offices shut up shop, not everyone necessarily wants to take their break at the same time as everyone else.

Taking your holidays in August means less availability in hotels, overcrowding and more expensive transport and accommodation. If you don’t have children who are off from school during the summer months, then you may wish to take your vacation days at another time of the year, when it’s less busy and cheaper.

To answer the question it’s important to know the details about what the law says about how paid time off is taken, requested, imposed, or granted.

What laws or regulations dictate the rules about paid holiday time?

There are three different sets of rules and regulations, which are responsible for regulating the laws on vacation time in Spain. 

Firstly, you need to look at the Spanish Workers’ Statute, which includes rights, duties and obligations applicable to all salaried workers in Spain.

Secondly, you need to be aware of the collective sector and/or company agreements, which may dictate the rules for a particular industry for example.

Thirdly, you need to look at the contract, which you signed with your employer when you started working for them. This sets out your individual circumstances and the rules you must abide by.   

Workers Statute

As a general rule, all employees are subject to the Workers’ Statute. Holidays are part of this and are the subject of article 38. These conditions can never be contradicted by individual companies and are set as a guaranteed minimum. 

The minimum number of holidays in Spain is 30 calendar days per year. This equals two and a half days per month worked, in the case of temporary contracts. The statute states that vacations must be taken between January 1st and December 31st in separate periods, but one of them must be for at least two weeks. They are always paid and cannot be exchanged for financial compensation.

The period when you can take them is set by a common agreement between the employer and the worker, in accordance with what is established in the collective agreements on annual vacation planning. If there is disagreement, the social jurisdiction is resorted to.

At a minimum, the company must offer vacation days at least two months before the beginning of the holiday period, so that the employee has time to organise and book.   

When the planned time to take vacations coincides with a temporary disability, pregnancy, or childbirth, you have the right to enjoy the vacations at another time, even after the calendar year is over.

Collective agreements on vacations  

Your sector’s collective agreements may also help to answer this question. These aim to improve upon the basic and general rights that are included in the Workers’ Statute. They seek to adapt the rules to each type of industry or company. They could, for example, set out extra vacation days, which are greater than the standard 30 calendar days. 

You will need to find out what your specific sector or company’s collective agreement is. There is a possibility that your sector or company has mandatory summer vacations for the month of August and in that case, you can choose vacation dates, but only within this month.

Your work contract 

Lastly, you will need to consult your individual contract which you signed with the company when you were hired.  As well as the minimum conditions set out in the Workers’ Statute, your contract sets out your particular agreement with your employer in terms of holiday duration, the work calendar and other details.

Therefore, you should state in your contract whether you have to take your holidays during August, or if you’re free to take them at other times of the year.

If after consulting these three sets of regulations and there are still in doubt or in disagreement with your company about vacations, such as having to take them during the month of August, you should consult a lawyer specialising in labor law. They should be able to give you an answer specific to your situation.  

Can I appeal or disagree and what are the consequences? 

To appeal or express disagreement with what is proposed by the company, there is a period of 20 business days from when the vacation schedule is sent out, after which time you don’t have the right to show that you disagree.  

Companies can proceed to disciplinary dismissals due to abandonment of the job if you decide to take vacations that have not been granted or agreed upon with your employer. To avoid this type of problem, always make sure you have a record in writing of your request for vacation time and subsequent approval by the company.

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