Swedish CV or Resume Writing: Proven Tips & Tricks


Tobias Sjöström

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In Sweden, just like anywhere else, a well-structured and compelling CV is your ticket to capturing the attention of potential employers. It’s your first chance to make a great impression and pique their interest in your skills and experiences. However, it’s important to note that Swedish CVs have their unique characteristics and formats that can significantly enhance your chances of landing that dream job.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essentials of creating a CV that showcases your qualifications and achievements and resonates with Swedish employers. We’ll delve into the specifics of what makes a CV ‘Swedish’, from its layout and content to the subtle cultural elements that make you stand out.

Key Takeaways

  • Structure is Key: A well-structured CV, clearly presenting your qualifications and experiences, is highly valued in Sweden.
  • Keep it Concise and Engaging: Aim for a concise, engaging CV that provides a comprehensive overview of your professional journey.
  • Professional References Matter: Including professional references can boost your credibility by showcasing your positive relationships and successful collaborations.
  • Choose the Right Font, Images, and Content: Opt for professional fonts and appropriate images, and tailor the content to highlight relevant skills and experiences for the job.

What Should a Typical Swedish CV Include?

Let’s delve into the specifics of what a typical Swedish CV should include. Remember, your CV is more than just a document; it’s a story of your professional journey, and it’s crucial to tell it in a way that resonates with your potential employer.

Alignment with the Job Role

One of the first steps in crafting an effective CV is to ensure that your skills and experiences align with the job role you’re applying for. It’s not enough to list your qualifications; you need to demonstrate how these qualifications make you the perfect fit for the role. Take the time to explain why you’re the right person for the job and what unique value you can bring to the company.

Unique Selling Point

In a competitive job market, it’s essential to stand out from the crowd. What makes you different from other candidates with similar qualifications? Perhaps it’s your multicultural background, your language skills, or your ability to solve problems creatively. Whatever it is, make sure to highlight it in your CV.

Professional Mannerisms

Your CV should reflect your professionalism. This includes not only your qualifications and experiences but also your work ethics and attitude. Swedish employers value candidates who are confident, well-read, and skilled, especially for demanding job roles.

Relevant Experiences

Highlight the projects you’ve worked on and how these experiences relate to the job you’re applying for. For instance, if you’re applying for a project management role, you might want to mention the projects you’ve successfully managed, the challenges you’ve overcome, and the results you’ve achieved.

What CV Format is Widely Accepted in Sweden?

Understanding the preferred CV format in Sweden can significantly increase your chances of making a positive impression. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Length and Layout: Unless you have a long and complex career history, your Swedish CV should ideally not exceed two pages. It should be clear and easy to read, with distinct sections for your personal details, professional experiences, education, skills, and references. Fonts like Helvetica, Times New Roman, and Garamond are generally well-received due to their readability.
  • Prioritize Important Information: The first page of your CV should include the most important and compelling information about you. Remember, hiring managers often have to go through numerous CVs, so you want to capture their attention right from the start. 
  • Be Concise and Relevant: Keep your descriptions short and to the point. Focus on the aspects of your experience that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for. If your employer asks for more details during the interview, that’s your opportunity to elaborate on your experiences and achievements.
  • Titles and Grades: In Sweden, titles and grades are not as important as they might be in other countries, unless they are required for specific jobs like doctors, architects, or engineers. Most Swedish employers are more interested in your skills, experiences, and cultural fit than your formal titles.
  • Language: If you’re writing your CV in English, make sure it’s flawless. If you’re comfortable with Swedish, you might consider writing your CV in Swedish, as it could give you an edge over other candidates. However, always ensure the language you use matches the language of the job advertisement.

The Significance of Emphasizing Your Adaptability to Swedish Culture

When applying for jobs in Sweden, showcasing your understanding and openness to Swedish culture can significantly enhance your appeal to potential employers. Here’s why:

  • Cultural Fit: Swedish employers often look for candidates who will mesh well with their existing team and company culture. Demonstrating your adaptability and willingness to embrace Swedish customs and work practices can make you a more attractive candidate.
  • Teamwork and Group Work: In Swedish society, teamwork and collaboration are highly valued. Highlighting experiences where you’ve successfully worked as part of a team can show potential employers that you’re capable of contributing to a positive and productive work environment.
  • Respect for Swedish Culture: While you don’t need to become an expert in all things Swedish, showing respect and appreciation for Swedish culture can go a long way. This could be as simple as learning a few basic Swedish phrases or familiarizing yourself with Swedish customs and traditions.

Remember, your goal is to show potential employers that you’re not only qualified for the job, but also a great fit for their team and company culture. By highlighting your openness to Swedish culture, you’ll be able to present yourself as a well-rounded candidate who’s ready to contribute to a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Photo or No Photo

The question of whether to include a photo on your CV can be a tricky one, as practices vary from country to country. In Sweden, it’s not uncommon to include a photo, but it’s not a strict requirement either.

If you decide to include a photo, it should be a professional one where you appear approachable and pleasant. The photo should be appropriate for the job you’re applying for. For instance, a formal photo might be suitable for a corporate role, while a more casual photo that shows a bit of your personality might be better for a creative role.

It’s also important to invest in a high-quality photo, as the quality can reflect your professionalism. Ultimately, the decision to include a photo is up to you. If you feel that a photo will enhance your CV and help convey your professional image, go for it. If not, it’s perfectly fine to leave it out. The most important thing is that your CV showcases your skills, experiences, and suitability for the job.

Do You Need to Shorten Your Name for Your Swedish CV?

When it comes to names on a CV, the most important thing is clarity. In Sweden, it’s common for people to use shortened versions of their names or nicknames, especially if their full names are long or difficult to pronounce. If your name is particularly long or challenging for Swedes to pronounce, you might consider using a shortened version or a nickname on your CV. This can make it easier for potential employers to remember and pronounce your name, which can help you stand out in their minds.

However, if you decide to use a shortened name or a nickname, be consistent. Use the same name when you’re communicating with potential employers, whether it’s in emails, phone calls, or interviews. This can help avoid confusion and ensure that employers remember you. Ultimately, the decision to shorten your name or use a nickname is a personal one. If you’re comfortable with your full name and don’t feel the need to shorten it, that’s perfectly fine. What matters most is that you feel comfortable with the name you choose and that it represents you well.

Common Resume Mistakes to Avoid

Even the most experienced professionals can make mistakes when crafting their CVs. Being aware of these common pitfalls can help you avoid them and present a flawless CV to potential employers. Here’s what you need to watch out for:

  • Grammatical Errors: Your CV should be free of grammatical errors and typos. These can distract the reader and may create an impression of carelessness. Always proofread your CV multiple times, and consider using a grammar checking tool or asking a friend to review it.
  • Irrelevant Information: Every piece of information on your CV should serve the purpose of showing why you’re the right candidate for the job. Avoid including irrelevant details that don’t contribute to this goal. Focus on your relevant skills, experiences, and achievements.
  • Inconsistencies: Ensure that your CV is consistent in terms of formatting, style, and language. Inconsistencies can make your CV look unprofessional and may confuse the reader.
  • Lack of Specifics: Be specific about your achievements and experiences. Instead of saying that you “improved sales”, say that you “increased sales by 20% over six months”. Specifics can make your achievements more tangible and impressive.
  • Neglecting the Cover Letter: A cover letter is your opportunity to introduce yourself and explain why you’re interested in the job. Don’t neglect this important part of your application. Tailor your cover letter to each job you apply for, highlighting how your skills and experiences make you a great fit for the role.

You might also be interested in this: Minimum Wage in Sweden Explained


What is a standard CV format in Sweden?

The standard Swedish CV format is clear and concise, typically not exceeding two pages. It includes distinct sections for personal details, professional experiences, education, skills, and references. The most important and compelling information should be on the first page.

Is a CV the same as a resume in Europe?

In Europe, a CV is similar to a resume in the U.S., but it’s often more detailed and can be longer. The term “CV” is commonly used across Europe, while “resume” is more frequently used in the U.S.

What is the best format for a resume in Sweden?

The best format for a resume in Sweden is one that is well-structured, concise, and tailored to the job you’re applying for. It should highlight your relevant skills and experiences, and may optionally include a professional photo. The language should match the language of the job advertisement.

Relevant articles and studies

  1. Job applications: Straight to the top of the pile by Karen H. Kaplan. This article discusses the distinctions between a lengthy, technical CV and a snappy resume, which can make a big difference in a job search.
  2. Language skills and homophilous hiring discrimination: Evidence from gender and racially differentiated applications by Anthony Edo, N. Jacquemet, and Constantine Yannelis. This paper investigates the importance of ethnic homophily in the hiring discrimination process, which might provide insights into how language skills are perceived in the hiring process.

ABOUT Tobias Sjöström

Tobias brings much experience from his time at one of Sweden’s largest banking institutions. He’s not just our lead financial guide; he’s also an avid traveler who understands the challenges expats face.

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