It’s STARK-dagen which is the career day at University of Borås. There are around 90 companies present at the career fair this year, a perfect opportunity to search for potential future employers and mingle with the company representatives across various areas and sectors. Career fair is not merely about getting a job or an internship – it is also about building the social network, making new contacts as well as seeking research or thesis collaborations with the companies of interest.
What about international students and those who do not speak Swedish? Well, there are plenty of career options and opportunities for international students and here’s why.
- Many companies in Sweden adopt English as the corporate language. For instance, companies such as IKEA, H&M, Vattenfall, Ericsson, AstraZeneca, Tetra Pak and many more. Swedish language may be a bonus but not mandatory.
- There are many Swedish companies with global operations. At the career fair, I spoke with several Swedish companies with presence within Scandinavia. Even though Swedish is the main corporate language, I was told that my background, coming from Asia, is very relevant as the sourcing/buying department and main part of the supply chain reside in Asia. The ability to speak the Asian language couple with an understanding of the Swedish culture attained through my studies in Sweden are highly desirable.
- Many Swedish companies operate internationally and they also offer several job opportunities outside Sweden. This is ideal for students who like to gain international work experiences or perhaps return to their home country for work.
- Some companies are expanding globally and they are searching for international candidates, base in Sweden, with the local know-how from the various regions.
- Great opportunity for career networking. The contacts you made can become your future colleagues, clients or partners. It happened that one of my Swedish contacts which I got to know during my studies in Lund university turned out to my client when I was working in Singapore last year.
- Several companies are also seeking students for summer jobs. It is a good way to gain work experience during the term break.
Be prepared. Here a a few preparation tips to get you ready for the career exhibition.
- Get in touch with the career services/career counselling in your university for useful tips and advice.
- Ensure that your CV is updated. Get some CV feedback from the university career counselor.
- Know which companies are present. Read up and find out more about the companies of your interest.
- Bring along several copies of your CV. Most HR representatives are present and many requested for the CV on the spot.
- Be proactive. Have a little chat – give a quick introduction about yourself and highlight your relevant skills for the position you are interested in.
- Try to avoid the peak hours such as the lunchtime crowd and queue. This allows the staff to have more conversation time with you.
- Don’t forget to ask for thesis/research collaboration if you are interested. Be ready to answer and describe the research area or topic. It’s also useful to ask for the relevant contacts of the department (supply chain /design /marketing /IT..) that is specific to your research area.
Lastly, enjoy yourself and bring home some goodie bags! I’ve got umbrella, water bottle, noodle, lots of stationery, reflectors (essential for dark winter), note pads, goodies … no need to buy anymore stationery for the rest of the semester.