Lagom: the secret to writing a CV in Sweden

Nana

Written by Nana

10 Jan 2024

Sweden is the land of lagom –not too much, not too little, just where balance reigns supreme. It’s not just a word, it’s a way of life! And when it comes to crafting a CV (Curriculum Vitae) here, forget the usual tone of LinkedIn-bragging because you need to embrace the lagom vibe too. It is just as important as showcasing your skills and experiences.

Sorry, this CV is not lagom. //GIF: The Office GIPHY

As I am beginning to look for some student jobs, I made an appointment with my university’s Career Center. Jönköping University offers free sessions for receiving comments on your cover letter and resume. And just like that, based on that consulting session, here is a little guide to creating a standout CV in Sweden that reflects the essence of lagom. Yes, go get that job!

Just the essentials, tack!
Think of it as assembling IKEA furniture—neat, organized, and without any unnecessary frills. Don’t pour in everything, stick to the essentials relevant to the job you seek. Also, it is very important to keep it to only one page. Putting links of your published works or portfolio or social media accounts that can showcase your expertise (not the private accounts, pls!✌️) is also crucial to keep your CV short!

A dash of modesty
Numbers speak louder than words, but let’s keep it humble, shall we? Highlight your achievements with a sprinkle of facts in a modest manner. Instead of grandiose claims, quantify your accomplishments with tangible figures or percentages, demonstrating your impact with real examples and easy to understand descriptions. 

Explain but not too much
In your profile summary, it’s nice to also write about your aspirations or what you are looking for in a job. Also, give straightforward details about your education and work experience. Especially when you did your previous study outside Sweden, you need to mention some of the courses you took or your research topic, to give a clear idea about your background competence.  

Clean & Scandi-chic
I know this is very tempting, but your CV shouldn’t resemble a flashy ABBA outfit🕺. Keep the design clean with simple fonts, clear headings, and a touch of minimalist elegance. Maintain consistency in formatting, font styles, and bullet points. It signifies attention to detail, a quality highly regarded in Swedish work culture. 

Sorry this is also not lagom. //GIF: Giphy Site Resume

Several examples of do’s and don’ts

🙅‍♀️ Braggy version: “Revolutionized the marketing strategy, leading to an unprecedented 200% increase in sales.”
Lagom version: “Contributed to enhancing the marketing strategy, resulting in a notable increase in sales performance.”
Explanation: While the achievement is impressive, the lagom version focuses on the contribution without overstating the impact. It maintains the essence of success without being overly assertive.

🙅‍♂️ Overselling version: “Master of all trades, possessing expertise in every aspect of the job.”
Lagom version: “Proficient in various job-related skills, continuously seeking opportunities for growth.”
Explanation: It is better to acknowledge proficiency without claiming mastery in every aspect. It reflects a willingness to learn and improve—a humble approach.

🙅 Exaggerated version: “Transformed the team into a powerhouse, tackling challenges with unparalleled skill.”
Lagom version: “Contributed to team growth and competitiveness, fostering a collaborative environment.”
Explanation: The lagom version highlights the positive impact without exaggerating superiority. It emphasizes teamwork and collaboration.

Credits: Margareta Bloom Sandebäck/imagebank.sweden.se

Wrapping up
Crafting a CV in Sweden isn’t just about qualifications; it’s about presenting yourself with the perfect balance of confidence and modesty. Embrace the lagom spirit, and your CV will exude just the right amount of flair, setting you apart with that uniquely Swedish touch.

So, take a fika break, channel your inner lagom, and let your CV do the talking. I wish you luck for your job seeking experience in Sweden!

Nana

Written by Nana

10 Jan 2024