You want a job in Norway? Come network

Norway is known for high salaries and a good working environment, so no wonder it’s a popular country to work in. Nils-Henrik Stokke, from Nettverk Stavanger, says that unless you have killer qualifications, you have to be in the country to get a job.

You want a job in Norway? Come network
Networkers at one of Nils-Henrik Stokke's Mixer evenings - Photo: Andrea Roche/Nettverk Stavanger
If you don’t live in Norway, and don’t have any connection to Norway, you have to have a relevant degree and some years of experience to be of interest to Norwegian companies.  
The biggest skills shortages are in healthcare, IT and Communications and Oil and Gas, according to Adil Osmani, chief executive of, a website that aggregates classifieds from all portals and employers in Norway. 
If you have qualifications in these or other areas, and you would like to apply to jobs in Norway, there are a few things worth bearing in mind. 
— Norwegian companies often get many applicants from abroad, so it’s very important to stand out from the rest. Be sure to clearly state your education and relevant experience, if they have to read pages to see if you're qualified or not, they will most likely discard your CV, even though you might have been the perfect candidate. 
— In your application, state when you will be in Norway the next time, or how quickly you can get here for a face-to-face interview. If you can’t travel here for an interview, let them know that you are open for a conference call, for example via Skype. 
— Even though there is a shortage of skilled workers in Norway, employers can still be a bit reluctant taking on new staff, especially expats. Some of this is due to the work regulations in Norway, where the employees are highly protected. In those cases, it is best to go via an agency on a contract basis. If you can prove your skills and knowledge to an agency or a headhunter, they can in many cases be a door-opener for you. They know the local market and might have options for you that are not listed.
— You would expect language to be a barrier, but in Norway, especially in the larger companies, the working language is in many cases English. In the oil and gas companies English is more the rule than the exception. So it is definitely not a deal breaker if you don’t speak Norwegian, but if you want to impress or make your candidacy more attractive, you might want to show a plan on how you will learn the language.
If you don’t have a degree or a specific knowledge that the employers are looking for, it is still possible to get a job. But you have to actually be in Norway.
My organisation, Nettverk Stavanger, hosts a big networking evening called Mixer,  attracting close to 400 participants every time, from Denmark, UK, Portugal, Belgium and other countries.
People often travel to Stavanger just to attend these events. All of the people I know who actually travelled here to attend my networking event have ended up with a job in the region.

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