Tips for finding an English speaking job in Norway
Looking for a job in Norway and have yet to perfect your Norwegian? Don’t stress. Yes, not knowing the native language makes the job pool admittedly a lot smaller. But that doesn’t mean it is impossible. Here are our tips on how to find an English speaking job in Norway.
If you are currently looking for or planning on looking for employment in Norway, the most popular website to find available jobs is Finn.no. Unfortunately, Finn does not offer an English version of its site, but if you type in English or the language you speak in the search heading, possible job openings, including your search word, can appear.
Other popular sites include Arbeidsplassen.no. and glassdoor.no. In addition, social media can work as a great tool in the job-hunting process. You yourself can let the masses know you are looking for a job. One can also find English job-specific pages such as this one or this one on Facebook.
You may also want to consider making/revamping your LinkedIn account before starting the job hunt for skilled positions. Many of the larger English-speaking international companies in Norway outsource their staffing needs to local agencies to help recruit desirable candidates. And many of these agencies use LinkedIn in the hunt to find the right person.
Network Network Network
Culturally speaking, Norwegians aren't typically chatty folk. But they are helpful. Especially when they see you're trying hard to find work. Talk to your neighbours. If you live in an apartment, make a sign or share your resume on the notice board in the common areas. Don't be afraid to casually mention to the shopkeepers in your area that you are looking for work.
It's all about putting the word out. If you don't want to let everyone in your neighbourhood know you're looking for work, consider getting in contact with staffing agencies like Jobzone, TopTemp, and Personal Huset to help you find employment.
Another tip would be to make use of expat groups. Posting in the group asking for a job may not sit well with its members, but there are other things you can ask. Simply reaching out and asking if anyone has a job in your preferred field in Norway would be a start. Asking members about their own experiences in finding an English speaking job could also provide valuable insight.
Again, it is essential to remind yourself that you may not be able to apply to all the jobs you want to if you're still a newbie with the Norwegian language. The manager of southern Norway's job recruitment and hiring agency JobZone, Ulf Singstad, told The Local that around 50 percent of the jobs listed on JobZone's website have a requirement for speaking Norwegian.
If you have the choice, settle where the tourists are
Areas with a higher density of tourists are more prone to accept workers who don't speak Norwegian. The popular tourist destination Lofoten, for example. Located in the North of Norway, the area is highly dependent on international visitors to support their economy. English is the dominant language used to communicate with foreigners. Food menus are printed in both Norwegian and English, and it would be surprising not to be greeted in English at a restaurant in Lofoten.
The country's capital, Oslo, is also rich with tourism-related jobs and home to many international companies where English is the working language.
"The south of Norway has many export jobs that use English as the working language," Singstad said.
If bigger city life isn't your style, you can try looking for seasonal work in smaller mountain towns that need extra staffing during the winter months.
If you can't find a job on land
Consider volunteering in the meantime
Volunteering is a great way to spend your time and is super beneficial in growing your network in Norway. In addition, the connections and experience you will get while volunteering in this country can help your resume stand out against the competition.
The same goes for club sports and hobbies. Why not use the extra time you have doing what you love and increasing your chances of meeting like-minded individuals.
What types of jobs are most available to me?
Specific industries will be more likely to consider English speaking candidates.
Singstad recommends jobs within warehouse facilities.
"There are a lot of workers hired that cannot speak Norwegian, and there are also some that don't speak English in warehouses," adding that he recommends "looking for jobs that don't require a lot of verbal exchanges."
That could include jobs within the construction, hospitality, and tourist industries, where contact with the customer is not a part of the job, such as a chef or dishwasher.
While oil industry jobs weren't as prevalent as they once were in Norway, the industry appears to be showing signs of recovery and growth. And as many of the oil companies are international, English is the working language.
English speaking positions within big tech and software firms are also worth checking out if you have the right qualifications. Here is a list of the top software companies based in Oslo.
You can also consider starting your own business or work as a freelancer. With the worldwide web readily available to take advantage of, one can easily work with companies or clients based outside of Norway.
Useful tips and vocabulary
A helpful reminder. The Local also has an English Language job board you should check often, here.
bemanning bureau - staffing agency
Idrettsklubb - sports club
Jobbsøker - job seeker
Søknadsfrist - application deadline