Six ways to improve your chances of finding a job in Norway
Regardless of whether you just moved to the country or are already living in Norway and want to change positions, job hunting can be challenging. The Local has compiled a list of six tips to help you navigate the process and improve your odds of landing a job.
Landing a job as an international worker in Norway can be difficult, especially if your occupation isn't in high demand.
While there is no failsafe method for securing a job in Norway, there are some things that you can do to boost your chances of finding work.
In this article, we will go through tips from Norwegian job market experts, educational institutions, and recruitment companies that will come in handy for any new job seeker.
1. Make sure that your CV and cover letter fit the standards and expectations of Norwegian employers and recruiters
First things first, don't just assume that a resume or cover letter template from another country is a good cultural fit for the Norwegian job market.
As workplace experts such as Karin Ellis point out, you need to make sure that your CV (and cover letter) includes all the information that Norwegian employers expect to find.
A good way to make sure you're checking all the boxes is to find Norwegian CV and cover letter templates online and then follow their layout, design, formatting, and overall structure.
Don't forget to customise your CV and cover letter for each application you send out, as this will increase your prospects of meeting the requirements of the posted job advert.
2. The importance of a LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is widely used (and loved) in Norway. That means there's quite a high chance that an interested employer or recruiter will check out your LinkedIn page – before you even get the opportunity to introduce yourself in an interview.
Therefore, make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date. Ideally, it should showcase your work experience and provide more detail on the projects you have worked on in the past. Also, it is recommended to have a professional photograph of yourself on your profile.
You can also use LinkedIn to follow the companies you'd like to work for, as a lot of companies post job openings on LinkedIn before resorting to other, more traditional vacancy platforms.
You can also use LinkedIn to see if someone from your network works at your preferred employer in Norway. If that is the case, you can start by contacting them and asking if any opportunities might be a good fit.
Pssst! Some Norwegian industries are more present on LinkedIn than others. For example, just having an active LinkedIn profile in Norway as a developer in the IT industry will likely get you several messages and/or offers from recruiters per week. That isn't necessarily the case with other occupations which aren't in high demand.
3. Avoiding cultural faux pas
Make sure you're familiar with Norwegian workplace culture. Don't "oversell" yourself in your CV or interviews, as Norwegian employers tend to view overconfidence as an indicator of insincerity and a lack of integrity.
Try to establish your credentials as a team player and focus on the projects and work experience rather than on personal achievements.
Furthermore, once you actually get an interview, make sure you have a few good questions prepared to ask your potential employer during the call or meeting. Not having any questions is seen as a sign of low interest and motivation, so be proactive and prepare your questions in advance.
Remember to be sincere about your Norwegian language skills in your application. If you had someone else translate your CV or cover letter into Norwegian, your prospective employer might feel cheated or manipulated if you end up displaying a lower level of fluency down the road.
That brings us to our fourth point – mastery of the Norwegian language.
4. Never stop working on your Norwegian language skills
Unless you work in a very limited number of industries that consist almost exclusively of international workers and use English as their day-to-day operational language, you will need Norwegian to get by.
As a rule of thumb, expect most jobs to require fluent knowledge of the Norwegian language (especially in the Norwegian public sector).
Even in the IT sector or among NGOs, where employers tend to be more flexible when it comes to language, you will need Norwegian to socialise outside working hours and further develop your network in the country.
Invest in your language skills, as being fluent in Norwegian is seen as a major advantage in almost all workplaces (at the end of the day, you're moving to or living in Norway, so mastering the language will also provide you with benefits when it comes to developing your social circle and meeting the locals).
Learning the language will increase your options of landing a job and also pave the way to better salaries.
You can find out more about affordable ways of learning Norwegian in our article, available here.
5. Consider working as a temp
Finding a full-time job in Norway usually takes work and effort. You will likely have to invest a lot of time and effort in outreach to employers, developing skills and competencies, and learning Norwegian.
As many a job forum in Norway points out, the country has a lot of job seekers with higher education qualifications but fewer with actual work experience.
That makes temporary jobs easier to land, and – as the Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet) points out – holding down a job as a temp can be a great way of developing a network in Norway and getting the coveted experience while you continue looking for a full-time job.
So, if you have the time and means to consider a temporary job – go for it! Norwegian employers are likely to look favourably at work experience stemming from such positions (as long as the job is in Norway, that is).
6. Be proactive
Once you find a job opening that fits your profile and preferences, it's a good idea to contact the relevant person in the company and try to find out more information about the job opening.
By doing so, you'll be able to get a better insight into the requirement for the job, which will, in turn, allow you to customise your CV and cover letter to better fit the position – giving you a competitive edge compared to other applicants.
Also, note that a lot of job openings in Norway end up being filled by people who don't exactly meet the requirements stated in the job ads. That means you should apply even if you're not an exact fit for the position. Use common sense – if you meet most of the key criteria, it might be worth taking a shot at applying.
Another widely recommended strategy is to reach out to other international workers who have successfully found work in Norway – especially if they work in your industry or a sector related to your industry.
Make the most out of your network – your contacts will usually be more than glad to share their experience on how they succeeded in finding a job; they might even recommend you to their company's HR team or point you in the right direction.
Just make sure that you don't come off as insincere, approach people transparently, and let them know that you're trying to learn more about the process.