How to find work when you’re new to a city

Some people move abroad for an irresistible job offer. But if you decide to settle in a new country for love or adventure, finding work can all too quickly become your biggest source of stress.

How to find work when you’re new to a city
Photo: Getty Images

Many people who move don’t know anybody in their new city and can say nothing more than ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in the local language. It’s easy to become disheartened – and even more so when Covid-19 restrictions make face-to-face networking impossible.

The Local, in partnership with Invest Stockholm, offers a simple guide to some of the key steps you can take to boost your job prospects in your adopted home, wherever you are. 

Curious about Stockholm? Find out more about career opportunities in the Swedish capital

Digital networking: be confident in what you can offer

You’re in an exciting new European city. But you’ve barely left home for weeks due to the pandemic and you don’t know how or where to begin your job search. 

All is not lost. The opportunities for digital networking are greater than ever. Now is the ideal time to make new connections online – and the contacts, skills and confidence you develop could prove vital long after the pandemic is over.

Networking – in person or online – can be a “scary” process, says Shaena Harrison, Executive Assistant to the Director at LinkedIn Nordics. But you should take confidence from your willingness to switch country in the first place, Harrison advises. Finding a supportive ‘team-mate’ can also be vital to keeping you going.

“We’re ready for adventure when we move abroad, so we shouldn’t be afraid to tap someone on the shoulder – or to do the digital equivalent,” Harrison says. “With physical events, you can take a ‘wing person’. Even if you’re networking digitally, you could find someone to work with as a team.

“The most important thing is to ask yourself ‘why do I want to reach out to these people?’ Frame the answer in terms of what you can offer, rather than what you’re looking for.” To learn more about the Stockholm approach to networking, click here.

Photo: Shaena Harrison

The tools to open up opportunities

So, what tools can you use to build your digital connections? Social media is likely to be key, of course, whether your preference is Facebook, Twitter, a younger rival or a dedicated professional network like LinkedIn.

Last year LinkedIn introduced an “Open to Work” setting. This means you can easily show on your profile page that you’re job-hunting – sharing this either with recruiters only or with all members. Those able and willing to pay a monthly subscription for LinkedIn Premium can also gain access to LinkedIn Learning, which offers a vast range of courses to help users upskill or reskill. 

If you’re not sure what you want to do next, many websites and apps offer personality tests that will offer quick advice on your aptitude for different careers. And don’t forget to Google yourself and look at the results with the critical eye of an employer!

What if you’re moving because your spouse or partner has landed a new job? Many major cities offer support networks for people in this situation, so it’s worth doing a search. If this applies to you and you’re new in Stockholm, click here to find out how the non-profit Stockholm Dual Career Network could help you.

Find out the tips and tricks that could help you land a top job in Stockholm

Employment sites 

Major international sites with listings across industries include Monster, Indeed and Glassdoor (where you’ll also find reviews of companies by current or previous employees). Want to focus on jobs where you can work in English? The Local’s job site is Europe’s foremost hub for English-language jobs, reaching 50,000 jobseekers across Europe every week.

Keen to impress with your language skills and international experience? You could try Europe Language Jobs, which specialises in matching multilingual candidates with multinational companies and has job offers in more than 40 languages.

You may also want to look at job listings and support from public employment agencies. EURES is an EU agency set up specifically to help jobseekers find work and employers to recruit across Europe. It aims to ensure career opportunities for European citizens aren’t held back by issues such as language barriers, bureaucratic challenges, and local employment laws.

On the site, you’ll find jobs from public employment agencies in EU and EEA countries, as well as Switzerland, and as of January 2021, more than 2.3 million jobs are listed. Companies in Germany place the most adverts, followed by the Netherlands and France.

You’ll find a wide range of job sites to search wherever you are. But sometimes the choice can prove confusing. Narrowing the search by focusing on specialist sites related to your industry may work for some. Stack Overflow, for example, is one of the world’s largest communities for programmers.

Finding work in Stockholm

Stockholm has an exciting start-up scene and is recognised as one of the most innovative cities in the world. Finding a job can be tricky, however, if you move to the city without an offer.

You’ll need to speak Swedish for most jobs advertised in Stockholm. Swedish isn’t required in many start-ups and large international companies where English is preferred, however. One site specifically for English-speaking jobseekers is, which also includes professional jobs in other parts of Sweden and useful tips for English-speaking job-hunters. Many jobs with start-ups appear in forums and networks, including and The Hub.

If you’re on Twitter, follow @movetostockholm and the activity on the hashtag #movetostockholm to hear about the latest opportunities. You could also join Invest Stockholm’s Move to Stockholm group on LinkedIn for work opportunities, practical advice on settling in, and to make new connections.

The Swedish Migration Agency and the Public Employment Agency regularly put together a labour shortage list (in Swedish) of occupations in high demand. If you’re offered a job on the list, you can then apply for a work permit from Sweden without following the usual requirement to apply from your home country.

Finally, what if you’re ready to start your own business? It’s straightforward in Stockholm, especially if you choose to register as a “sole trader”. Could this be the time to challenge yourself by going it alone as a freelancer?

Get the official advice on how to go about finding a job in Stockholm – or alternatively read more about your options for starting your own company in the city.

For members


Ask the expert: How to write the perfect French CV

If you want to work in France you will probably need a French CV - and the format might be different to what you're used to. We spoke to a recruitment expert to find out how to write one properly.

Ask the expert: How to write the perfect French CV

If you are applying for a job with a French business, chances are you will have to submit a CV. 

Obviously this should be written in French, and there are some thing things required to make it attractive to a French employer. 

“It sounds obvious but for most jobs, you will need to write your CV in perfect French, without errors,” said Antoine Lecoq, managing director of Page Group, a recruitment agency with dozens of branches in France. 

If you can do that, then as a foreigner in France, you might even have certain advantages on the job market. 

What information do I need?

A lot of the information you should include on a CV is obvious, and the same in more or less every country around the world: contact details, education and training, work experience, skills, languages, contact details etc. 

But there are some key differences too. For example, you are expected to list your address on the CV. 

  • Appear ready to work in France

Lecoq explained that if you don’t currently live in France but are applying for a job here, you should list a French postal address (of a friend or family member for example) and French telephone number.  

“Employers need to understand if they have someone ready to work quickly or not. If the CV is written in French, has a French address, or explains that you can come to France easily, that will make it easier,” he said. 

He said that foreigners in France should specify on their CV whether they have the right to work here (through an existing visa or carte de séjour) or will need their future employer to sponsor a work permit or visa. There is no need to specify your nationality unless it is relevant to the job

Outside of the CV writing progress, those applying for high level jobs should switch their LinkedIn page into French and connect with other French people. 

“You should really push the social networks,” said Lecoq. 

  • Photo

Until recently, it was commonplace to include a photo on CVs in France, but this is beginning to change. 

“By tradition, there have often been photos. I think if there isn’t a photo, it won’t stop you from getting a job, but if you do choose to have one, make sure it is professional – not a snapshot of you in the garden or on holiday,” said Lecoq. 

Other pieces of information traditionally included in French CVs but now increasingly left out are marital status and date of birth. You are not obliged to include these details. 

What should the CV look like? 

Once completed your CV should look something like this;

A French CV

An example of the French CV format. (Source: The Local)

From top to bottom, the sections should appear as following: name, education and training, key skills, professional experience. Within each of these sections, relevant qualifications should be listed newest to oldest. 

“If your experiences don’t follow any kind of chronology, your CV will not be readable to a French employer,” said Lecoq, who also insisted that the order of the sections is not too important – as long as the information is clear. 

“When you are junior, you emphasise your education closer to the top, but once you have 15-20 years of experience, you can put education at the end,” he said. 

You can make use of a sidebar to include other relevant information like contact details (which can also be listed clearly at the top if you prefer), languages, IT skills, volunteering experience and hobbies. 

Ideally, your CV should be no longer than one page but for some executive management positions, two or three pages would be considered appropriate. In either case, keep your language clear, ordered and succinct. 

There are plenty of websites online where you can get find French CV templates for free. Just search for ‘cv français à télécharger’. 

Lettre de motivation 

Many jobs will require you to send a lettre de motivation, explaining why you are applying for the job. 

The Page Group, of which Page Personnel is a part, have listed a number of tips for acing this. 

It is important to write a snappy introduction – your future employer will judge you based on the first few lines. Mention the name of the job position you are applying for and what grabbed your attention in the job advertisement. 

Explain why you are well qualified for the job, giving examples of when you have proved you have the required skills. 

Avoid repeating yourself or simply re-write your CV in paragraph format. 

Avoid waffling – keep your letter clear, concise and to the point. 

Job interviews 

Should you be asked to interview for the position, it is best to practice answering standard job interview questions in French beforehand. 

You will likely be asked about your motivation for applying to the position, past experience and any gaps in your CV. 

In France, unlike in many anglophone countries, many employers are suspicious of candidates who have changed sector repeatedly through their career. 

“French employers will try to understand the coherence of someone’s professional journeys. In the interview, you must be prepared to explain that orally,” said Lecoq. 

Other tips 

It may be worth submitting your CV to a recruitment agency such as the Page Group

“In some anglophone countries, 80-90 percent of recruitment is outsourced, meaning that you have to go through recruitment agencies. It is not the case in France. Here you can send applications directly to businesses themselves, but it helps if you also go through recruitment agencies,” he said. 

“The particular interest for foreigners in applying via a recruitment agency is that you can be accompanied in your job search. You will have feedback on how to frame your previous experience and how to re-do your CV.” 

Besides getting the professionals involved, there are some other simple steps you can take to increase your odds of getting your dream job. 

  • Ask a native French speaker to check your spelling and grammar before submitting your CV
  • Don’t lie – you will likely be rumbled and humiliated during your job interview;
  • Don’t list references – instead, put a note indicating that these are available on request: des références peuvent être fournies sur demande
  • Learn French. 

Key vocabulary 

Postuler à un emploi – to apply for a job

Faire acte de candidature à un emploi – to apply for a job

Un CV – a CV (pronounced say-vay) 

Une lettre de motivation – a cover letter

Une candidature – an application 

Une candidature à un stage – an application for an internship 

État civil et coordonnées – personal and contact details

Expérience professionnelle – professional experience

Éducation – education

Formation – training 

Centres d’intérêt – hobbies

Baccalauréat – the high-school leavers qualification, roughly equivalent to A-levels or SATs

Licence de/d’ – Bachelor’s degree in

Master de/d’ – Master degree in 

Doctorat de/d’ – Doctorate/PHD in 

Langue maternelle – native language

Courant – fluent