But I have an interview on Friday for a kindergarten assistant position. Wish me luck! 9 months ago
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How I did it: I sent my CV to every place I was even remotely qualified to work at, even if they weren't advertising any openings. When jobs were listed I applied for them and followed up relentlessly on my applications. I spent two to four hours every day looking for job postings, drafting application letters, and sending out cv's. Read how I did it… 9 months ago
If I were looking for a job as a teacher in the States, I would go to the local school district and give them my CV. I’d ask about individual schools that have openings, sure, but the hiring office is centralized. Maybe this is a good thing. Definitely from the perspective of a person looking for work it is a convenience.
But here, each school does its own hiring. And if there are several schools tightly associated with separate but near-by locations, still each school does its own hiring. So I’ve been making lots and lots of phone calls Whew – it’s exhausting.
Last week I came to the end of the list of schools that I had gathered up. I’d contacted them all, and sent them all my CV, whether then needed an English teacher or not. Can’t hurt, right? I had gathered this list of schools by googling various combinations of Swedish words to mean “adult school”; there are several different ways to say this (each corresponding with slightly different types of adult schools).
I was originally contacting high schools but I stopped after I found out that my California credential doesn’t do me any good – these schools are forbidden from hiring someone without a Swedish credential. So the international high schools are the only ones I bothered much with.
But yesterday in a conversation with J I gleaned some new words to use to search for schools which would result in finding websites of schools that are private and therefore not bound by the Swedish-credentialed-teachers-only provision. Now I’ve got a list of 28 new schools to contact. Exhausting, yes, but also exhilarating. Each one is another employment potential.
By the way, I’m dumbfounded by Sweden’s sheer volume of schools. Clearly education is a super-high priority in this country. I think I’ll enjoy the experience of teaching here once I find my school. 10 months ago
Good news: today I received approval for 5 years of residency in Sweden.
Next step – tomorrow morning I’ll go to the immigration office and be photographed for my resident card. (Wish me a good hair day!)
Once I get the residence card I can apply for my person number.
Once I get the number I can be employed.
Lots of layers of bureaucracy, but fortunately Sweden is clear and fast about how to get through the layers. 10 months ago
I just finished a round of phone calls and CV send-outs. Two of the places I called said they may need an English teacher this Autumn, so that’s the best news I’ve heard yet.
And, even better, one of those schools responded to my email with a note about another branch of their school opening in January to serve 500 – 1000 students; he said they will need English teachers at that time, so he’s keeping me in mind for that. January is a ways away, but hope, even that far off, shines bright.
I’m nearly at the end of my calls. I have a few places to follow up with tomorrow (which haven’t been available to answer the phone when I’ve called so far – so if they don’t answer tomorrow then they just get an email without telephone contact first), and then I’m out of leads. Perhaps some new idea will open up soon.
We’re expecting information in the mail within the next day or two from the immigration office, which (hopefully) will be positive in this endeavor. 10 months ago
A farmer doesn’t expect a tomato to appear in his hand the day after he plants a tomato seed, does he?
I have to be patient and perseverant in this job search, and not let my lack of immediate success dissuade me. I’m sowing seeds that will be fruitful in the future.
I quickly found that the sheer volume of schools in this area is daunting, and so the task of contacting them and keeping track of my correspondence progress with each one requires a high level of organization. So I created a chart that allows me to better manage all this information. That already gave me a certain level of peace.
And now I’ve been going through my chart, figuring out which boxes have yet to be ticked, and ticking them one by one.
Still, the best answer I’ve received (though I’ve received it several times) is “we have no need of English teachers now, there are no classes over the summer and we already have our needs met for the autumn, but send in your cv so we can have it on file because sometimes our needs change”. I have a friendly yet professional application letter and (I believe) an impressive CV, so hopefully I’ll stand out as an applicant and I’ll be remembered.
Ah, and the problem of not yet being registered in the Swedish system has finally had some movement. Until last week our application had not yet been processed. This morning when Pancake called the Immigration office they had our names on file and were able to give us a case number – that’s something. We should be getting something in the mail in the next few days. That gives me some hope rather than this abysmal feeling of endless anonymity. (How funny … many people despise the idea of being ‘a number’ ... whereas I’m desperately craving this number status!) 11 months ago
Sometimes I wonder how the world worked before the internet. Truly, what different lives we must have lived!
My job search involves hours and hours on the couch, staring into my laptop. I’m looking for and reading about schools in the area, calling them through skype, sending them my CV via email, and keeping notes about who I’ve contacted and what the result was – all of this is computer-based.
To take a break, I pull up my Swedish language study program and practice … also computer based.
Today I’m back at it – I’ll be researching folkuniversitet and medborgarskolan.
It kinda makes my head hurt by the end of the day, and I’m sure it’s not healthy to have such an intimate relationship with something that plugs in. But really I don’t know how else to effectively carry out this chore. 11 months ago
In Italy I could have worked as much as I wanted. Sometimes I worked much more than I wanted, actually. Even in a time of worldwide economic crisis (perhaps ESPECIALLY in a time of worldwide economic crisis), English instructors get work.
Here in Sweden I’m running up against several challenging factors:
1. People generally already speak English very well. (Though there is still need for English instructors, but it seems that freelance work is out of the question.)
2. I don’t speak functional Swedish yet, and even though people generally speak English very well here, one pretty much has to speak Swedish to be employable.
3. I’ve been here less than a month so far, so I don’t have my paperwork all in order yet. I have no reason to doubt that I’ll be granted residency and receive the all-important PERSON NUMBER, I don’t have said number yet and this makes all the difference.
4. Even though I have extensive teacher training, I’m not qualified to teach in the public school system for this country. So (as of now) I’m not able to work in my specific field (high school).
5. Any chance I might have of getting work as a teacher means (a) the job won’t start until August [I can deal with that] and (b) the hiring process is happening NOW or has already happened.
6. Oh yeah, and there’s a world wide economic crisis.
Fortunately, there are several International schools in town that are less challenging in areas 1, 2, and 4, and that would likely be accommodating or even helpful in area 3. I had an interview with one of them but I didn’t get the job. That was a disappointment, especially because the school is a 4-minute walk from my house. I’ve been communicating with the other schools, and one of them agreed to interview me next week even though they don’t have any need for English teachers … just so they’ll already know me in case any needs arise. I’m very ok with that.
Other than that I’m exploring adult schools (for which challenge number 4 doesn’t apply).
There is one private language school in town called Berlitz. It’s a multinational company, and I expect they’ll be rather like what I experienced while working at WallStreet Institute. That’s fine, I guess, for a start, though I don’t dream of working in that kind of environment for any length of time.
And then there’s the option of going way outside my field. Challenges 2 and 3 still exist in that situation, but I could still try popping in at restaurants to ask if they need wait staff or even dishwashers.
At home I feel professional and employable. What a strange experience it is to be an immigrant. 11 months ago