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Four CV no-nos for the Nordic market

If you’re looking for a new role in the Nordic market, it’s arguably just as important to know what will get your CV binned as it is to be aware of what will get recruiters’ attention. Here are four things guaranteed to get your resume rubbished.

1) Don’t exaggerate your language abilities or local knowledge

“A lot of people from outside the Nordics want to work in Sweden, so it is important not to exaggerate your local knowledge, understanding of local markets or language ability,” emphasises Martin Rydheim of Michael Page in Stockholm.

“Similarly, just because English is our second language does not mean people do not want proper English on your CV. So it is important to show fluency in this area, especially if you write that in your CV, and not to have any spelling mistakes,” he adds.

“Language is important in the Scandinavian context. But you do need to be clear what you are truly fluent in and what you are just conversational in. So someone who is Finnish but also speaks fluent Swedish, for example, could well be in demand,” agrees Gail McManus, founder of private equity recruiter PER Recruiting, which works within the Nordic market.

2) Don’t be too abrupt… or too long-winded

“The most important initial thing is the length of the CV. Finns often tend to go for a very short CV, just a page of bullet points identifying their different titles and experience. But increasingly that is a no no,” says Erkki Tuominen, managing partner at CV Group in Helsinki.

“What recruiters are looking for is a good summary of a person’s career and work, including their achievements as well as responsibilities, so what they have actually achieved in a role, whether that was adding profitability, managing a team, overseeing x number of IPOs and so on. On the other hand, a four to five-page CV is just too long,” he adds.

3) Don’t leave gaps

“Within private equity in particular, your CV needs to be a bit like Scandinavian design: clean and sleek,” says McManus.

“The job of a CV is to get you an interview, so effectively it is a marketing document. PE professionals, too, are expert at spotting the gaps in what people are telling them so if there is an unaccounted hole anywhere in the CV, they will assume the worst,” she adds.

4) Don’t ignore the value of personal interests and hobbies

“Details about your family, perhaps the job your spouse has, and any hobbies, sports or activities outside work – again things sometimes considered less important on CVs in some other countries – can be useful in the Nordics,” says Tuominen.

“Within the ‘personal interests’ section it is important to include a team activity. So if you’re forte is cross-country skiing, that’s fine, but you also need something that is more team-based, where you can show your ability to act as part of a team,” adds McManus.

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