Written by Guest Blogger, Busra Zengin
This is the story of how Schneider Electric and Jobbsprånget helped me to make my new #LifeisOn in Sweden!
In the beginning of 2017, finding a job in the Swedish job market was a challenge for me. As a newcomer, I was attending a Swedish course and trying to find a job at the same time. Then I found Jobbsprånget, a great program which brings employers and newcomers together for 4-month internships, and I obtained an HR internship at Schneider Electric thanks to them.
Schneider Electric was an employer I followed and appreciated long before moving to Stockholm. But seeing them in Jobbsprånget was a sign for me that they really have a strong belief in people, and understand the value of diversity to build a better future.
I know diversity is a popular topic right now, but very few companies invest in it. From my experience, Schneider Electric shows they understand the importance of diversity by giving newcomers a chance of fresh start in Sweden. Starting from day 1, I could clearly see how welcoming and supportive the company and employees were, and how they create a culture where new ideas can flourish easily.
I started my internship in February, and Jobbsprånget made the process easier for both sides by handling all the administrative tasks of my employment. Therefore, the only thing to do before entering the Swedish job market was to get excited about it 🙂
I think that even if you have years of experience in your home country, it is still a good idea to do an internship in a new country. The market needs to know you and you need to know the market. With this internship, I showed I can perform successfully in the Swedish workplace, networked with many great employees, and gained a better understanding of the industry for developing a long term strategy for my career.
There are countless things I’ve gained in these short 4 months, but here is a list of the most important milestones of my internship.
You can take a class, listen to exercises, and maybe even order your coffee in Swedish, but when you find yourself in a real life dialogue which lasts more than 5 minutes, you will feel like you know nothing – even if you do. Being in a Swedish speaking office every day for 8 hours really helped me learn the language!
Typically, Swedes tend to switch English if they see you’re struggling. In addition, Schneider Electric is a diverse workplace where people are used to speaking English with colleagues. As a newcomer I tended to accept this switch and converse in English (which was way more sophisticated than my kindergarten level Swedish dialogues) but I also feel guilty. It’s like having a big slice of cake at midnight – you know you shouldn’t eat it but it is so delicious!
I would like to thank my colleague Liselott for “encouraging” people to speak Swedish with me even when I only understood the half of it 🙂 Without her I would still be in my comfort zone! But now I can both understand and speak Swedish.
Know-how and Hands-on Experience
For me, the hardest part of this journey was trying to start a career from scratch in a language I was not good at it. It was hard for me to speak Swedish without the fear of making mistakes, and it was hard to be a go getter in a new workplace in a new country. Yet, the attitude of my coworkers Liselott and Alexandra made a huge difference for me.
This was not an internship just to look good on my resume. This was an internship where I really learned something and gained hands-on experience. I took part in the search and selection of candidates, interviewing, completing reference checks, and more. Both Liselott and Alexandra gave me opportunity and support, and encouraged me the entire time.
They also wanted to make sure I worked on different tasks, not the same ones for 4 months. Alexandra always found fun and constructive projects for me. For example, I prepared a recruitment guide for hiring managers. This guide needed to be comprehensive but simple and enjoyable at the same time, which was a challenging but fun and creative task. Before that, I worked on ways to rewrite job ads in a more attractive way.
I love using my creativity in my work. For both candidates and employees my motto is to make everything as simple and attractive as possible because in this digital age we have limited time to get anyone’s attention. Alexandra and Liselott realized this and gave me the opportunities to work more on my strengths.
Knowing Swedish Culture
Before my internship, I heard lots of things about Swedish culture. My first impression on paper about the Swedish workplace was that everyone would be distant to each other. I had read that no one wants to share details about their personal life, they eat alone at lunch time, etc.
All newcomers read these things, and of course they might be true but they’re not valid for every Swede. When you read them without having an actual Swedish environment around you, it’s easy to get scared from the adaptation and create prejudices about your new society. It might be true for some workplaces, but it turned out this was not the case here.
Having an internship was the best way to break down my prejudices and create my own opinion about Swedish culture. All of the HR team, not just the Talent Acquisition team, were really caring and friendly. And we laughed a lot! – I can easily say that I was the introvert one there 🙂 But I kept up with them as my Swedish began improving!
The key is how we approach the culture. I believe if we can be open minded and be ourselves, and not afraid to have a personal conversation or ask for a lunch together, we can build a great community around us.
Having this internship also helped me widen my network and gain knowledge about how the industry works here. Before, I had to make assumptions how things work. Now I can get advice on every issue, and I know the industry better. Best of all, I met many amazing people!
I also believe Schneider Electric, and other employers in this program, benefit from fresh point of views and expertise from different cultures by opening their doors to newcomers. Most of the newcomers have work experience which decreases their orientation time as interns and increases their contribution to the job during these 4 months.
Overall, this was a both constructive and fun experience for me, and Schneider family is definitely made my adaptation lot easier! I believe I also made good contributions to them in this short amount of time.
I advise every newcomer to check Jobbsprånget for opportunities and if you see a position at Schneider Electric, don’t miss it!
About the Author
Busra Zengin was an intern of SE Sweden Talent Acquisition Team. She is a newcomer in Sweden and started her career with Schneider Electric for a 4 months internship via Swedish Jobbsprånget program for newcomers. She supported TA team in graduate trainee program and recruitment activities.
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