It has been a while since I last wrote a “how to” post. Many of my friends and acquaintances have asked me questions like “How to search for a job in Norway”? or “How to apply for a job in Norway?” In this post, I will try to document all the information I know on the topic of job applications in Norway. I have tried to keep the information as generic as possible to suit a wide range of job applicants.
During 2010 to 2012, I had applied to 40 job listings. 27 of which were for the summer job as a student and 13 for job listings during the last semester of my master’s. Even with so many applications, I cannot answer everything on this topic, so be wise and proactive by improvising on the information provided in this post as best suited for you.
Hyperlinks to relevant websites are embedded in the text and relevant formats of supporting documents are also available below.
Okay, lets start this!
1. Job Search
Main Industries in Norway: First and foremost, you need to know which industry do you want to work. As of today, the four main industries (engineering/finance/natural science) in Norway are
Fishing Industry (Lerøy etc.,)
Tele-communications (Telenor etc.,)
Once you know which industry matches your profile, next step is to search job vacancies. Be it full time, part time jobs, research jobs or summer jobs you will be able to find it in Norway.
2. Job listings in Norway
I presume that you do not know which websites provide job listings in Norway. In that case, I have listed key Norwegian job listing websites with a short description on each one of them below.
NOTE: Most of these sites require you to upload a CV or register as an user and make a CV as per their own format.
- http://www.finn.no/jobb/ (Norwegian page)
Finn.no is the go-to site for Norwegians because it also is the largest online second hand market site (Norwegian equivalent to e-bay). Among the services offered in this website, listing of job vacancies is one of them. Almost all job vacancies in Norway are listed in this website.
- https://tjenester.nav.no/stillinger/forside (Norwegian and English pages)
NAV is the social security network in Norway, and hence both engineering/non-engineering skilled and non-skilled jobs vacancies are listed in this website and you can narrow your search to respective county offices. After finn.no NAV is the second biggest job listing site in Norway.
- https://www.tu.no/jobb/stilling/jobs/ (Norwegian and English pages)
This listing site is sponsored by the main student/professional union: Tekna. The site has close cooperation with all the above mentioned industries. If you work or study as an engineer then this is the go-to site to find relevant job vacancies.
- http://www.jobb24.no/ (Norwegian page)
Another job listing site which forays into a wide variety of industry in Norway.
- http://www.statsjobb.no/ (Norwegian page)
A job listing site which specializes in posting vacancies in county administrative offices and state offices.
- http://www.jobbdirekte.no/ (Norwegian page)
Most job listing in this website requires Norwegian language competency.
- http://www.medrec.no/ (Norwegian page)
This website specializes in job listings on medical staff job vacancies. They also collaborate with “Manpower.no” so it is a good idea to follow-up the vacancy through the nearest manpower office.
- https://www.jobbnorge.no/ (Norwegian and English pages)
Jobbnorge.no provides vacancies listings on nursing, academia, engineering and vacancies in various county administration offices.
- http://www.universitetstillinger.no/ (Norwegian page)
This website specializes in job listings in academia in and around the Nordic region and Europe. So, if you are looking for an academic position this site should be in your to-search list.
- https://www.trainee.no/ (Norwegian and English page)
If you have graduated recently from a school, then this site will provide you with job listings on trainee vacancies in Norway.
- http://www.karrierestart.no/ (Norwegian page)
This website provides large array of job listings for both recently graduated students and experienced professionals.
- https://www.jobzone.no/ (Norwegian page)
In most cities of Norway, you will find a local office of Job Zone. Job Zone mainly deal with part-time job vacancies and some full-time jobs. To find jobs such as cleaning, waiting tables, and other part-time jobs this is the best alternative. You can narrow your search to respective county offices. This can be a useful platform to search for part-time work as a student in Norway.
- http://www.manpower.no/ (Norwegian and English page)
Manpower is the multinational recruiting firm which also has a strong base in Norway. Similar to jobzone.no manpower specializes in part-time work and also deal with full-time work possibilities. Manpower has a great deal of expertise in recruiting and hence companies also outsource head-hunting consultants from manpower. In other words they can be a bridge between you and a possible unlisted job vacancy. You can narrow your search to respective county offices. It is always a good idea to visit the nearest office of manpower and have a chat with one of their recruitment consultant. The contact details of the recruiting consultants are public and are always mentioned on their website.
- http://www.adecco.no (Norwegian page)
A swiss multinational recruiting firm which also has similar offerings as manpower. Adecco, is as popular as manpower in Norway. So, it is a good idea to also visit the nearest Adecco office and talk to the relevant recruiting consultant (Full-time or part-time). You can narrow your search to respective county offices. The contact details of the recruiting consultants are public and are always mentioned on their website.
- http://www.ecn.as/(Norwegian page)
As high number of immigrant work force is utilized in engineering companies, Norway has its own share of consultant companies one among the biggest consultant companies is ECN.
- https://www.linkedin.com/ (English)
Currently, having a profile in Linkedin is see as a positive attribute by Norwegian head-hunters and Human Resource departments. And number of job listings posted in Linkedin will only grow with time. So, it can be the a good idea to explore your options on this platform as well.
NOTE: Ensure to Google “Konsulent” and you will find many more Norwegian consultant companies.
3. Application preparation
Let us now assume you have found a job vacancy which suits your profile. The next step is to get your application documents in order. In Norway, companies expect you to have certain application documents along with the CV, but do not often inform which documents you need to provide.
1. Cover Letter (Template below)
In Norway, a cover letter with a CV is a requirement which goes without asking. Recruiters in Norway like in most countries, like to know the applicant’s reasons for applying to the job. A cover letter gives them a clear idea on your motivation to apply and your background. But don’t not drag the contents to more than one page. Norwegian’s like things which are written in simple words and short.
————————————————Cover Letter Template————————————————–
Feel free to edit the GREEN text as required. Delete RED text. Try to limit the letter to one page.
XXX Applicant 01.03.2014
To “Contact Person (listed in the job listing)”
Application: “Job listing heading/reference”
Intro Paragraph 1: Reference to the job and your motivation in one sentence.
After citing your requirement for XXX Position in your website and discussions I had with XXX Person, I would like to apply for “job listing heading/reference”. I found that this particular vacancy suits ideally to my current interest and my long-term career plan.
Body Paragraph 2: Try to answer the following question in this paragraph. What are you doing currently? What educational background do you have? Which subjects field interests you? What experience motivated you to apply to this position?
Body Paragraph 3: Try to answer the following question in this paragraph. Short details on your experience with a field or previous work. What affiliations have you had and what were you achievements previously? Your CV will give more details on this. So, keep it short and simple.
Conclusion Paragraph 4: Try to answer the following question in this paragraph. Give 3 reasons why you are best suited for this job? Make this paragraph as a lasting impression of you. Think out of the box and keep it to the point.
I am interested in applying at ABC Company for three main reasons. Firstly, ………….. Secondly,……………… Thirdly,……………………..
Thank you for the opportunity given to express myself.
2. Curriculum Vitae
There is no hard and fast rule of using a certain CV format. All formats have their own advantages. In most Norwegian company websites, you will have to prepare a CV as per the company format, which might be cumbersome and repetitive if you want to apply to multiple vacancies, but there is no other alternative.
“DO NOT WRITE: References will be provided if requested” in your CV. Try to include references, HR advisors in Norway, always I mean always contact your references before offering you the job.
Norwegians usually differentiate between simple and detailed CV formats
Simple CV format
In Norway, CV’s are ought to be simple and short but if you wish to have a detailed CV that is acceptable too. To know more about “Norwegian way of preparing CV’s” check this well written article by Aftenposten (They have attached a sample Norwegian CV for readers to use)
Detailed CV format
The Europass CV format is also used by many applicants and this format a standard format which is used all across the EU states. You can also use any other format, which best suits your profile.
All across Norway you are required to provide a copy of your latest educational Transcripts with the job applications. This will include all educational certificates from your High School and upwards. For example, In my applications, I included:
Intermediate transcripts (10+2 class from India, is country specific)
4. Attest/ Recommendation Letter
“Attest” is a term used in Norway for a document, which validates your work in a company where you previously worked. This document is similar to recommendation letter.
Recommendation letters in Norway are also a very important document as everywhere else in the world. HR advisor will contact the reference. You should remember to inform the person who is recommending, so that he knows that you have applied to this position and he is supposed to stay inline with his letter.
5. Relevant additional documents
It is advisable to add additional documents to support your application such as language proficiency, personal certification etc., However, if the CV is prepared in company websites, there may be limitations on the number of application documents you can upload. In that case, you can carry these certifications when you attend the formal interviews.
4. Application process and interview formalities
Application process for some job positions in Norway can be long. especially if you are a new graduate you can expect rounds such as:
General aptitude test (including language)
Business case presentation
Questionnaire on ethics
If you are experienced professional, you will only have parts of the above mentioned rounds.
The main personality trait companies in Norway look for is HONESTY and DRIVE. In some interviews you can expect consultants who are experts in human psychology, so you need to be as open and truthful as possible during such interviews.
Your personality to socialize and be good to other employees while being able to deliver on your tasks will be deal maker or breaker. This process is very individualistic and company specific in nature. All you can do after the interview process is to look for a positive outcome.
Congratulations! That is all there is to it.
You are now ready to search and apply to Norwegian job listings. I have gathered some additional information, which you can refer.
Good to know
1. Student, Professional, and Trade Unions in Norway
LO is Landsorganisasjonen aka Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (find other unions affiliated to Lo in this link). This union has its reach in blue and white-collar workers covering both private and public sectors.
Tekna is the union for Technical and Scientific professionals in Norway. Students and professionals with a master’s degree or above form the demographic of this union. If you become a member of Tekna you are entitled to certain union benefits. Tekna offers services such as salary negotiations, free legal assistance, salary negotiations, providing housing loans at better interest rates, offering career improvement courses/hobby courses and conferences etc., Every technology company has a Tekna representative in Norway and this result in a very close collaboration between company management and the union.
NITO: The Norwegian Society of Engineers and Technologies is another union of students, and professionals. NITO also provides the same number of services as Tekna. One can apply to be a NITO member if he or she has a bachelor’s degree and is not required to finish a master’s degree unlike Tekna.
You will also find NITO representatives in most technical companies in Norway.
FLT – affiliated to LO
FLT: Norwegian Engineers and Managers Association (FLT) is a professional union similar to Tekna and NITO but provides a forum for further education to its members in form of subsidized or free part time degree studies. Anyone in a technical field can apply to be a member as this is affiliated to Landsorganisasjonen also known as Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions.
2. Work laws in Norway (For Employers and employees)
Norwegian society gives very high importance to work environment, employee benefits and rights. All work laws and rules are described in this website in Norwegian called the Lovdata
3. Recognizing foreign degrees
NOKUT provides opportunity to recognize your degree from different countries. There is a formal process to be followed. The website provides more details on this process.
4. New in Norway guide
This website is one of the well written websites to understand the systems followed in Norway. It will be useful to both migrants and labour migrants to read through this website before or after coming to Norway.
5. Work visa procedure and requirements
To know the process of work visa and application to work visa, please visit: Work and residence
There are different set of work visa’s in Norway check this link: Different types of work visa’s
Each type of work visa requires a different set of supporting documentation. Hence, it is a wise idea to check the above links in UDI to be sure. I will not list the supporting documents since the visa requirements might change from one year to the other. Only rely on the information provided in UDI website.
6. Norwegian Language
- Is Norwegian language proficiency a requirement to work in Norway?
No, not for all jobs. If the company has international base, it usually will not require you to have any kind of Norwegian proficiency. Only job vacancies which require you to speak in Norwegian will need certifications showing that you are competent. For example working as school teachers, working in the municipality, working as nurse or doctors and other local jobs will require Norwegian proficiency
- Is it an advantage to have Norwegian proficiency even if the official working language in the company is English?
Yes, it is a huge advantage. If you know the language of the country you are living in, you make more connections. Similarly, if you know Norwegian language, companies see it as an advantage to recruit you over other applicants who do not have Norwegian proficiency. As I said before “Your personality to socialize and be good to other employees while being able to deliver on your tasks will be deal maker or breaker.” and knowing the language adds to your social acceptance by other Norwegian employees.
I would like to end this post by a quote I wrote for self-motivation: If you are having troubles do not crib, just keep working hard and if you are successful, do not stop, keep the hunger alive.