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Working in Norway

Are you a non-Norwegian looking for a job in Norway?

Written by Karin Lee July 21 2020

Here are a few helpful tips about job ads from an English-speaking applicant veteran.

Applying for a job in Norway as a first- or second-language English speaker?

Here are a few points to consider:

Some job ads can be confusing as they don’t state clearly which language your application should be written in. If you’re unsure of this, before applying call the contact person listed in the ad to ask which language they prefer/require.

Some job ads will ask for your ‘vitnemål’, or academic transcripts. Again, this can be confusing – do they want transcripts from your college or university studies? From high school? If your transcripts are written in a language other than English, you’ll need to look into having them translated by a certified agency.

Some job ads will ask for references (it’s rare, but does happen). Try to have three references ready before applying and spare yourself the anxiety of casting about for them before the application due date. Have an up-to-date letter from each reference that contains information about the specific skills you have which would make you a great job applicant.

Some jobs ads just don’t give you enough information about what the organization is looking for. If this happens, write down 3-5 questions you have about what is missing, and call the contact number listed in the ad. Explain to this person that you need more information about the job at hand and ask if they have a few minutes to answer them. Then start down your list, making sure before ending the call that you’ve understood their explanations to each of your questions.

Some job ads will state that you need to ‘beherske’ spoken and written Norwegian and English, which scares some English speakers off because they’re afraid their Norwegian skills aren’t good enough, so they don’t apply. Again, call the contact person listed in the ad and ask them what the real story is: In what kinds of situations will you need to use your Norwegian? There’s a big difference between having to make sales calls to potential customers and being able to read departmental memos.

In short, never hesitate to apply for a job because you don’t understand absolutely everything in a job ad. Instead, find out first what you need to know, then go to work on preparing the best application you can and send it on in. Lykke til!

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