Everything I Did That Didn’t Get Me a Job as an Ex-Pat in Sweden

So in 2017, my husband & I sold all of our things & moved from Baltimore to Stockholm. When we landed, I had never been to Stockholm before and went to Europe for the first time 6 weeks prior to.

I wanted a job in music. For specifically, I wanted a job at Spotify. I arrived with 3 degrees, including an MBA; 3 years of management experience; 6 years of full-time work; years of consulting experience; prior work at a record label, a radio station, venues, startups; spoken at conferences, taught workshops, the ability to write in Python, R, SQL, JavaScript; and with years of experience in Marketing, Web Development and Data Science.

I thought it would take me 6 weeks to find a job once I arrived in Stockholm. My husband said it would take 6 months.

It took 6 months.

I would say, if someone had told me it would be this hard, I probably wouldn’t have done it. But, someone did & I did anyway. 2017 was, by far, the most challenging year of my life and I never had more self-doubt, self-loathing, depression or anxiety in my life. I cried in public-a lot. I didn’t realize just how much of my identity was wrapped up in my career, but eventually, I came out on the other side.

Funny enough, after months of networking events, volunteering, co-working spaces, informational meetings, and fikas-I got a job by literally emailing my CV in for a different job entirely at Universal Music Sweden. But despite that, I was truly amazed at how open & willing people were just to grab a cup of coffee with me. Almost all of my cold emails resulted in at least a conversation.

So, I’m writing this as a document of everything I did in the hopes that I’d find a job in Stockholm and as both a warning and a beckon of hope to anyone else that finds themselves in a similar situation.

Learn The City



Pick an Industry/Vertical

I wanted to work in music & I wanted to work in tech. So before I even got to Stockholm, having been involved in Baltimore’s tech scene, I started researching who were the must know people and the places to be. Thankfully, Stockholm turned out to be such a small city that I came across so many of the people that didn’t know they helped me as I went through my journey.

Attend Events

SUP46 was usually just the right place to be. If you wanted to meet a startup founder, get an introduction, make a new friend, or just attend an event-it was usually the first place to go. I spent 3 months volunteering there doing events and got to meet so many key players in Stockholm’s tech scene. Also many of the coworking spaces (see link above on the tech scene) had events constantly. I found myself at Impact Hub and Norrsken a lot.

Learn Swedish

I didn’t start taking the lessons offered by the government until after I started my job (I could have started as soon as we arrived but wanted the flexibility to job hunt), so I did DuoLingo daily which helped with my vocabulary a lot by the time we started taking classes which was 3 hours every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30–8:30pm. Yes, it was as intense as it sounds but I was grateful it was free & it was helpful.

Join Groups

Music Companies

I kept a list of music companies in Stockholm and checked their websites every day for jobs. I reached out to several just for informational interviews even if they weren’t hiring. I’m still in contact with many of them years later. The music industry is a very small industry.

Jobs in General

These are the job sites I used to supplement my daily checking of the music company websites.

Total Stats Over 6 Months

I won’t harp on too much about my journey because this topic is already incredibly niche but I ended up going to so many events, continuously applying for roles, getting referrals from different companies, meeting as many people as possible, taking on freelance contracts-all in the hopes of finding a job. It kind of all ended up being unnecessary but it kept me busy, I met some very good friends, and there was always a possibility that one of these things would pay off.

  • 58 networking events
  • Over 28 applications
  • Spent $470.59 in LinkedIn ads + $180 in LinkedIn Premium
  • 15 informational meetings
  • 14 interviews
  • Toured 7 coworking spaces

Key Events

  • Apr 27 — Visa approved
  • June 3 — Started running LinkedIn ads targetting Spotify employees
  • Jul 16 — Moved to Stockholm
  • Aug 16 — Stockholm Music City Tour // Became co-working member Sept 1
  • Aug 21 — SUP46 Tour // Spent many days in the cafe
  • Aug 31 — Started Volunteering at SUP46
  • Sept 7 — Applied for Nova // Nov 24th — Became Nova Member
  • Sept 8 — Stockholm Startup Weekend FemTech Hackathon // Won 2nd place with a team of 2 other girls
  • Nov 27 — Volunteered at Slush Music
  • Dec 18 — Presented at PyLadies Stockholm
  • Jan 24 — Started job at Universal Music

Edit: Ad Campaign to Spotify

I spent 2 months running ad campaigns on LinkedIn to Spotify employees in Stockholm just to get their attention. That’s how I got my first interview and was frequently recognized at Spotify events because of it. The ad went to a landing page with an interactive cover letter & CV highlighting various data & music-related projects.

Job Search Timeline 2017–18

Jan 26–1st application to Spotify

Feb 21 — Rejection #1 from Spotify


Feb 13–1st application to Soundtrack Your Brand

Feb 28 — Rejection #1 from SYB


Feb 23–1st application to Google


Feb 27–2nd application to Spotify


Feb 27–1st application to Soundtrap

Mar 6 — Rejection #1 from Soundtrap


Early March — 2nd & 3rd applications to Google


Mar 3–1st application to Sony Music

Mar 6 — Rejection #1 from Sony Music


Mar 3–1st application to Live Nation


Mar 9–1st application to Gracenote


Mar 15–3rd application to Spotify


Mar 16–4th application to Google


June 12–4th application to Spotify

July 5–1st interview w/Spotify

July 6 — Rejection

- Moved to Stockholm -

Mid-July — Applications 5–8 to Spotify

Aug 16 — Several Rejections


Jul 24–2nd application to Soundtrack Your Brand

Aug 7 — Rejection #2 from SYB


Aug 11–1st application to Epidemic Sound

Aug 28–1st interview at Epidemic Sound

Sept 6–1st rejection from Epidemic Sound


Aug 30–3rd application to Soundtrack Your Brand

Sept 13–1st interview at Soundtrack Your Brand

Sept 24–3rd rejection from SYB


Sept 16 — Informational Meeting w/Amuse


Sept 26–9th application to Spotify

Oct 12–2nd interview w/Spotify

Nov 10–4th rejection from Spotify


Sept 29 — Informational meeting with Stagecast


Oct 4–5th application to Google


Oct 5 — Informational Meeting with Gigital


Oct 17–3rd interview w/Spotify (Recruiter reached out)


Oct 18–10th application to Spotify

Nov 3–4th interview with Spotify

Nov 10–5th rejection from Spotify


Oct 23 — Informational Meeting with Melobee


Oct 25 — Informational meeting with Pacemaker

Nov 20 — Interview w/Pacemaker

Nov 23–2nd Interview w/Pacemaker

Nov 23 — Part-time offer from Pacemaker

Dec 21 — Rescinded offer from Pacemaker


Nov 9–1st application to Kobalt

Nov 10–1st rejection from Kobalt


Nov 9 — Informational meeting w/Amplify — Music Tech Incubator

Nov 14 — Interview w/Amplify

Nov 16 — Part-Time Offer from Amplify

Nov 24 — Started at Amplify


Nov 13–2nd application to Epidemic Sound

Dec 15 — Turned down an interview for community manager after accepting part-time community manager role at Amplify


Nov 13–1st application to Universal Music Group Sweden

Nov 24–1st interview at UMG

Dec 20–2nd interview with UMG

Jan 3–3rd interview with UMG

Jan 4 — Offer from UMG

Jan 24 — Started at UMG


Nov 15–11th & 12th application to Spotify

Nov 30–5th interview with Spotify

Dec 4–6th rejection from Spotify

Dec 13–7th rejection from Spotify


Dec 25–3rd application to Epidemic Sound

Jan 3–2nd interview w/Epidemic Sound

Jan 18–2nd rejection from Epidemic Sound


Dec 25–1st application to Deezer

Jan 2–1st rejection from Deezer

Originally published at .

US ex-pat in London. Loves: Music, travel, data, marketing.

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