2 Things To Not Say Sorry For

I see a lot of people beating themselves up while job searching. In this post, I want to share two things that I think you should not feel sorry for and what you can do instead.


1. Your Life Story

It is very common that people excuse themselves for not having Swedish experience. Typically, I ask a person what they have been studying and working with before they came to Sweden and they say:


“I have been studying engineering, but that was in my home country”


Many people excuse themselves for having experience and education from another country. This is not the way to go. First of all, drop the “but that was in my home country”.


Instead, turn tell the person more about the experience: “I studied engineering, because…”


Then tell them why you studied engineering. When you meet employers and other people, focus on the things that you have in common. Talk about your experiences.

books piled up next to each other

Don’t ever excuse yourself for your life story. This is what makes you unique. Leverage it.


Let me give you an example of a person that leveraged his life story. He started an internship at a Swedish company and saw that the company could sell their products to the Middle East but they didn’t do it. The person told the CEO that the company could sell their products in the Middle East and the company started to sell to countries there by the help of this person doing the internship. This particular example was not possible because the previous employees knew nothing about the Middle East market.


I have no idea about how to speak Arabic, Russian, Mandarin or Spanish. If you know any of these languages, you are in huge advantage over me. See your uniqueness as your advantage! Leverage it!

ancient steel cylinders with some foreign language

2. Your Language Skills

I often communicate with people that are fairly new to Swedish (6 – 24 months) and think how well they know the language after such a short time. Then, in the conversation, the person say “sorry for my Swedish” or “my Swedish is not perfect”.


I had an interesting conversation yesterday about this. That many people don’t want to speak because they think that their Swedish is not good enough. This is bad self-talk and a vicious circle.

the cover of the book Peak. Big letters on top saying PEAK and then a subheading "secrets from the new science of expertise"

It is a vicious circle because the only way to become better and improve is to expand the comfort zone. The psychologist Anders K. Ericsson have recently published a book about expert performance. In the book, he describes a concept called deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is an activity in which you are putting a lot of effort into improving your performance in one specific aspect. The core of deliberate practice is to step outside your comfort zone and try activities beyond your current abilities (see this article or the full book).


The more often that you can be outside your comfort zone and the faster you can expand it the better.


Your Swedish is probably a lot better than you think.


All I am trying to say is, don’t say you’re sorry. You are awesome!

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