On most mornings, she passes the White House on her way to work while drinking a healthy smoothie. Once in her office, she recruits the people who aim to eliminate world poverty. After many ifs and buts, Anna got her dream job, but her path has been anything but direct.
What do you work with today?
Since 2013, I have been working as a recruiter for the World Bank Group in Washington, D.C. My work duties are varied and I do everything from headhunting, running social media for recruitment purposes, salary negotiations for new employees and so-called recruitment assignments.
For example, I will travel to the Nordic Area from 5 to 9 March 2018 to recruit more Nordic citizens, since Swedes are among the underrepresented groups, as are women. Keep an eye on our careers page for job opportunities. Furthermore, on 7 March, I will be giving a presentation at Lund Unvieristy.
(Click here for more information about the event at Lund Univeristy on 7 March. Students and alumni are welcome! Make sure to sign up.)
What is a normal working day for you?
I reply to a large number of emails and do everything from salary negotiations to content for our various social media. I also meet our clients, i.e. colleagues who are recruiting for their divisions, to understand what kind of professional profiles they are looking for and how we can help them find the right candidates; it can be very difficult and we usually say that we recruiters are detectives looking for a needle in a haystack. I often headhunt using LinkedIn, and try to find the right person for the positions that our clients are having trouble filling. Another one of my work duties is to train my colleagues to use LinkedIn, as it is an important recruitment channel for us. I have also recently started studying French at lunchtime three times a week through the World Bank.
Did you know what you wanted to do when you applied to Lund University?
No, I had no idea but it became clear after a while. I believe there are many different types of work that I would enjoy.
I like the expression “all roads lead to Rome,” which I interpret to mean that you can get to a specific goal in so many different ways. Even though my division works with recruitment/HR (Human Resources), few people here studied HR specifically.
In today’s society, I believe we will work for a long time, which means that we have time to test several different kinds of work. Certain types of jobs might also “disappear”, as AI (Artificial Intelligence) could perhaps take over certain work duties or jobs. That makes flexibility important, but so does the desire to try something new and develop yourself and your knowledge base.
What did you do after finishing your studies?
I worked on a cruise ship which sailed around the world. It probably would have been more suitable to do this before my university studies; it was not the most glamorous job, but I got to see fantastic parts of the world that I would never have experienced otherwise, such as Easter Island and Antarctica.
When I got back to Sweden, the labour market was tough there, so I went to London and slept on the sofa of some generous friends while looking for a job. I found one with a recruitment company and nine years later, after various different employers, mainly PWC, I got the job at the World Bank.
How are you enjoying it now?
My path was certainly not as straight as an arrow and at times it was quite tough, but now, with hindsight, it was really worth it. Now it feels as though I have landed my dream job; I love what I am doing and what my employer is doing for the world. It is an international workplace which means that I get to meet people from all over the world, which is both fun and very formative. My division comprises around 30 people and we have at least 20 different nationalities. I also really enjoy living in Washington, D.C. – a beautiful, green and safe city with a rich cultural life and restaurant scene. (The coolest city in the U.S. according to Forbes 2014.)
Do you have any tips for recent graduates (or for LU alumni, in general)?
Bear in mind that it can be difficult to get that dream job right away. Set up a clear goal to aim for and keep it constantly in the back of your mind when choosing your direction. For me, for example, international experience and language skills have been an important factor.
It can also be important to tell those around you/your network what you want to achieve and what you want to do, because otherwise they can’t help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice! Then, don’t give up. I applied for many jobs at the World Bank before I got the one I am doing today, and let’s not even mention the number of positions I applied for at the UN.
Never give up! And don’t forget that all roads lead to Rome (usually)!
Comes from: Ystad
Now living in: Washington, D.C.
Education: Master’s degree (60 credits), International Business Administration and Economics programme including German, at Lund University (1996-2002)
Text: Petter Edström