He skis with Strindheim IL, based in Trondheim. He is 6ft 1" (185cm) tall, and weights 170lbs (77kg, 12st 2lb).
The 2005/06 season was Svendsen's first season on the World Cup tour, before then he competed as a junior in the European Cup. During his first season in the World Cup Svendsen finished fifth in three races, two of them in sprints (Brezno-Orsblie and Ruhpolding), and the other in a mass start (Holmenkollen). He also finished races in seventh, ninth, and four more within the top twenty (14th, 15th, 17th, 19th). He finished the overall season in 22nd place. He was 32nd in the pursuit, 21st in the sprint, and 7th in the mass start, only seven points behind Sven Fischer in fourth place.
Svendsen was selected for the Olympics, to compete in the mass start, in which he came sixth, after hitting 18/20 targets and finished 53.8 seconds behind winner Michael Greis of Germany. As a junior Svendsen won four gold medals in junior World Championships, his first and second gold was in the pursuit, and the relay in Haute Maurienne in 2004, and the third and fourth gold in the individual and the sprint in Kontiolahti in 2005. He also has two bronze medals from the individual and the pursuit in Kościelisko in 2003. During his three seasons in the European Cup, Svendsen won two races (individual and pursuit), one second place (sprint), and came third three times (all in the sprint).
For his first season in the World Cup Svendsen had a 82% shooting average, making him the 42nd best shot of the tour, but the same shooting percentage as Halvard Hanevold, and Vincent Defrasne. He hit 243 out of 295 targets. He shot both 82% in his prone and standing shoot, he averaged 70% in the individual, 84% in the sprint, 81% in the pursuit, 87% in the mass start, and 76% in the relay.