My two cents on job searching in Finland

Even though I have been working in Finland for five years, last fall was the real time I first had to scan the job market for opportunities. I was worried: I was quite confident about speaking Finnish in my daily life but still terrified to have to speak it at my job. At the same time, I was aware that not speaking Finnish would limit my options, beside my qualifications. I was lucky and didn't have to search for long. I like to think I also did a few things right and I want to share them, in the hope of helping someone who's now in the situation I was nine months ago.

The importance of networking

I know, same old, same old... but I want to give suggestion about how to network in practice especially in Finland. For starting, complete and enrich your LinkedIn profile. The picture is crucial (or do you ever stop on profiles without one?) and please choose it wisely. Take care of writing a good self-description, complete with your experience, attitude, and aspirations. Ask your old study and working contacts to take few minutes to write a recommendation in English or Finnish. It's not just a matter of being present on LinkedIn: sometime company recruiters check your profile after you send your resumé.
Explore local groups on MeetUp. There are regular meetings, usually held at companies and often in English language, which are literally hunting territory for candidates. If you have studied at the local university, consider joining an Alumni association and take part to its events.

Explore the net

There are some website worth checking every second day:

In addition, make sure to follow the companies that may have a suitable opening on LinkedIn (you can also set up automatic searches, so that you get new postings in your email) and on Twitter. On Twitter search for the hashtags #rekry and #tyopaikat. There are also some Twitter accounts which only post job postings for Finland. I am not on Facebook, so I cannot say anything about that, but I'm sure there will be some nice pages to follow also there.
When you search, try to identify the keywords related to what you want to do. They'll make your searches better and better. Try to identify also Finnish keywords and do not be discouraged to send your CV even if they ask for fluent Finnish language (unless it really seems hopeless). Once a week, search which Google and limit your query to results of the past week, to be always up-to-speed with new postings. I know it sounds intense, but I've witnessed postings live one week only. Keep track also of suitable companies, so that you can regularly check out their websites for new openings.

Call people

I don't want to istigate you to call people asking for a job. That's rude and it never works. Find professionals who are in the position you would like to be right away or in the next few years. Establish a contact and ask for advice. I was lucky to meet lovely and available people who shared with me their experience of needs their working area had at that very moment. In that way I could focus on underlining the right skills when applying. When contacting people, be respectful and grateful they are willing to share their time and advice with you.

Be prepared to rewrite your CV a hundred times

Limit your CV to a couple of pages: think that a recruiter gets tens, sometime hundreds of them. I don't want to give specific advice to write a resumé, because the internet is full of pieces about that. Just keep in mind that you need to review your CV for each job you apply for. Yes, every single one. Even if you apply for a job with the same title and most requirements in company A and company B, you may want to first explore their respective websites and get to know them. Do they share the same core values? What kind of company is A with respect to B? What is A looking for in a candidate, and what B?

Studying never ends

The above process of job search will also give you regular indications of the areas where you need personal development. Be proactive in filling such gaps. Resources are endless, even to cover advanced topics in little time. Checkout online courses (for instance EdX, Coursera, ...), videos, forums, your local library. You cannot stop studying and learning even when you have a job, so surrender to it. Is knowing Finnish or Swedish really crucial to find a job in your area of expertise? If so, apply for a course right away, not after one year of unemployment. Remember: learning is never an empty investment.

Paola Elefante

Digital Scaling Project Manager at Plan International. Proud mother & wife. Shameless nerd&geek. Feminist. Undercover gourmet.

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