Text: Anna Lagerroos and Lotta Metsärinne, University of Turku

To support international students and graduates in finding their place on the Finnish job market, University of Turku Career Services participate in the UNICOM project.

We are offering a Working Life Coach programme, where the focus is on sharing knowledge and experience on entering the Finnish job market. The programme is coordinated by the Career Services, and the Coaches in this programme are international alumni from universities in Turku currently working in the region.

During this programme we have come to understand there is a lot we can do to help international talents. Finns do not necessarily see themselves as big networkers, but the importance of networks arises in almost every discussion about finding a job or an internship. The hidden job market in Finland is big and knowing the “right” people is crucial in finding that first position.

Finnish students face these same challenges, but not yet knowing the language and not being familiar with the way things work, makes the challenges way bigger for international students. We hope our Working Life Coach programme as well as our My Finnish Career coaching can offer some guidance and peer support for the students and graduates who have decided to come and pursue their lives here in Turku.

The sharing provided me with invaluable insights about the actual processes in the job/internship search process, in terms of the kind of attitudes to have. Our coach was very encouraging and offered advice on the struggles some of us faced during the job search. Hearing their experiences helped me understand that many struggles, feeling lost or not knowing what is ahead is a common experience for most people and that we are all on a journey of discovery.

one of our participants in the Working Life Coach programme


Internships are an important way to get work experience in Finnish working life and to network. To facilitate this, the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University offer all degree-students a one-time internship subsidy during their studies. This subsidy is a reimbursement to the employer once the internship is finished.

Read more about internship subsidies for employers: University of Turku / Åbo Akademi.

Internships aside, the value of international experience and the work done abroad is still lacking recognition. According to what we hear when discussing with people who have managed to find a job in Finland, many times international job seekers feel that two months of semi-relevant work experience in Finland is valued highly, while 5+ years of work experience abroad is seen as irrelevant (even with relevant tasks). This is something we work on and within this programme we approach it also through sharing what employers are used to when it comes to cover letters and describing previous experience. In many cases the cultural differences are big and not something that should be underrated.

A message to the international talents looking for jobs

Job seeking is hard. You need to be persistent and prepared for difficulties during the job search. Don’t get discouraged if you get “Thanks, but no thanks” emails. Make sure your CV and application are easy to read and customized for the job you are applying for. Make sure you know how Finns make CVs, what Finnish employers are used to. You can also think what you could tell an interesting employer: what added value could you, as a person with an international background, bring to organization and work community?

We often see people who are already successful and [have] managed to get their dream jobs, but behind the tip of the iceberg were little steps of perseverance […] starting from an internship search and being accepted.

international participant in the Working Life Coach programme 2022

Get in touch

If you are an international alumni working in the Turku region, we would be happy to tell you more about the Working Life Coach -programme! For autumn 2022, we are looking for Working Life Coaches to help international talents to find their career path in Finland. If you want to share your experiences as a foreigner in the Finnish working life, please contact us!

Anna Lagerroos
Project Planner, Career Services of UTU

Lotta Metsärinne
Planner, Career Services of UTU