This material was gathered by the University of Turku career services during the UNICOM project. The Uniting Companies and International University Talents (UNICOM) initiative is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) from 1 March 2021 to 28 February 2023. UNICOM is part of the “Course towards Finland – growth and competitiveness in growth centres from international talent” project, which aims to boost the growth of companies by promoting the placement of international talents on the Finnish labour market. The UNICOM project is carrying out the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of Education and Culture’s coordinated Talent Boost programme. The University of Turku coordinates the UNICOM project.
This material includes information, tips and reflecting questions to enhance your career planning and job seeking in Finland.
This material is divided to three sections: self-knowledge, occupational knowledge and Job seeking in Finland
What does self-knowledge mean when looking for a job and how could it be developed? It refers to an individual’s way of recognizing their own skills and strengths. An individual knows what values are important to them and what interests they have. Based on these, they make the choices related to their career.
Good self-knowledge creates a basis for career planning and plays an important role in life’s changing stages, such as graduation from university and transition to working life. At its best, career planning is a life-long process and attitude that helps you find a place you like in the working life. When taking the time to do career planning, often the study motivation also increases.
When an individual know themselves, it is also easier to notice different career possibilities around them and to evaluate their own level of competence honestly. Remember that no one else can explain your skills better than you. Asking yourself different questions and thinking about them profoundly is an effective way to increase self-knowledge. Sometimes you can also go to your discomfort zone to challenge yourself in order to increase your self-knowledge.
You can use the following questions to increase your self-knowledge:
Question 1: What do I value in life? What things are important to me?
Question 2: What factors/aspects does my ideal job include? Think broadly.
Question 3: What are my strengths and skills?
Question 4: What motivates me? Consider internal and external motivational factors that influence values and choices.
Use time to strengthen your self-knowledge and identify your own skills. It is worth to invest the time.
Occupational knowledge means an individual’s knowledge of the opportunities offered by working life, the expectations of various employers and what skills may be needed in the work tasks of one’s field in the future. Often, the perception of working life and different professions is created through the people around you. It is necessary to pay attention that your information is truthful.
Growing and maintaining occupational knowledge is important, because job hunting becomes much easier when you understand working life. The occupational knowledge is also strongly related to knowledge about, for example, what kind of positions graduates from your field of study have been employed in and what skills are needed in the working life of the future.
There are wage differences between different employers. It can sometimes be difficult to get information about salaries in different fields, because salaries are rarely talked in Finnish working life. In some workplaces, the salary is defined according to the collective agreements in the respective field. Some industries do not have a collective agreement, in which case the salary is determined according to the agreement between the employer and the employee.
Things to do to enhance the occupational knowledge:
- Look and read job advertisements. This way you can find out what different employers want from applicants.
- Familiarize yourself with different employer sectors. This way, the job search is also easier when you know the different employer sectors and which of them would suit you best.
- Search and make a list of interesting organizations that are there in your preferred area
- Information interview – is a way to find out more about an interesting job or an interesting organisation and easy ways of expanding your network. Read more about information interviews
- Toissa.fi: A website where you find information about the working life of graduates. The website is produced by the higher education institutions.
- Familiarize yourself with collective agreements from your field e.g. trade/labour unions from your field
Job seeking in Finland
A lot is often required of a job seeker on the job market, and it may often seem that employers are only looking for “super humans”. However, you should remember that very few, if any, can meet all the requirements asked for in the job advertisement. When looking for a job, it is important to understand the connection between self-knowledge, occupational knowledge and your own decision-making methods. After gaining self-knowledge and occupational knowledge, writing job application documents may seem easier. When it’s time to start looking for a job that matches your skills, it’s important that the documents related to the job search are functional and help you find employment.
You can apply for a job in many different ways. You can use the most common job search channels. These include, for example, various job portals and social media such as Linkedin. In addition, the university offers its own job and internship portal with jobs suitable for students and newly graduated students.
However, it is also important to note that according to research, 75% of the jobs in Finland are hidden jobs, which means that the jobs are not open for public search. In this case, your own activity and contacting interesting employers is important. Networks play a big role in job seeking in Finland as it is a way to find those hidden jobs.
Things to do to enhance job seeking:
- Know what kind of CVs and applications Finnish employers are used to –
- Know what employers want in your field, what are they looking for and what kind of information you should provide them with
- Grow and take care of your networks, both professional and personal
- Contact an interesting employer via email or by phone – tell about yourself and what you could offer to the employer