Finland, by all means, is being associated with its cold winters, eternal darkness and silence, moments of which locals often experience. It reflects on Finnish culture, rhythm of life and business style. Nevertheless, Finland has proven to be a perfect career kick-start for any young person, both local and foreign, student and unemployed, artist and engineer. Well, at least for me. To succeed in Finland, you must turn those Finnish stereotypes to your strongest assets, and absorb local spirit. In fact, there is just a few main aspects to be remembered when looking for a job in Finland.
Tip # 1. Even though Finland appreciates silence, Finnish employers indeed don’t appreciate silence when recruiting people. These days, massive distribution of job applications is not enough. Companies are looking for determination, personal touch and persistence. After sending your application, give them a call. Best case scenario, you will be able to ask questions about the job, tell a little bit more about yourself and, most probably, get yourself a spot for an interview. Worst case scenario, you will receive a feedback to your application, which, by itself, is a priceless response.
When looking back at my days of intensive job search, I tried to differentiate myself from other potential candidates by either customizing my cover letter to specific company or calling companies. There is one more way that is beyond audial conversation – video format might be a good idea. I’m used to make simple 1-minute elevator pitch videos that would showcase me in action and open up my character, my competences and my passions. When hearing your intonation and seeing your surroundings, human resource managers might have a better picture of who you are as an individual when making decision.
Tip # 2. Most common mistake youngsters do when looking for a job is passivity. Networks will not be built by themselves unless there is an interaction happening between individuals, companies and employers. Visiting events, forums, business conferences, seminars, job fairs, local gatherings; taking part in innovation projects; participating in volunteer work; commenting and posting in LinkedIn – is important and will pay off.
The more you show up in different gatherings, the more chances there are to build connections, promote yourself, discover work eco-system in the region etc. I’ve been attending events every week, doing free job, having multiple internships. On the way, I’ve gained valuable experiences and worked with amazing people who later acted as my life and career mentors. It’s all a part of a learning process which, by default, is an indispensable ingredient of success.
Tip # 3. Invest in your personal brand. The current situation on a job market leaves much to be desired. However, competitiveness might also be a great chance to get creative and stand out among job-hunters. It’s important to be remembered whenever you contact somebody or connect with somebody. Social media channels, digital portfolio, business cards etc. will impact the decision-making when companies review your job application.
Once I have showed up at a business breakfast where the chances of getting important contacts were quite high. However, back then I didn’t have anything to exchange or stay remarkable. That rush morning, I’ve taking pieces of puzzles with me to give to all business people at the breakfast saying that “let’s talk more after the event, remember me”. They all did.
Tip # 4. This might sound quite trivial but yet often forgotten by young job-seekers. Getting out of your comfort zone and approaching people/companies is extremely important. There will never be a perfect moment, perfect timing and perfect condition when approaching “big” guys is easy. But it’s the exercise that needs to be practiced.
A few year back, I have dared to approach one millionaire who seemed too occupied and “too important to be talking to me”. Yet, we had a lovely conversation about one of my business ideas, I got instant feedback from him, his business card and even Skype account because later that year I interviewed him for my thesis. Courage was well paid off, and the significant connection was built for a lifetime. Never underestimate yourself, somebody on the other side might be interested to talk to you too. I tend to advice “Embarrass yourself, it’s healthy!”
I don’t believe in luck. But I do believe in hard work, creativity and determination. Finland is cold, but don’t freeze! – Act fast, be bold and stay unique, just like every one of us is.
Demola Facilitator & Digital Marketing Specialist