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Plan your career. Learn about networking and Finnish work culture

Why networking is crucial in job searching and how to stand out of the crowd we talk with Sanna Eronen, Planning Officer at Career and Recruitment Services at Laurea.

The importance of networking in job searching

– In Finland about 70 percent of the jobs are never advertised, they go through the networks. I talk about it a lot with the students. And they ask me, what is networking, how to network? Networking may happen during recruitment events but this is just one way. You have to see networking as something that is going on all the time. Here at school, with your colleagues, friends, teachers. But a recruitment event is of course a great opportunity. You can talk with the companies’ representatives, share your CV and even if the company doesn’t have open positions at the moment, they can remember you and after some time contact you.

How to be prepared for a recruitment event

– The biggest mistake is to come to an event just to look around and “collect candies and pens”, that’s not networking! You have to bring your CV either printed or in a pdf file ready to send via email. Read about the companies beforehand, what they can offer, what they are doing, what you could do there and remember to prepare some questions. It is important that you don’t just go and ask: what you can offer me? Better way to start the conversation is: I noticed you are looking for employee for this position etc. and tell them why you are interested in this company, what you can bring to this company, what are your strengths and skills that the company might need. This is how you stand out. If you are looking for internship or your first job from your own field, it is really important to think what are you especially interested in that field, what are your assets as a new professional?

Other ways to network

– I always tell students, that all the colleagues and friends they meet during their studies are their most important network, maybe not now, but in just a couple of years after graduation every one of them will be in a different position and then they will be an excellent network. Also your teachers, they know a lot of companies, have very good connections. If your teachers remember you, they might recommend you to a potential employer. For me the funniest way of networking is in your normal life, in hobbies, in different events and so on. It happens naturally if you are open to meet new people, you talk with them and tell them what you are interested in. Be active, come to events, talk, and be engaged.

Guidance for international students

– In Laurea we try to help our international students in many ways. We have tutor teachers and tutor students, they help to get along in Finland, from the most basic things like finding an apartment or buying a bus ticket. We have also a student counselors to help them. But there is still a lot to do and we are all the time thinking new ways to support them

Sanna Eronen, Planning Officer at Career and Recruitment Services

– I know already from students, that they would like to know more about how to look for a job, how to approach the companies, how to recognize you competences and how to tell about those competences in the Finnish work culture. So these are the subject we will focus on in the future.

Specifics of the Finnish work culture

– In Finnish culture we treat each other with respect and also we expect that you are very active, you tell your own opinions, and you are creative. Instead of your boss is telling you what to do, you have to take initiative and be independent. Finnish kids are taught those skills from the age of 7, when they start school and if we compare this to education in for example Asian cultures it is very different. So, we will definitely organize some workshops tackling those issues.

Important skills in the near future

– The AI is going to change our way of work, taking from us mundane tasks or routines. Hence, all the social skills like communication and cooperation skills, will be emphasized even more in the future. Of course the lifelong learning skills, being excited about new things, being adaptable to changes. It doesn’t always mean you have to change your profession, but the field itself will change so you have to be ready to change with it. Digital skills are and will be important. Also creative thinking skills will be needed in the future.

Honing your resume

– The CV must be easy to read. You don’t put everything in the CV. My first tip is to modify your CV to all jobs you apply, especially if you already have some job experience.  It is good to write a short profile text at the top of your CV and this is also one part you should always modify based on a job advertisement. You collect the most important skills the chosen company is looking for and you write your profile trying to emphasize that you have those skills. The second tip is a good picture. I always recommend to put a photo in a CV, it is not obligatory, but it is well seen in Finland. Third is, if you are a student, probably what you are studying is more important than what you’ve done. So, put first your study history. Another tip, always put your language and IT skills. And remember that you must be very clear and precise, because a recruiter usually have about 10 seconds for one CV. 

How to make an effective LinkedIn profile

– Follow the same tips. Focus on the relevant things like your work history, skills, what kind of person you are. Also try to think about your own field key words, you can look for those for example from job advertisements. Because based on those words recruiters are searching for candidates in LinkedIn. Show what you are interested in. Finnish recruiters use LinkedIn a lot, especially in IT.

Finding the dream job

– To find a dream job is usually a long path and rarely it will be found right after graduation. Most important tip I can give is to remember that all your (work) experiences are valuable, is it internships, volunteering jobs or jobs which are not from your own field. And the dream job may come in a different part of your life, for everyone there is a different path. Some find it almost straight up, others might change the fields and find the dream job in a completely different and unexpected place. But in any case, whatever the path, you have to put a lot of effort and be active and don’t expect that the dream job fall into your lap.