Job Hunting – Tips & Tricks

I received a message on LinkedIn related to my blog. They asked about job hunting tips in English. I’ve chosen Finnish as my language in blog because I feel like I can write more vivid, and interesting text in that language. However, I have many followers on LinkedIn who don’t speak English, and I’m also a big believer in diversity in workplaces as well as including all people in the same community.

That’s why I decided to write one blog text about job hunting tips in English. I’m not planning on changing the language but trying how this works, and maybe see how the audience reacts to this. In this text I will be sharing some tips related to CV, application, and other parts of job hunting as well as how to land a job either as a someone who have just moved to Finland, is planning to do that, or doesn’t know Finnish so well. Because we all know that it’s not so easy to find job in Finland without Finnish language skills. Hope you enjoy it.

1.Recruiters don’t read minds

This is my favorite quotes, and if you have followed me longer, you may have heard this more than enough times. Even though my brother will probably laugh at me when reading this blog (he proofreads all my texts) I will dare to use it since it’s very intuitive, and helpful. We cannot assume that the recruiter knows for example what we’ve done in our previous workplaces or what our studies have included.

It is possible that two persons with the same title have done completely different things. For example, finance assistant could have done only invoices, or they could have been responsible for bookkeeping, financial reporting, accounts payables, and receivables as well as people’s salaries. So, without telling recruiter what you’ve done they cannot possibly know what kind of things you can or cannot do. Don’t leave any room for assumptions of your skills or knowledge but tell them widely about it.

2.Keep it simple

Even though I encourage people to write widely about their job experience, and what kind of tasks they’ve had, I recommend that you take extra consideration into keeping the documents simple and clear. This means going through the document, and asking yourself is this readable? If someone doesn’t know you, are they able to understand this document? One thing to keep the document simple is to focus on bolding headlines (e.g., previous job titles, education titles) in a way that recruiter can get understanding of your core competences, and experience with one glimpse.

You should also think about if this is relevant for the position in hand. If you have longer experience, do you need to tell about your summer jobs or jobs at the early phase of your career? In Finland the ideal length of CV is 1-2 pages depending on the structure of the CV, and the length of your job experience. The ideal length of job application is one page. You have only short amount of paper available for proofing your goodness so make it count.

3.CV looks to the past – cover letter to the future

Sometimes it’s hard to make a difference between CV, and cover letter. What should I put to each of them? Do I need to talk about my job experience in both? What if the recruiter only reads one of them? I can say that most certainly the recruiter will start with your CV. You should make sure that in your CV the recruiter can find information about what you’ve done before, what kind of skills, and knowledge you have. This is usually covered with job experience, education, and skills.

If you’ve done your job properly in CV, you don’t have to write the same things in cover letter. You can focus on talking about why you are the perfect match for the position as well as why the position is the one for you. You can get examples from your CV when arguing about your suitability, but you don’t have to talk concretely about for example your previous tasks because they should be in the CV.

4.Focus on talking about your motivation

Recruiters love to hear about why you are interested in their position or their company. This is also something that’s usually missing from job applications. If you are moving to Finland, you may need to explain that you’re moving to Finland. When you don’t have experience from a specific role or specific role in specific legislation area it is useful to talk about your motivation, and eagerness to learn.

One of my best texts (at least in my opinion) was about good questions to support your job applying. In that list I’ve defined good questions to help you to define your motivation. I’ve now translated them into English as well:

  • Why am I interested in this position or this employer?
  • What kind of goals I have for the next position? How about for the next five years?
  • What kind of things I’m dreaming about? How could this place help me to fulfill my dreams?
  • What kind of workplace would be dream workplace? How this particular position/employer fits to that image?

5.Get to know the employers you’re applying to

To convince the future employer about your suitability you must know the employer. So, take time to get to know the company: what kind of things they value? What kind of employees they have? This information can be found from job advertisements, career websites, social media, or just simply talking to the employees who work there now. When you get to know the company, you may also realize that you don’t want to work there. They may not offer the flexibility you work, or the values of the company don’t match yours.

Specially if you’re looking for a work as a non-Finnish speaker it is useful to get to know the companies. How international they are? Is it possible to work for them without speaking fluent Finnish? If you are not sure if Finnish is mandatory or not just call to the recruiter and ask about it. Sometimes they have mentioned Finnish in the ad but they are willing to negotiate about it.  Applying job is hard work so it can make your life easier if you focus only on the companies, and tasks that are interesting for you.

6.Be active but know the limits

It is good to be active when applying to job. There may jobs that are not applicable yet but if you contact the company on time you may find about them before others. It is also useful to network with people from interesting companies, so don’t be afraid of sending LinkedIn messages, or attend to events that you find interesting.

However, in Finland people appreciate that they are left alone so know your limits of how active you can be. Sending one message, and then following it up once may be fine but sending five messages in a row may ruin your chances. Also, recruiters may not appreciate if you send them message about if your application was received because you will get that message from the system, or you can check it by logging into the recruitment system. Same goes also for calling the recruiter: if you don’t have any proper question, don’t call.

7.Get to know yourself, and your previous experience

If you don’t have experience for some role or your experience comes from other country you may need to think more about selling yourself, and your skills. Some skills like legislation or reporting standards may differ from country to country so you may need to take some courses to update them. But some skills are more than applicable for other countries as well, but it may need some extra effort to sell them because unfortunately many recruiters/recruiting supervisors have biases.

What I mean by getting to know yourself is listing everything you’ve done previously, what kind of feedback you’ve received, what kind of projects you’ve been involved, and what do you think are your strengths as an employee. When you have that information gathered you can think about how all this experience, and skills will benefit you for a new role. Of course, also knowing the role, and its demands will help you to match your skills for that.

8.Use LinkedIn

Applying job is not only the traditional way of using job portals with CVs and cover letters. It also includes networking and using social media to do that. LinkedIn is an excellent tool for that because it will at the same time work as an electronic CV, new tool for job hunting, and a great place to get to know new people. Being active there may help you to find opportunities that are not found elsewhere. In addition to that you may get contact messages straight from recruiters.

To get the best out of LinkedIn you should keep your profile updated. This means including there as much information as possible. Describe what you’ve done previously, what you want to do in the future, and include all the possible key words with which you want to be found. Be also active by adding interesting people to your network, and share content either related to your expertise, your interests, or even your journey as a job applicant.

9.Ask help

Job hunting is very hard work, and it may take you to some deep places if you don’t succeed at first. That’s why it’s important to have people around you who can support you. Sometimes you also need second opinion for your application documents, and the ways you apply to work. If you are not chosen for a specific position, ask feedback on what you could do better.

Since it may be hard to find work in Finland it may be useful to try to find a mentor for you for job application journey. You can ask for mentor by writing about that in LinkedIn or go to specific forums for that. Different associations offer mentors for their members, and there are websites specialized for people finding mentor or someone to mentor. Try for example:

10.Be personal, and do it your way

When you are trying to find the next step in your career it’s important to differentiate yourself from others. One way to do that is by being personal. If the old-fashioned way of sending CV and cover letter is not working for you, do it your way. Maybe videos, power point presentation, or creating your blog related to job hunting works for you and makes it possible to show all the best qualities in you.

Other way to be personal is trying to tell some surprising things about you. What if you present yourself in a different way? For example, instead of saying that I’m a recruitment professional looking for new challenges I could say skiing enthusiastic recruiter looking for next exciting step in her career. You can also use personal examples when arguing why you are a great match for the position. My sister really stands out when she talked about the Christmas treat survey as an example of good organization, and data skills.

Hope you enjoyed these tips and got something new for your job application process. Let me know if these English tips were something you would like to read even more, and if there are some themes you would like to know more



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