Looking for a job is not easy and many challenges come up during a search. And if you are in Finland, then you must also overcome the challenge of the most difficult language on this planet.
These days, I notice an increased number of articles from jobseekers in Finland with issues about local language requirements, experience, and everything else. I don’t mean to trivialize the difficulties, but one can only control certain factors.
Here are some ideas that have helped me to stand out and get the attention of a prospective employer. Some of these are more difficult than others, but I have seen several candidates land interviews and roles with these approaches. Importantly, a role that the candidate deserves!
1. Do you have a search strategy?
The Finnish language requirement is the biggest hurdle for job seekers in Finland. So, which companies should I target? My recommendation will be 20% of your time on LinkedIn advertised roles and 80% on below:
Create a list with your target companies (A list of 30 prospective companies based on below criteria, start networking on LinkedIn/Twitter and closely follow their updates)
– Expand the job locations in your search within a Nordics headquartered company (with operations in Finland) to Finland, Sweden and Norway. Companies might not have an advertised role in Finland, but there will always be few hiring managers who will be happy to hire you for other Nordics roles, located here. (I’ve found few roles like this)
Context: Companies follow a headcount planning process and the role that fits your profile might have been approved in another country
– Remote working is becoming more common now and fantastic employers like Shopify, Lambda School, Slack, Square, Upwork, and others across industries are moving to the remote-first model. This is a great opportunity and timing to overcome the locational disadvantage and land a role with a global employer
– For startup jobs follow the Angel investors and VC firms in Finland and network with investors:
List of VCs in Finland: https://www.crunchbase.com/hub/finland-venture-capital-investors
Finnish business angels can be accessed here: https://www.fiban.org
These investors have direct access to growth startups and opportunities within their portfolio companies.
Angel list is a good resource for global startup jobs with several remote jobs https://angel.co/jobs
2. Do the job that is already advertised.
Once you see a role that fits your profile, you need to give it your 200%.
How can you make your application stand out from the crowd?
How can you overcome the language requirement and the bias in the system?
Go out and do the work that is expected from the role. Take the cue from the job responsibilities, basic qualifications, and create one slide for each of the listed items. Add value, showcase your expertise and research, and let your application shine.
Get your application and presentation reviewed by friends and others in the industry, to get the words and tonality right.
This is the best way to invest a few hours and stand out from other applicants.
A logistics person can create the strategy, plan, and efficiency improvement suggestions for say, a retailer or a food delivery startup
Customer service candidates can call up the prospective company’s customer service, chat, email, and recommend improvements to the current process. This research will also help you in your interviews with the company
HR candidates can research the prospective company’s glassdoor, LinkedIn posts, employee feedback, employer brand image, annual reports (with pulse results), policy pages and other documents to recommend people process improvements and tool recommendations.
Designers can create banners, posters and other creative material. Look for the company’s brand book and use the same colours, fonts, brand images to leave a lasting impression.
Students can conduct research, send cold emails, and write a well-researched report for the company.
3. Event networking.
One of the low hanging networking opportunities, in any event, is with the moderators and organizers. While everyone is crowding around the speakers and stalls, moderators go unnoticed. Moderators usually hold good positions within their companies and are well connected.
Remember, they are also connected with the speakers, organizers and can introduce you to the speakers.
4. Ironical, but beat the system and HR processes.
An application process is often difficult and recruiters are swamped with hundreds of applications. A typical recruiter will be supporting 5-10 departments. The best way is to get connected and noticed by someone in the team that you’re applying to.
So how do we get connected?
LinkedIn search with the team name usually gives you good results. You can connect with current and former employees in that company.
Other ideas to build your network include Sauna, hobby classes, gym as a place to network.
If you have kids, then parents of other kids are extremely valuable network. You keep meeting them at daycare, school, hobby classes, and other places. Open up and initiate a career discussion. In most cases, they don’t know that you are looking for a job.
5. Create and promote your website.
Your CV and LinkedIn profile holds limited information. So why not supplement this with a personal website? These days we have low-cost options for websites and it is a fantastic platform to use innovative methods like video CV, infographics, portfolio, and other content that is relevant for your application.
6. Walk into the office building.
Old school, but why not visit the office of your prospective company? There are very few hiring managers who’ll say no to a quick 10min coffee in their office building. So, find your way into their office building, and create your luck.
In most cases, offices in Finland have an open restaurant, guest area, or a cafe where you can go and park yourself for a few hours. For example, I know that restaurants and cafes in Nokia, TietoEvry, Fortum, Microsoft, Hatch, Maria 01, A-talent, Santander are definitely accessible for outsiders.
If someone sends me a note saying they are visiting our office and would like to meet for 10 min, then I’ll most likely say yes to that coffee break. And a printed CV in that meeting is bound to get noticed. If not anything, you’ll receive direct feedback on your CV.
7. LinkedIn and Twitter paid ads, if possible.
If you are pursuing a career in business, technology, research, or a creative field, then spending a few Euros with paid ads and driving traffic to your page is a good investment. Place a strong call to action and make it easy for them to contact you.
With paid ads, you get to target specific roles and profiles like HR, CEOs, CTOs, and others.
8. Get a colleague or a friend to post.
Is there someone who can advertise for you?
You might not have your professional network, but is there a way to get someone else to advertise for you? It can also be another fellow jobseeker, friend’s spouse, or someone else. It is possible that their network is looking for someone with your skills and experience.
This is a big ask in Finland, but worth trying!
9. Start a hobby project.
The biggest problem with job hunting is uncertainty. There is no definite deadline and no certainty that it’ll not happen again. So why not start a hobby project and let it challenge you positively?
Volunteer, look for non-profit organizations, events, NewCo, Maria-01 events and other places.
The biggest frustration for good talent is the often raised question
This is not fair. Why should we go through all this trouble?
I completely agree that it is unfair and the current system does not always select the best talent for the job. We must overcome this short term hurdle to bring the long term change.
Over the last 12 years in Finland, I have advocated for this change and have personally seen this happening across companies. And as a business leader I have always pushed for the best talent. I have also seen several friends land great roles here across HR, Marketing, Sales, Design, Development, Research, and other functions. Hope the above tips have given you some new ways to find your dream job.
If you have tried any of these, please share your learnings. And also what has worked for you?