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Job seeking is not limited to updating your CV and submitting applications. Finding employment begins with identifying your personal competence and potential.

Stages of job seeking

Successful job seeking is based on understanding your personal competence, strengths and motivation. Knowledge of various career options and requirements is equally necessary.

  • Self-knowledge
  • Awareness of occupational options
  • Choices and decision-making 
  • Practical job seeking and contacting employers

Writing a good job application and updating your LinkedIn profile will only be possible after getting to know yourself and your options.

Be active and approach interesting employers. Familiarise yourself with the potential of different organisations and submit open applications.

Remember to explore several job seeking portals as well. Keep in mind, however, that by submitting applications for publicly announced positions, you are covering only about 30% of all available jobs. According to studies, some 70 to 80% of jobs in Finland are known as hidden jobs. In other words, they are not announced to the public.

Self-knowledge

When looking for a job, it is important to identify your personal competence, describe your areas of expertise and communicate your knowhow.

Important areas of self-knowledge include personal skills, motivation, interests, goals, values, strengths and areas for development.

Self-knowledge can be improved by answering, for example, these questions:

  • What kind of work interests and inspires me?
  • Based on prior experience, what kind of duties have I found enjoyable?
  • If I have no prior job experience, what kind of activities do I enjoy?
  • What kind of values should my future job and employer represent?
  • What kind of issues do I wish to promote?
  • What goals do I have related to my future job and career?
  • Which practical matters have an impact on the kind of work I want to and can do in the near future?

Personal strengths can be mapped out by completing these exercises:

Next, map out your specialities:

  • List your central specialisations based on, for example, your major and minor subject studies. Think about the phenomena and questions your discipline studies. What kind of issues, themes and questions have you found particularly interesting or useful in your studies? What are your core skills (or what would you like them to be)?
  • List the most important transferable academic skills you have developed during your studies, such as methodological skills, the absorption, analysis and critical evaluation of information, and written and oral presentation.
  • General career skills, such as skills in languages, presentation and groupwork, communication, problem-solving, time management and information technology
  • It is also important to map out values that you hold important.

Document your skills

For you to see how you gain skills (understanding, knowhow) during your studies, it is advisable to regularly document this progress. You can write a learning journal, in which you record those learning experiences that are most important to you and inspire you, what you have learned, and what you would still like to learn. You may attach your work (e.g., essays, reports, project assignments, etc.) to the journal and document your progress, in addition to text, with pictures and/or videos.

This documentation can be done, for example, with the help of the portfolio tool of the My Studies service, or by drafting what is known as a meta-CV during your studies, where you record your essential skills.

You can also add skills to your LinkedIn profile, as well as various material and links, such as presentations and videos. This will make your profile a sort of extended CV or portfolio. Remember to check your privacy settings if you don’t want to share your material publicly.

Occupational knowledge

Finnish universities regularly monitor the careers of their graduates. Check up information on the placement of graduates from the University of Helsinki.

Information interviews

Information interviews can be conducted by anyone at any time. They are an excellent way to get answers to questions such as

  • What is daily work like in a position in which you are interested? What is an average workday like in that position?
  • What kind of understanding and knowhow are required for the position? What are its biggest challenges?
  • Can I apply for this position? What does it require? What would be considered a merit? Do I need to expand my skills or gain competence in a new area? What is the wage level?
  • How is recruitment carried out in the organisation? What are the outlooks and requirements of the organisation? How can I approach the right people to apply for a position?

You can interview individuals working in positions you are interested in. If there are no suitable persons in your network, you can look for them through, for example, the LinkedIn alumni search.

LinkedIn alumni search

The LinkedIn alumni search works like this:

  • Sign in to LinkedIn.
  • Enter “University of Helsinki” into the search field at the top.
  • Select “Schools” from the top categories and then again “University of Helsinki”
  • On the University-specific page, select “See alumni”.

Now you will be able to search over 70,000 alumni profiles by either using predetermined categories (location, employer, field, studies, skills) or entering search words into the search field.

After using the search criteria of your choice to narrow down the alumni to a group suitable to your purposes, you will be able to explore the profile data of the alumni matching these criteria.

Töissä.fi website

Through the Töissä.fi service, you will be able to explore the titles and salary information of graduates from various disciplines. The service also includes hundreds of stories from professional life describing various professional duties and the required skills. The narrators also provide tips for students. Visit the töissä.fi website.

Entrepreneurship

At the University of Helsinki, activities, people and events related to entrepreneurship are brought together by Think Company. The Think Company facilities, open to all, are located at the city centre, Viikki and Meilahti.

Aspiring entrepreneurs receive support in many forms. If you are planning to become an entrepreneur, you can apply for help from NewCo Helsinki. Help for starting a business is also available on the Suomi.fi website.

Available jobs and traineeships

Open positions have been collected in the Available jobs and traineeships section.

CV and application

A job application and a resumé, or CV, are still the most important documents required when applying for a job. Make your CV and application relevant to the position you are applying for, regardless of whether or not you are basing them on a job announcement. If you are writing an open application, find out the requirements and needs of the particular employer. All requirements need not be met, but if you are lacking in a certain area, think of options for developing yourself.

Content:

A resumé/CV should include the following:

  • Date: When using an existing template, always remember to update the date.
  • Applicant’s details: Verify the validity of your details and potential links to online sources, such as a LinkedIn profile, blog or, for example, a Prezi presentation. Depending on content, presentations can also be under another section. For example, a blog may constitute a work sample.
  • Profile: A brief summary about you/your skills, strengths and goals in relation to the position applied for. Matters related to the teaching profession should be emphasised when applying for a teacher position, while the same applicant may well focus on different areas when applying for, for example, an administrative position.
  • Education: Degrees/target degree, starting from the most recent
  • Job experience: You can itemise your job experience either chronologically or by focusing on the experience most relevant to the applied position.
  • Language skills: Written and oral skill levels, itemised by language
  • IT skills/other skills relevant to the applied position
  • Elected positions and equivalent
  • Hobbies: Not necessary, but these provide information on you as an applicant.
  • Referees: It is advisable to have referees. If some time has passed since you originally asked for their recommendation, they should be asked in advance for consent and informed of your application intentions.
  • Photograph: Your photo should be appropriate, representing only you – no group Christmas photos and the like.

You can maintain a crude CV/portfolio where you collect experiences and skills gained. However, always remember to individualise your CV for the position to which you are applying. A template application and CV are available in the Guide for the Hidden Labour Market.

A job application is a concise marketing letter focused on you, with the objective of convincing the recruiter that the position in question motivates you and that you are in the possession of the required skills, or at least willing to develop yourself.

Appearance:

Your CV should be easy to skim through and clear. Make it easy to find the key details: use headings and groupings. Highlight matters relevant to the position to which you are applying. It is also advisable to think about the type of job you are applying to. Does a modicum of creativity work, or is it best to stick to a more conventional approach? Content is, however, always key.

Visual templates can be found, for example, here:

Online application:

Many businesses and organisations use e-recruitment systems, in addition to which you can store your CV on databases employed by recruitment businesses, such as Monster and Adecco. These forms should be filled conscientiously, leaving no section unfilled.

Here are some tips for using CV databases:

1.) The CV heading is important and will be uploaded to the service. Bad headings are those that don’t profile you in any way, such as “Best!!!” or “Average Joe CV”. Instead, “Recently graduated MsSocSc, interested in HR” or “Humanist skilled in project management” are much more illustrative.

2.) Search engines pick search terms, so use them. Search terms include skills and titles, such as sales manager. Try to use search terms in their basic form in your CV. If this is impossible or search terms do not fit into the layout of your CV, you can add terms at the end of your CV in white font, which makes them visible only to search engines.

3.) Often, only recently added CVs are searched for, so remember to update yours with sufficient frequency. Your CV can rise to the top even with the smallest of amendments.

4.) Misspellings are unacceptable. Show your CV to others to get feedback.

Video-CV

You can stand out by making a video CV.

Take a look at examples of video CVs:

Plan ahead and concentrate on substance. Keep the video short, preferably around one minute.

Pitch

The structure of a pitch can be the following:

  • Introduction: name and “heading”
  • Core competence (in one or two sentences)
  • Other skills/areas of expertise/interests (in one or two sentences)
  • X years of experience in A and B
  • Personal strengths (verb + subject, one or two sentences)
  • I have received feedback on… (one or two sentences)
  • Personal goal and finish

Key points: Lighting, eye level, framing (portrait), sound check, background (what is visible), clothing, potential cue cards, eyes on the lens! Be yourself!

Please take a look at a video on how to shoot a video CV with your mobile device. Technical instructions on how to shoot a video CV and distribute it through various media.

Students of the University of Helsinki may also use the UniTube studio at Aleksandria to shoot their videos.

Social media in job seeking

Your personal image is created through social media, such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Your personal brand should be based on reality, and it requires maintenance. Networks you build must be sustained and your profile updated. Your brand is founded on skills, motivation, self-knowledge – reputation and personality traits – and networks. Google yourself regularly.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the most popular social medium used for job seeking. LinkedIn is a cost-free and eye-catching CV that enables networking. Through LinkedIn, you can reach groups and people important to you. LinkedIn helps you follow the careers of professionals in your field and even contact them.

Exhibiting knowhow and creating contacts facilitates job seeking towards the end of your studies. At the beginning of studies, profile building can start from the subject you are studying. Volunteer and NGO work, as well as links to blogs on hobbies or other matters, can also be included in the profile.

Be bold and network!

Instructions on creating a LinkedIn profile are available, for example, here:

LinkedIn for job seeking – instructions for 2017 (by Tom Laine, in Finnish only)

Twitter

Through Twitter, you can follow employers, recruitment services, and people and news in your field. Tweets can be screened with hashtags such as #rekry, #duuni, #työpaikat, #jobs, #career.

The number of Twitter users in Finland is on the rise. Twitter can also be used to attract visitors to your blog or Pinterest websites, or your job application video.

Blogs and SlideShare

Blogs and SlideShare can be utilised for displaying your expertise. Twitter, among others, can be used to direct visitors to your blog, and SlideShare can be embedded in your LinkedIn profile.

Facebook

Facebook is aiming to become a significant social medium also in the field of job seeking. Even though Facebook has not been considered the ideal place for creating a job-seeking profile, it may turn into just that in the future.  On Facebook, you can like employers.

Video: Using Social Media for Job Hunting
Career Services at the University of Helsinki and Meltwater co-organized an event on Using Social Media for Job Hunting (Spring 2018) . The whole event was recorded. The experts leading the event were Talent Acquisition Manager Mia Berglund and Sales Consultant Aku Karasti from Meltwater. See the tips on how to use social media on job hunting.

Job interview

Interviews are the most important tool for personal assessment. An invitation to an interview means that you have been identified as a potential applicant. Not until the interview, however, will your suitability to the work community and the position be determined.

When selecting interviewees, a special focus will be on applicants’ motivation and personality. Personality traits valued by employers include skills in interaction and groupwork, suitability for the position and work community, attitude towards work, a performance-oriented outlook, as well as the ability and will to learn. Prepare yourself well for the interview. Find out as much as you can about the employer. Information is available on the organisation’s website, on social media and through searching for the latest publications by the organisation or discussions concerning the organisation on Google.

Employment contract

You should familiarise yourself with the rules of professional life. The Ready for Working Life guide, published by the trade union confederation Akava, tells what you should and must take into consideration when signing an employment contract.