Finnish working culture – what is it like and how to get a job in Finland if you are a foreign student?
These were the themes that were discussed on 29 October in the Career Event, organised together by the Career Services of the School of Business and the Association of Economics Students in Helsinki (KY).
According to Annemari Kivelä from the Career Services, the biggest challenge for foreign students in finding jobs in Finland is the lack of Finnish skills.
'In many companies the customers expect service in Finnish. On the other hand, there are some global companies or their subsidiaries that are specifically looking for recruits who master different foreign languages and are familiar with different cultures. Start-ups nowadays often operate in an international setting from the onset, and therefore may also be looking to hire students with diverse backgrounds.'
Four guests were invited to participate in the panel discussion of the event. Outi Sortino (Manager, Employer Branding and Leadership Development, Stora Enso), Johanna Fagerström (Project Manager, Kiosked Ltd), Rilana Riikkinen (Doctoral Researcher, School of Business) and Larisa Topalo (M.Sc. student in Corporate Communication and the CEMS International Management degree) offered tips to the students from their personal point of view.
Before the panel Roope Lääkkölä, SEFE’s local contact person, introduced SEFE’s services for the students and our ARENA Career Fair Coordinator Siiri Salli took a few minutes to introduce the upcoming ARENA Career Fair, encouraging the students to participate in the fair on the 12th of November.
'There are a number of companies present at the fair that do not require Finnish skills, and they are marked separately in the fair guide. Be active and go talk with them!' advised Siiri.
How to prepare for job hunting? What tips for foreign graduates on how to find a job in Finland?
Those were the most important themes covered in the panel hosted by Jonna Söderholm, Head of Corporate Relations and Career Services. The panelists offered clear tips.
'First of all, put your CV and application letter in order. If you can show that there is even one job experience from Finland in your CV, it is a big plus', advised Rilana Riikkinen.
Participating in a similar Career Services event and a CV-clinic about a year ago and meeting Rovio representatives in each eventually led Larisa Topalo to her first assignment in Finland.
'The first position opens up the possibilities to get another one. To get a job you need to be proactive, persistant, positive, creative and believe that everything is possible!'
Outi Sortino from Stora Enso reads through hundreds of applications each year. She advised the students to focus on certain branches that they really want to work for in the future.
'Know what you are after and focus on those areas, don’t just send generic applications all over the place. If you have special skills, bring them forth.' Outi also emphasised the importance of a well prepared LinkedIn profile. 'Show your special skills and include a good summary in your profile, it will work for your advantage.'
'Go after the internships or trainee-programs, they are a good start', advised Johanna Fagerström.
Larisa reminded that having a master’s degree from Aalto University is seen as an asset in the job market. Rilana advised to use the large number of career events, visiting lectures and other opportunities to meet employers in the School of Business as a tool for building your own network.
According to Outi Sortino, the upcoming ARENA Career fair is the perfect opportunity to hunt for open positions.
'Go there and ask for contacts in your special area of interest. For example we have a new international trainee-program starting in January 2015. See you at ARENA!'