DOCUMENTS FOR JOB-SEARCH

When starting to look for work, it is essential that the materials you use, such as your CV, application letter and portfolio, are as good as possible. They are the first impression to the employer, offering information on your work experience, achievements, competence and skills, as well as your personality and what you are like as an employee. Present yourself in the best light possible!

Below you can find some examples of how to prepare your documents for job-search. However, keep in mind that there is no single right model or way to make them. It is much more important that your writing is personal, clear and easy to read. Customise your text for the job you are applying for and remember to follow any application instructions provided by the employer.

CV

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A CV?

CV provides basic information about you: your education, work experience, responsibilities, achievements, special skills and what you do with your free time. It presents you to the reader in a nutshell. Don’t forget to include your contact information so you can be reached.

What is the ideal length for a CV?

You should build your CV on the basis of its contents. However, for students, the length should not exceed two pages. There may be large numbers of applicants for certain jobs.

Should the CV be in Finnish or English?

The language used in the job advertisement is normally the one you should use when applying for the position. If the job ad is in Finnish but does not list fluent Finnish language skills as a requirement, you can also apply with a CV written in English.

Should the CV include a photo?

It is highly recommended in Finland. A photo provides the recruiter with a much more diverse image of the applicant and helps them to remember the person better. A naturally positive, good-quality headshot is the safest choice for a CV photo.

Can I mention a job in the CV if I have no certificate to show for it?

Absolutely. If necessary, you can also ask for a job certificate afterwards as the employee is obligated to provide a job certificate up to 10 years after the termination of the employment relationship – in Finland.

Can I mention a job where I was not an employed worker?

It is worthwhile to mention any experience that has increased your competence. Hobbies, positions of trust, helping with family businesses, volunteer work, etc. can constitute important work experience.

How do I mark skill certificates (e.g. occupational safety card) in the CV?

Mark the expiration date of certificates that are temporarily valid. For certificates that are valid until further notice, mark the issue date. These cards are used in Finland.

Can the CV refer to additional information I have online?

If you have a LinkedIn profile, a portfolio or any other online material relevant to your job application, you can include a link to them in your CV.

Can I mark my military service/civil service in the CV?

Yes, all work experience and other training is always worth mentioning. The employer may also be interested to know whether your service has not yet begun.

Should I use the Europass CV when applying for jobs in Finland?

The format of the Europass CV is not the best if apply for positions in companies. You may want to use other formats.

Why would a recruiter be interested in what I do with my free time?

Hobbies and other interests will provide them with an idea of your personality. They can sometimes offer an advantage in the competition. It is also important to show that your life is not just about studying and work.

 

WHERE CAN I FIND EXAMPLES OF CVS?

We have made you some examples of CVs in the form of job application stories. The examples are available in Finnish, Swedish and English.

Application letter

HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM A CV?

A good application letter answers the question, “Why should I read this CV?” A good application letter does not dryly repeat the contents of the CV but, in a very compelling manner, highlights the points that are most relevant to the position you are applying for. It convinces the reader of your motivation for the position and describes your work personality, i.e. your characteristics and personality traits at the workplace.

WHY IS INDIVIDUALITY IMPORTANT?

The more the application has been customised for that particular position, the more effective it is in attracting the reader’s interest. A positive, unprejudiced and can-do attitude is always a great selling point when seeking for a job, and it should not be covered up in the application either! Do not add a salary request to your job application unless specifically asked to do so. In this phase, you are only competing for a chance to have a job interview (or a preliminary telephone/Skype/video interview); being excessively active in the matter may give the interviewer the wrong image.

WHAT SHOULD I WRITE IN MY APPLICATION LETTER?

The application letter does not need to be long, especially if its content starts to drag even a little because of redundant information. Even a few phrases may constitute an excellent application letter (who I am, why I am applying for this position, what makes me a worthwhile candidate for the position). You can write a short application letter directly in the e-mail or in the free text field of a recruitment form, but you must always send the CV as an attachment. A short, positive and concise cover letter will be sure to win over an application that is long, formal and rambling!

WHERE CAN I FIND EXAMPLES?

We have prepared an example letter. You should not copy it directly, but it can offer some tips.

Portfolio

WHAT IS A PORTFOLIO?

A portfolio is a folder containing samples of your work. Its purpose is to present your skills and know-how. It is used when applying for a job or a degree place, as well as for monitoring the development of your professional skills and self-evaluating what you have learned.

Portfolios used to refer to actual physical folders that held the work samples, but nowadays they are usually electronic. The recipient is more likely to expect a link that takes them to an easily browsable site.

WHY AND WHEN IS A PORTFOLIO NECESSARY?

With a portfolio, employers may be more likely to invite you to an interview; visual proof of completed projects are more credible than a list of adjectives in your cover letter. It allows you to demonstrate what you have worked on before.

Even if you have not been asked to bring a portfolio, we recommend you bring it anyway and present it at a suitable moment. You can also add a link to an electronic portfolio in your CV and your LinkedIn profile so that the interviewer has the chance to see it before the interview.

WHAT SHOULD I INCLUDE IN MY PORTFOLIO?

Your portfolio should highlight your best work, and quantity does not equal quality. Only include work relevant to the job you are applying for. The recipient expects to have access to relevant material as quickly as possible. The structure of your portfolio should be logical.

It is advisable to remove the oldest items or at least give them a title that prevents them from ever being interpreted as the most recent work. If you have collaborated with other people, it is important to clearly state your areas of responsibility, so be sure to mention your role in each project.

HOW DO I START COMPILING MY PORTFOLIO?

Before creating your portfolio, spend some time browsing the sites of other professionals in your field and ask yourself what works and what doesn’t. There are several online portfolio platforms that you can use. You can easily demonstrate your art skills with the use of free online platforms such as DeviantArt and ArtStation.

LinkedIn profile

SECTIONS OF A LINKEDIN PROFILE

LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for job hunting and networking. The service’s popularity in Finland has increased at a steady pace, and many recruiters use it to find new employees. Make sure you update your LinkedIn profile at regular intervals!

PHOTOGRAPH

The photograph is an important part of a LinkedIn profile for many reasons. When you send a LinkedIn invitation to somebody you know, you are more likely to be accepted if the person recognises you from your photo. Above all, the picture makes your profile more human and approachable. Select a smart, clear and professional headshot for your profile.

HEADLINE

The headline under your name states who you are in the working life or what your next goal is. Write your core competencies and current situation in the heading.

Add keywords in the heading that allow you to be found, e.g. Environmental Engineer with Management Experience | Wastewater & Sludge Treatment | Energy Efficiency | Design Control.

If you are looking for a job, state it openly, e.g. Looking for junior level digital marketing manager | social media | SEO | Community Manager.

LOCATION

Recruiters often use location as a criterion for finding candidates. Choose your location based on the area in which you want to find employment. If you are finishing your studies abroad but looking for a job in the Turku region, add Turku as your location.

SUMMARY

You can add a summary to the top of your profile. It offers an excellent opportunity to highlight your most essential skills or what kind of work you are currently looking for. The point is to get to the core of your competence. Anyone viewing your profile will read your summary and then decide if they want to know more about you.

These are some examples of things you can mention in your summary:
• What you are currently doing and what are the most essential skills needed in the job: What, when, why, where and how?
• What are your most important achievements and accomplishments?
• What are your objectives?
• What are your strengths?
• Describe how you work and what you are like as a person.

If you are looking for work, say so! Describe what you would like to do, what you are interested in and where you would like to take your career in the future. Contact information: how can you be reached?

YOUR ARTICLES AND ACTIVITY

The My Activity section shows your last status updates. You should make use of this section, as your posts strengthen your areas of expertise. Write blog posts about topics that interest you, comment on other people’s posts and share them. All this will be visible in the My Activity section.

WORK EXPERIENCE

Along with paid work, this section is good for presenting experience from summer jobs, internships and school projects.

State your tasks and areas of responsibility: “What I did, where and when.”
If necessary, write a short introduction of your employer.
Who you worked with and what tools you used.
Describe the results and achievements of the work.
Add interesting facts, figures and statistics.
Did you receive any feedback?

Pro tip! Remember to add links to each piece of work experience that lead to other places online where you can demonstrate your expertise. These could include your own website or YouTube channel. You can also add other presentations, work samples, web sites or videos.

EDUCATION

Add your secondary school and university degrees. Add a link to the university; this way, you will be listed as an alumnus after you graduate. Mention your main and secondary subjects and important course modules!

SKILLS & ENDORSEMENTS

Fill in the skills section as extensively as possible. Once you have listed you skills, other users can endorse you.
Note that without opening the section, only the three top skills are visible. Make sure those three are the most important for you.
Remember reciprocity and endorse others as well!

RECOMMENDATIONS

You can request and receive written recommendations. They bring the kind of added value to your LinkedIn profile that other types of resumes normally lack. Recommendations can come from a supervisor, a colleague, a university friend, a subordinate, a co-operation partner or a customer, to name a few.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Language skills: Including your language skills is especially important if you are working in an international environment or wish to do so in the future.
Organizations: e.g. organisations, university associations, organised communities. Describe your tasks, your areas of responsibility and give an example of what you did.
Courses: usually supplementary education; you can also mention courses that are relevant to your expert profile, such as language courses.
Certifications: usually supplementary education, for instance all quality-related competence, official qualifications, laboratory standards, the hygiene passport, etc.
Projects: courses, team projects completed during your studies; state what you did and how, and who were your teammates. A great practical example of project work experience!
Volunteer experience: This section is for experience of non-paid work: projects, events, tutoring, mentoring, sparring, helping, etc.

Tips for LinkedIn

LANGUAGE

Although LinkedIn has established itself as one of the most popular social media platforms in Finland, it does not offer Finnish as a language option yet. Most Finnish users create their profiles in English. Thus far, very few LinkedIn searches are done in Finnish, so writing your profile in English means it is easier to find.

OPEN CANDIDATES

Remember to check the Open Candidates box that tells recruiters that you are looking for work. The functionality is especially well-suited for employed people, as it is only visible to paid Recruiter packages.

YOUR NETWORK

Widen your network by inviting friends from school and university, your professors, people from your hobbies, family members and acquaintances from social media.

Send an invitation immediately after meeting them, and remember to write a few words to go with the connection request.

GROUPS

Joining LinkedIn groups allows you to stay up-to-date on what is going on in your industry.

Next to LinkedIn’s group discussions is the Jobs tab, where recruiters post job ads. You are quite likely to find jobs that interest you in the Finnish LinkedIn groups that concern your own industry. If you are planning to work abroad at some point, you should also follow international groups.

The easiest way to find groups of your own industry is to look at the profiles of other people. Join the groups that are popular among professionals in your field!

CAREER PREFERENCE

Make use of LinkedIn’s Career Preference function. The Jobs section allows you to state what kind of job opportunities you are looking for, as well as your preferred area and industry. Fill in your wishes concerning your future job. You will receive personal notifications concerning openings that would suit you. A clear description of what you want in a job shows recruiters that you are goal-oriented.

KEYWORDS

Where can I find keywords concerning my field?

Find at least ten available jobs that interest you and copy and paste their texts to wordcounter.net. The website counts how often specific words occur in a text.

For example, if you want to work in environmental engineering, find interesting environmental engineer jobs on LinkedIn or monster.fi.

Based on the example above, you would receive the following keyword list:

Engineer 61 (9%) 2. project 52 (8%) 3. waste water 42 (6%) 4. experience 41 (6%) 5. environment 41 (6%) 6. management 34 (5%) 7. engineering 31 (5%) 8. energy 30 (5%) 9. languages 30 (5%) 10. teamwork skills 27 (4%)

Based on the Wordcounter.net keywords, an appropriate heading might be as follows: Environmental Engineer with Management Experience | Wastewater & Sludge Treatment | Energy Efficiency

This heading explains the reader which jobs you are interested in, but it also shows them your areas of expertise. It can be useful to add some of the keywords around your LinkedIn profile.

Job portals and online CVs

WHAT IS A JOB PORTAL?

Nowadays, many larger companies use online job portals and recruitment systems. For the applicants, the system means filling in an online form. The systems are particularly useful when recruiting for a job that may attract a large number of applicants. This allows the person responsible for the recruitment to easily look for applicants using keywords and browse through the applicants’ experience and competence without having to open the attachments.

You can usually use the same profile to apply for other job openings in the company. Once you have carefully filled in the form in the system, the next application process will be much easier.

WHAT SHOULD I DO BEFORE FILLING IN THE FORM?

Finalise your CV and cover letter as a word document before you start filling in the online form of the system. Filling in the form is easier if you already have the necessary information at hand. In addition, the form may have a time limit, so make sure you will not find yourself in a hurry.

HOW DO I FILL IN THE ONLINE FORM?

You should be careful and thorough when filling in the form even if it asks for the information you already have in your CV. You must fill in all fields, as blanks will be noticed quickly when your information is reviewed. Also keep in mind that it is not possible to attach additional files to all forms. Include all necessary information directly in the form.

Compress the essential information about your competence into the character limits of the fields. Remember to emphasise any skills that are particularly relevant to the job you are applying for. Never copy your application text into the fields or answer with just a couple of words!

OTHER THINGS TO NOTE

You should keep search engine optimisation in mind when filling in the form, as recruiters often run word searches on the information submitted to the system. Use keywords to describe your competence when filling in the free additional information fields in the form.

Think carefully about your answers to any open questions concerning the job and the required expertise. The recruiter will pay particular attention to them. Good answers will allow you to make a good first impression.

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