WORKING LIFE

Summer will soon be over and it can be a good idea to set your sights on your future job applications. Make a good impression on your employer and you might be able to go back to the same employer later on. At least you will gain a valuable referee for next time you are seeking for a job. In this section, we cover topics that you can use to advance your career after you have entered working life.

Unemployment fund (IAET)

WHAT IS IAET?

The IAET unemployment fund provides financial security if you find yourself unemployed after graduation. The fund pays its members an earnings-related allowance in case of unemployment, temporary layoffs or labour-policy measures, and job alternation compensation for those taking a job alternation leave. You can join the IAET unemployment fund if you are in an employment i.e. you have a valid employment contract. You should become a member as soon as your first summer job starts and ensure your earnings-related unemployment security while you are still studying.

WHY SHOULD I JOIN?

After graduation, you are entitled to earnings-related allowance if you have been in an employment for 26 weeks, thus meeting the employment condition, while also being a member of the unemployment fund.  The earnings-related allowance you get from the fund is significantly greater than the basic unemployment allowance. (See: http://www.kela.fi/web/en/amount-of-the-unemployment-benefit)

 

You can calculate the amount of your daily allowance on the IAET website: https://iaet.fi/en/allowance-calculator/

Your membership will begin on the day you submit the application if you pay the membership fee by the due date. The membership fee is paid annually for each calendar year.

WHAT IS THE FUND’S EMPLOYMENT CONDITION?

The employment condition is met when a fund member has worked for a minimum of 18 hours per week for 26 weeks during the 28 months that precede the unemployment.  Studies can lengthen this period up to seven years. This means that even a few summer jobs and a thesis job with an employment contract fulfill the employment condition. In other words, the required working period can consist of several individual periods; it does not have to be continuous.

Does work conducted on a grant apply?

A Master’s thesis work written on a grant is only included in the employment condition if you have been under an official employment contract during the work.

You can use the Kela calculator (http://www.kela.fi/web/en) to check whether you meet the employment condition. Note that the employment condition also involves a pay limit. Check the limit on the IAET unemployment fund website.

HOW DO I JOIN THE IAET FUND?

The easiest way to join the fund is through your own member information on the TEK website. The website of the IAET unemployment fund (https://iaet.fi/en/) contains a daily allowance calculator that you can use to get an estimate of your earnings-related allowance.

Is the allowance tax-deductible?

The allowance is subject to tax and is not tax-deductible. However, the fund’s membership fee is deductible.

Certificate of employment

Asking for a certificate of employment is essential after the termination of your employment. A certificate enables you to demonstrate your work experience when applying for jobs in the future. It is up for the employee to decide how extensive they want the certificate to be.

WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN A JOB CERTIFICATE OF EMPLOYMENT?

• Name and social security number of the employee.
• Name of the business.
• Duration of the employment: start and end dates.
• Job title.
• Description of the main duties.
• Date and signature.

WHAT CAN I REQUEST TO HAVE IN AN EXTENSIVE CERTIFICATE OF EMPLOYMENT?

• The reason of termination of the employment (for example: “fixed-term employment”).
• An assessment of working skills and conduct.
• The employer should not mark this information in the testimonial without checking with the employee.

CAN I ASK FOR A JOB CERTIFICATE OF EMPLOYMENT A LONG TIME AFTER THE EMPLOYMENT?

The employeer is obligated to provide a job certificate up to 10 years after the termination of the employment relationship – in Finland. A testimonial of one’s own skills and behaviour can be requested for 5 years after the termination of employment. If the original certificate has been lost or damaged or the employment was terminated more than 10 years ago, the employer is only obligated to provide a testimonial if it does not cause unreasonable inconvenience for them.

CAN I USE A PREVIOUS EMPLOYER AS A REFERENCE?

If you thought your employment went well, ask your employer in advance if you can use them as a reference when applying for jobs next year.

Competence analysis

It’s easier to aim towards interesting stuff when you know exactly what interests you where you’re good at.

KNOWING YOURSELF IS A STEP FORWARD

We all are equipped with more skills than those we used to describe our work. Due to differences in work history and other experiences, everybody is equipped with their own set of skills and knowledge. Working on various tasks provides you with a good opportunity to think about your competence and the best ways to develop it. Developing sufficient competence and being able to identify your own skills are key when you are trying to advance in your career. Discovering new sides of yourself allows you to take a step towards reaching your dreams.

Nobody has the time to try out everything in person. The next best way to get information is to find out what other people have experienced. Think about what kinds of people you have met through your work and hobbies. Ask them questions and try to find out how they do things and what you could learn from them.

TAKE NOTES OF THE FOLLOWING

Take note of, for example, what is most interesting to you. What is the subject or activity that makes you lose track of time? Have your interests changed from earlier times?

You can also think about what makes you excited and what gives you energy to help you get through life and work.

What have you learned in different work situations, jobs and workplaces? These may include things that aren’t directly related to the core of your work. What about your hobbies? What would you teach to a new colleague about your own job?

Where have you been most successful? Which skills and competence have you used when you have succeeded?

What are your working life values?

EXPERIMENT

Your years as a student are the time that allows you the most freedom of experimentation and professional curiosity.

So be the James T. Kirk of your career – explore! Try out things, ask questions, make observations, find different ways to be active.

Boldly experimenting with different things, roles, methods of working, environments and teams is the best way to find the ones that are suitable for you. Presenting practical examples is also useful in job applications.

At the same time, you will certainly find new, even surprising interests, not to mention new, previously unknown areas to which you could apply your competence.

Samalla löydät varmasti yllättäviäkin kiinnostuksen kohteita, puhumattakaan uusista, aiemmin tuntemattomista alueista, joissa voisit käyttää osaamistasi.

COMBINATIONS!

Career planning is about combining all these things – information, experiences, feelings, and values – into a suitable, meaningful package that serves your way of life and your style. You can clarify your competence by writing a story about yourself. As your career advances at a workplace, you must be able to prove that the work has taught you something substantial. Being able to identify and describe your competence will make it easier for you to stand out in situations such as salary negotiations.

Thinking about your competence may also boost your self confidence. Confidence is not the only quality you will need in your career, but it can offer an important basis. You don’t have to go overboard – just have enough to convince people that you really believe that you have many different skills and the ability to learn more.

References

WHY DO I NEED REFERENCES?

References are important if the recruiter is not familiar with you beforehand. When you are applying for a new job, the references normally consist of former employers that the recruiter can contact to learn more about you as an employee.

REFERENCES IN THE CV

You can write in your CV that references will be provided upon request. Usually their contact information is only asked for at the interview stage. It is polite not to spread people’s contact details around too much. Provide the contact information if the recruiter requests them and you have permission to do so.

AT THE INTERVIEW

Before going to the interview, ensure that your references are willing to vouch for you. It may also be useful to print out their contact details to take with you to the interview.

AFTER THE EMPLOYMENT

Remember to stay on good terms with your employers. Keeping in touch with them is great for networking even if you do not need them as references. However, if you do need references for future job applications, check with your employers to see that they are fine with it.

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