Tips for finding a job
Looking for a job is almost never easy. However, everyone can learn to be a good job seeker!
When searching for a job, you may first be enthusiastic about looking for a new direction. However, you may not necessarily find a job immediately, and you may be faced with a variety of challenges and problems. You should not be left alone when looking for a job. TE services provide different types of support for your job seeking process.
We also recommend reading our tips for situations when you have found an interesting job and want to apply for it. We encourage you to find out more about the position and employer in advance. We also explain how to prepare good job seeking documents, and how you should prepare for the job interview.
Before sending a job application
The job seeking process consists of several stages, and it is advisable to start by acquiring information. Once you have found an interesting job, try to obtain the best possible understanding of the employer and everything that is involved with the open position. When you have acquired information in advance, it will be easier for you to apply for the position.
When you find an interesting position, read the job posting carefully. It is a good idea to find answers to at least the following questions related to the open position.
- What are the main responsibilities and special requirements of the position?
- Do you need a specific degree or certain type of work experience?
- Do the tasks correspond to your competence?
- What can you learn from the job requirements?
- What kind of person are they looking for to fill the position?
Before submitting a job application, you should also familiarise yourself with the employer. Visit the organisation’s website and find out at least the sector, size, and structure of the organisation, as well as its vision, values, and objectives.
Once you have familiarised yourself with both the position and the employer, and you still want to apply for the position, you should consider your next step. Will you contact the employer before sending your job application? Will calling or visiting the workplace, or sending an email help you write your application? Sometimes the job advertisement contains the contact details of the person participating in the recruitment process and the times when you can approach the employer. If you really have questions about the position and feel that it is useful to contact the employer, you can do so before submitting your job application. However, you should carefully consider the most suitable choice for your situation and proceed accordingly.
Job application documents
Although it may seem old-fashioned to draw up traditional job application documents, almost every job application process still requires an application letter and a CV. A one-page application letter and a resume of maximum two pages is usually a good combination.
It may be challenging to formulate your own competence in a comprehensive yet interesting manner. The following instructions will help you create a successful application letter and an interesting CV.
It is a good idea to invest some time and effort in writing your application letter, as what you write can help you get a job interview. The aim of the application letter is to attract the recruiter’s attention so that you will be invited to a job interview.
In the application letter, you will describe
- why you are applying for the job,
- how you meet the selection criteria for the position, and
- why you should be selected for the job in question.
The application letter should give a positive impression of you. It should be concise and targeted specifically at the employer whose position you are applying for. You describe your background and work history in your CV, but in the application letter, the focus is on the future.
Avoid making lists. In the application letter, you can describe yourself and your competence more informally. In addition to subject-related competence, you should also highlight your other strengths that are useful for the position you are applying for. In addition to describing them, it is essential to explain in the application letter what you can offer the organisation.
If you are applying for a position for which you do not have any previous experience, explain how your competence fits the position, and emphasise your motivation, good attitude, and ability to learn.
Finally, you should run a spell check on your text. The application letter is an opportunity to demonstrate your competence, and even small details matter. Therefore, make sure that there are no spelling mistakes in the text.
When working on a CV, try to make it comprehensive yet also clear. You can use creativity when making your CV, but you should not divert too far from the commonly used structure. Express yourself concisely. It is, after all, very important that the recruiter finds the relevant information easily and quickly, as not much time is necessarily given to each individual CV.
A good CV is visually interesting, clear and easy to understand. It quickly indicates whether you meet the requirements of the position.
It is a good idea to describe your work experience and educational information in chronological order, with the most recent experience first. Briefly describe each of your work experiences. Describe what your tasks have included and what you have learned from the work. In addition to work experience, you can also describe your language and IT skills, and provide a list of references.
Check that your resume includes your contact information.
LinkedIn profiles have not superseded traditional CVs, but the service can support your CV in the job application process.
You can also write an application letter in the email message field. Consider the text in your email message as carefully as if you were writing a traditional application letter.
- In the subject field, write “Application” and the title of the position you are applying for.
- Upload your CV as an attachment to the message.
- Begin with a friendly greeting.
- Type your application letter in the text field. You do not need to follow the layout of a traditional application letter.
- Explain that your CV is attached to the email message.
- End your letter with a closing phrase and your contact information.
Employers’ own electronic job search services have their own specific characteristics. Recruiters may, for example, perform word searches on them. In other words, search the job posting for keywords describing the nature of the task and the applicant’s characteristics, and use them in your application. Remember to also describe your personal expertise.
When submitting an application in the employer’s online service, read the instructions carefully. It is a good idea to first write your text using a text editing programme and copy it to the form afterwards.
In the case of an open application, update it regularly.
It is increasingly common for employers to request video applications from job seekers. Video material makes it easier for the employer to pre-select applicants. You can use a video to give a more authentic image of yourself than with a traditional job application.
Make a short, 1–3 minute video and upload it to a video service. Send the link to the employer.
You should practice beforehand so that you can express yourself naturally instead of reading from a piece of paper. For example, you can use the video to
- describe your special talents,
- talk about your personality and strengths, or
- provide an example of your language skills.
A portfolio is a collection of your best and most important work or achievements. You can assemble a portfolio in different ways. It can be a folder, portfolio, demo, plan, drawing, or a photo collection.
Portfolios are most commonly used in the creative sector, but they work well in many other fields, too. For example, a chef’s portfolio may include their personal recipes, photos of dishes and customer feedback.
You should assemble a new portfolio for every new application. However, do not make your portfolio too broad in scope.
A portfolio can include
- certificates, recommendations and evaluations,
- samples of various work tasks in the form of brochures, posters, programmes, magazine articles or similar, or
- anything that will help you land the job.
You can send your portfolio to the employer or take it with you to your job interview and present it there. If your portfolio can be found online, remember to include a link in your job application.
You should not think of a job interview as a one-sided interrogation, but as an opportunity for people to get to know each other. For employers, an interview is a way to test the suitability of a job seeker for an open position and the work community. The applicant will also familiarise themselves with the employer and reflect on their suitability for the position and their interest in becoming part of the organisation. Keep this in mind when you attend the job interview.
When you challenge the interviewer and ask questions about the employer or position, you will give the impression that you are motivated and indicate that you are genuinely interested in the position. At the same time, you will gain information on whether the position is right for you.
Next, we will give you tips on how to succeed in a job interview.
When you are well-prepared for the interview, you can relax and be yourself. It is alright to feel a little nervous.
You should do the following before the interview.
- Find out more about the employer.
- Remind yourself of the job description and what is stated in the job posting.
- Go over your competencies and be prepared to describe them concisely.
- Think about the questions that you would like to ask about the job and your potential employer.
A positive first impression goes a long way when people meet for the first time. Dress in a way that suits the position and employer. Remember to take your application letter, CV, work and educational certificates and possible portfolio with you. Be on time.
In the interview, the recruiter will evaluate whether you are genuinely interested in the position and whether your skills and competence are suited for the position. Above all, the interview will reveal your interaction skills and attitude. If there are more than one interviewers present, give each one of them an equal amount of attention.
Remember that your body language, expressions and the way that you speak tell a lot about yourself. Listen to what they are asking you, and take your time to think before answering. When answering, be honest, but remember to also consider what should possibly be left out.
There are usually three stages to an interview.
- General issues are often discussed in the beginning. The aim is to create an overview of the interviewee.
- In the middle of the interview, the interviewers ask questions with the aim to find out how motivated you are and how you would fit the position. The questions will also involve your career and changes therein. In addition, the interviewers will want to know what kind of a person you are, your values, and your attitude.
- The final stage of the interview focuses on the more practical matters related to the position, such as your salary, working time and start date. The interviewer also often describes how the application process will continue. If necessary, you can also ask questions about the next stages of the process.
After the interview is over, think about how it went. Assess what went well and what you could improve on.
If you are not chosen for the position, ask the employer or interviewer what factors were emphasised in the selection, and what were the reasons why you were not chosen for the job.
Below is a list of questions usually asked in job interviews. Practice answering the questions and consider appropriate answers in advance. The better you prepare, the more confident you will feel during the interview.
- Tell us briefly about yourself.
- Describe your current or most recent employment relationship.
- Why are you applying for this job?
- Why do you want to switch jobs?
- What are your goals for the future?
- What are you like as a colleague or supervisor?
- What are the most important things that you have learned in your previous jobs?
- Describe your dream job or workplace.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- How will your strengths help you succeed in your task? What have you done or will you do to fix your weaknesses?
- What motivates you as an employee?
- Describe the type of work community that you thrive in.
- Describe your idea of a good place to work.
- Do you prefer working alone or in a group?
- Why are you applying for a position that is not related to your previous work experience and educational background?
- How do you work under pressure? Give a concrete example.
- Are you ready to travel for work?
- Are you prepared to be flexible with your working hours?
- How much salary do you want?
- What have you learned in your previous jobs?
- What achievement are you particularly proud of?
- Why should we choose you?
- What would you like to know about us?
- Who could recommend you for the position?
- If we called the person giving you a reference, what would they tell us about you?
You may be asked several similar questions, and the order of the questions may seem completely random. This way, the interviewer may simply be testing how you cope under pressure.
Other matters related to the job seeking process
It is worth remembering that you do not need to answer all questions asked by the employer. It is also good to be aware that, in addition to the job interview, the employer can examine your suitability for the position by means of personal assessments and aptitude tests.
There are certain topics that should not affect the recruitment process. During a job interview or similar encounter, you do not need to answer questions related to your
- family relationships or plans,
- sexual orientation,
- ethnic background,
- religion, or
- political orientation.
The employer is not allowed to place job seekers in an unequal position on the basis of the aforementioned characteristics.
Exceptions to this may include some situations where the listed features have a material impact on the performance of the work tasks.
In addition to a job interview, your competence and aptitude for the task may be evaluated in other ways.
Your professional competence may be tested in different ways. For example, you may be asked to do a demo in a situation that resembles work, participate in group work, or give a small-scale presentation.
A psychological evaluation can be used to assess and predict how you will perform in a task by studying your thinking, expertise, skills, characteristics, or operating models.
Through psychological assessment, the employer may wish to find out, for example,
- how you solve problems,
- how well you withstand pressure, and
- what kind of interaction style and personality you have.
It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the tests are based on reliable methods and that the information gained during the testing process is accurate. The people who perform these tests must have sufficient expertise.
The best way to prepare for these types of tests is to be yourself and go in with an open mind. You are always entitled to receive a copy of your test report or oral feedback on it.