I am at the start of my career

Your career starts with your first job. All work experience will be useful in the future, so it is worthwhile to be open to different job opportunities.

Finding a job may seem difficult if you do not have any previous work experience yet. Many start their careers with short employment relationships, such as summer jobs, substitute work, or traineeships.

Boldly look for work

These days, people typically look for jobs on websites listing job vacancies. Companies and organisations often also describe their open positions on their own websites and social media channels.

When you find an interesting open job, apply for it. Writing a job application or getting a job interview gives you important experience, even if you do not get the job.

However, not all open positions are advertised. You can directly contact an employer that interests you and submit an open job application.

See Job Market Finland for tips on writing a job application and preparing for a job interview. Have you already looked at vacancies at Job Market Finland or created a job applicant profile?

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A good attitude and networks can be more important than experience

If you do not have work experience yet, emphasise your attitude and enthusiasm. As many employers want to find a person who will fit into their work community and who is willing to learn new things, extensive work experience is not always the most important selection criterion. Your employer is usually prepared to familiarise you with your work tasks and may offer more extensive training.

Networks are also important in working life. You can ask or hear about interesting vacancies from your friends and acquaintances. Many boost their networks during their studies and in employment relationships, voluntary work and hobbies. You can also grow your networks in various social media services. 

Be active during employment

Take any employment relationships including short-term work such as summer jobs or substitute work seriously. When you do your job well, your supervisor will remember you and you might be able to keep getting hired in the future.

Your CV will show your employer if you have worked in the same workplace for several summers in a row, for example. This usually indicates that you have been well-liked and have done your job properly. On the other hand, it is worth remembering that employers can also appreciate diverse experiences gathered from different workplaces.   

The following tips help you to ensure that your employer will remember you during your employment relationship:

  • Support your co-workers – listening can also help.
  • Learn new things and don’t be afraid of change.
  • If you notice any shortcomings, you can tell your colleague or supervisor about them.
  • Focus on solutions.
  • Practise giving and receiving good and constructive feedback.

People aged under 30 receive help from the Youth Guarantee and the One-Stop Guidance Center

If you are aged under 30, you can get help with starting your career from the Youth Guarantee and the One-Stop Guidance Center.

The purpose of the Youth Guarantee is to promote young people's placement in education and the labour market, and to prevent prolonged unemployment and social exclusion.

The One-Stop Guidance Center provides you with help and support in matters related to studying, employment, housing, and well-being. There are approximately 70 One-Stop Guidance Centers located all over Finland, and the operation covers every single region.

The best way is to visit a One-Stop Guidance Center personally, either during the Center’s opening hours or based on agreement. For more information, visit the One-Stop Guidance Center website. Additionally, many One-Stop Guidance Centers are on Facebook and Instagram, and some of them also on YouTube, Snapchat, and Discord.

The One-Stop Guidance Centers employ career guidance officers and case managers as well as social welfare and health care professionals. The services provided by the One-Stop Guidance Centers and the professionals who work in the centres vary slightly between localities. The professionals at the One-Stop Guidance Centers will listen to you and provide you with support for finding a suitable solution.

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This website is part of the European Commission's Your Europe portal. Did you find what you were looking for? Give feedback! (europa.eu)

You can improve as a job seeker when you master the basics of job search.

On this page, we have gathered tips to help you improve your chances of employment. We provide guidance on, for example, how to get started with your job application documents and how to prepare for a job interview.

At Job Market Finland, you can automate your job search by creating a job applicant profile. In it, you can introduce yourself, highlight your skills, and list your education and work experience. Based on the provided information, you will recieve job recommendations that suit you, and employers interested in your skills can contact you.

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.

Job interview

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.

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

  • age,
  • health,
  • 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.

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An employment relationship is created when you agree with your future employer on what work you will be doing and what kind of compensation you will receive for your work.

A well-functioning employment relationship is based on a carefully prepared employment contract. The employment contract may be written or verbal, but it is usually a good idea to prepare it in writing so that the terms and conditions of the employment relationship can be easily checked. The employment contract specifies the rights and obligations of both the employer and the employee, so to avoid misunderstandings, the employment contract should be drawn up carefully. 

You can freely agree with your employer on tasks, working hours, pay and other benefits and conditions, as long as these comply with the law. Labour legislation contains boundary conditions concerning issues such as working hours, workload, and pay. A generally binding collective agreement may also affect the terms and conditions of the employment agreement if one is used in your industry. Legislation and collective agreements aim to ensure your rights as an employee.  

An employment contract is made to be either valid until further notice or for a fixed period. In a fixed-term employment contract, you agree in advance on the end date of the employment relationship. There must always be a valid reason for a fixed-term employment relationship. You can read about when there are grounds for drawing up a fixed-term employment relationship on the website of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 

If you want to ensure that your employment relationship is legal and that your rights are realised, you should read more about the topic.  

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Employment relationships involving those under 18 have special conditions  

If you are a young employee, ask for your employment contract to be made in writing. Make sure that your salary is paid correctly and that you get to take the holidays that you are entitled to.  

If you have reached the age of 15, you may conclude, terminate, and cancel the employment contract yourself. If you are under 15, your guardian’s consent is required for the employment relationship. 

Under the legislation, young people may not be hired for work that could be excessively hard or impede on the young person’s school attendance. The involvement of young people in certain jobs and work tasks is either limited or forbidden entirely. As a result, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the special regulations of the employment relationship so that you know your rights and obligations. 

If you are unsure about your rights, take a look at the Young worker web page on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration website. The One-Stop Guidance Center also provides support and answers to questions related to work. 

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This website is part of the European Commission's Your Europe portal. Did you find what you were looking for? Give feedback! (europa.eu)

The Finnish working life is governed by different rules that both employees and employers must comply with. Legislation and collective agreements specify, for example, the minimum wage, working hours, holidays, sick pay and terms of notice.

As an employee, you are entitled to, among other things,

  • a salary or wages in accordance with the collective agreement and other minimum terms of employment (e.g., holidays, sick pay, family leave and terms of notice),
  • working hours in accordance with the law and agreements,
  • join a trade union,
  • a healthy and safe working environment,
  • occupational health care and occupational safety,
  • a written employment contract, and
  • equal treatment in the workplace.

As an employee, you also have obligations. For example, you must:

  • do your work carefully,
  • observe the agreed working hours,
  • follow instructions given to you by your employer about performing the work (right of supervision), and
  • take into account the employer's interests (loyalty obligation) also in your free time.

Furthermore, you must not harm your employer. For example, do not talk about any business and professional secrets outside your work.

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Privacy protection

The employer is only allowed to process personal data necessary for the employee’s employment relationship, i.e., the information must be connected to managing your or your employer's rights and obligations.

Personal data collected by the employer on you must principally be collected only from you. However, the employee's consent to acquire information is not required when an authority needs to disclose information to the employer to enable the latter to fulfil a statutory duty or when the employer acquires on legal grounds personal credit data or information from the criminal record in order to establish the employee’s reliability.

The employer must not store outdated, erroneous or unnecessary information on its employees.

Right to strike

The Constitution of Finland guarantees the freedom of association, which includes the right to strike as an essential element. The right to strike is also included in the fundamental rights of workers defined by the International Labour Organization (ILO). A trade union is always responsible for a decision to go on strike, not an individual member. Employer and employee organisations provide more information on strikes.

Neglect of obligations

If you neglect your job duties or your other obligations, your employer may reprimand you or issue a warning.

If you have received a warning, you have the chance to amend your conduct. If you feel that the warning you were given is unfounded, submit a written response to the employer, stating your differing opinion and the grounds for it.

Repeated negligence and the resulting warnings may lead to your employment relationship being terminated. In the case of such gross misconduct that the employer cannot reasonably be expected to uphold the employment relationship, an employment contract may be terminated even after a single such incident.

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This website is part of the European Commission's Your Europe portal. Did you find what you were looking for? Give feedback! (europa.eu)


Are you under 25 years of age without a professional degree and have finished comprehensive school or upper secondary school? Conditions for unemployment security that apply to you partially differ from those of other job seekers. Your situation will change when you receive vocational training or take part in a service that promotes employment.

Unemployment security and labour market subsidy for persons under the age of 18

If you are under 18 years of age and have not completed education after comprehensive school or general upper secondary school leading to a qualification that provides professional skills, you are usually not entitled to a labour market subsidy paid on the basis of unemployment.

If you are a 17-year-old job seeker, you can receive  

  • unemployment security that is basic unemployment allowance or labour market subsidy, if you have completed your compulsory education, i.e. obtained a vocational qualification or matriculation examination, or
  • labour market subsidy for the duration of participation in a service promoting employment if you have completed your compulsory education with a matriculation examination even if you do not have vocational education after general upper secondary school.

A person under the age of 18 may also be entitled to unemployment security provided that they have interrupted their compulsory education due to a weighty reason referred to in the Act on Compulsory Education. These include long-term illness, parental leave, or being abroad.

Those under 25 are obligated to apply for training   

Are you under 25 and have had no education beyond comprehensive school or general upper secondary school? In order to be eligible for unemployment security, in the spring you must apply for at least two opportunities for education leading to a degree that will start in the following autumn, provide professional skills, and for which you meet the requirements for admission.

  • The training does not have to be part of the joint application to upper secondary education and preparatory education. You may also apply to a university or university of applied sciences.   
  • If you have only completed comprehensive school, you may also apply for places to study in general upper secondary schools intended for young people comprising at least 150 credits.
  • If you are completing upper secondary school in the spring, you must apply in the spring that you graduate for education that begins in the autumn and provides professional skills. You must also apply to study if you intend to complete military or non-military service immediately after general upper secondary school.
  • If you are invited to an entrance examination, you must participate in the exam as well as other events related to the application process.   
  • If you are offered a place to study, accept it and begin your studies.   

If reasons related to matters such as your state of health or language skills prevent you from applying for education, discuss the matter with an expert at the TE Office or the local government pilot. You can also agree on meeting the obligation to apply to study in some other way.

Prerequisites for receiving unemployment security  

If you are still an unemployed job seeker at the beginning of the autumn term (1 September), an expert from the TE Office or the local government pilot will inquire what training you have applied for.

You will lose your right to unemployment security from the beginning of the autumn term, i.e. from 1 September until further notice if 

  • you have not applied for at least two educational opportunities without a valid reason, 
  • you are not selected for training due to reasons attributable to you, or 
  • if you refuse to accept training or do not start training without a valid reason.

If you quit your studies without a valid reason, you will lose your right to unemployment security from the day that you quit.    

To receive unemployment security, you are not required to apply in the autumn for education that begins in the spring. However, if you do apply for education in the autumn and you get a place to study, but fail to start your studies in the spring without a valid reason, you will lose your right to unemployment security until further notice.   

Your right to an unemployment security will be restored if one of the following conditions is met:

  • You have completed a vocational qualification or higher education degree.
  • You have spent at least 21 calendar weeks working at a job that meets the conditions of being employed, which means that you have worked at least 18 hours a week, taken part in services that promote employment, studied full time, or worked full time as an entrepreneur or at your own job.   
  • You reach your 25th birthday.

Kela can impose a mandatory waiting period for your labour market subsidy, during which you will not receive the labour market subsidy. The maximum length of the waiting period is 21 weeks. Kela will decide on the length of the waiting period.

Services that promote employment 

If you are not entitled to unemployment security due to not applying for education or training or due to discontinuing studies, you can still receive unemployment benefits while participating in services promoting employment.

Services promoting employment include rehabilitative work activities, job-search coaching, career coaching, work try-outs, and labour market training.

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This website is part of the European Commission's Your Europe portal. Did you find what you were looking for? Give feedback! (europa.eu)


Education comes in many forms, so you can choose to study in various ways in different institutions.

You can study at many different educational institutions to acquire and develop your competence and vocational skills. There are many different ways to study these days, from contact teaching to distance and multiform learning. You can even complete a degree by independent study. Depending on your situation in life, you can study full-time, part-time alongside work, or while unemployed.

Your options may be more limited if you are in the integration process for immigrants, on sick leave, retired, or on parental leave, but some form of study is possible in any situation.

While planning your studies, try to answer the following questions:

  • What kind of knowledge and skills do you want to obtain? Where can you learn them?
  • How long are you willing to study?
  • What are the requirements for admission?
  • How will you finance your studies and support yourself in the meantime?
  • What will your studies prepare you for? Will you need further training after completing your degree to achieve your goal?

You can find information on different degrees and professions and learn more about studying in different educational institutions on the StudyInfo website. In addition to exploring your options, you can also use the portal to apply to study programmes online.

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Training guarantee under the Youth Guarantee

The Youth Guarantee in Finland includes a training guarantee, which means that every person completing basic education has the opportunity to attend further education in

  • an upper secondary school or vocational institution,
  • apprenticeship training,
  • a youth workshop or rehabilitation, or
  • some other form of study.

The guarantee also involves changes to the admissions process for vocational education and training. The joint selection procedure for general upper secondary schools and vocational institutions prioritises young people who have no prior degree and have not been admitted to study anything else after completing their basic education. This ensures that those applying to their first study programme are admitted.

Supplementary applications

If you are not admitted in the primary application round, you can take part in the supplementary application round. Vocational institutions also offer rolling admissions.

Interrupted studies

If you have previously started studies but not completed them, it is usually possible to pick up where you left off. However, if your right to study has expired, you have to reapply. It is possible to include your previously completed studies in your degree after your right to study has been restored. Contact your own educational institution to ask about the possibility of completing your interrupted studies.

Studying while working

If you are working, you can take multiform studies or ask your employer about the possibility of taking job alternation or study leave.

Multiform studies are designed to be taken alongside work, so contact teaching is reduced and mostly takes place in the evenings and on weekends. Multiform studies combine different forms of study, which may include contact teaching, online learning, working in study groups and independent study, for example. 

Job alternation leave is an arrangement where you and your employee agree upon a longer period of leave. You can use this leave to study, for example.

Policies on study leave vary from workplace to workplace, so you should discuss them with your own employer. 

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There are at least as many ways to cope financially during studies as there are students. There are different alternatives for you to explore, whether you are currently unemployed, laid off, working part-time, an entrepreneur, or working full-time.

As a student, your potential sources of income consist of student financial aid from Kela, potential earnings from your work, and unemployment benefits. If you are further along in your career, you may also be entitled to adult education allowance or job alternation compensation. Other possibilities include a paid apprenticeship arrangement and various grants and scholarships.

In addition to earnings from your work, you can only receive one benefit at a time. You should also take into account that your pay affects the amount of benefits you can receive. There are income limits applicable to student financial aid, the adult education allowance is subject to an additional income limit, and unemployment benefits are adjusted to your earnings. Job alternation compensation is also reduced if you receive other income during your leave.

You must register as a job seeker to be entitled to unemployment benefits. As a job seeker, you are obligated to notify your local TE Office or local government pilot of all studies to determine their potential impact on your eligibility for unemployment benefits. Note that if you cut back on your working hours or quit your job to study, you also lose your right to receive unemployment benefits.

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Financing your studies in different situations

Studying while unemployed 

While unemployed, you can finance your studies with either unemployment benefits, or student financial aid from Kela if your studies last two months or longer. Studies agreed in advance with your expert at the local TE Office or local government pilot do not prevent you from receiving unemployment benefits. Labour market training is free of charge, and you can also be paid an expense allowance.


Studying while working full-time 

If you are working full-time, you can finance your studies with your earned income, student financial aid, adult education allowance, or job alternation compensation. In addition to earnings from your work, you can only receive one benefit at a time. You should also take into account that your pay affects the amount of benefits you can receive. If your studies last longer than two months, you are entitled to student financial aid or adult education allowance.

Studying while working part-time 

When working part-time, you can finance your studies with your earned income or an unemployment benefit adjusted to your earnings. If your studies last longer than two months, you are also entitled to student financial aid or adult education allowance. 

Studying while laid off 

If you are laid off, the options for financing your studies are the same as if you were unemployed. You must register as a job seeker and notify your local TE Office or local government pilot of your studies.

Studying as an entrepreneur 

As a full-time entrepreneur, you can finance your studies with the income from your business or if your studies last longer than two months, with student financial aid or the entrepreneur’s adult education allowance. Part-time entrepreneurs have the same options as unemployed persons.

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Different types of benefits

Student financial aid

Student financial aid is meant to support you during your studies. The conditions for granting financial aid are different for higher and upper secondary education.

Adult education allowance

If you have at least eight years of work experience in any field and have been employed by your current workplace for at least a year, an adult education allowance paid by the Employment Fund may be a good solution for supporting yourself while studying. 

You can only receive the allowance while on study leave or other unpaid leave. If you wish to work alongside your studies or you have other sources of income, you may be entitled to an adult education allowance adjusted to your earnings.

There is an adult education allowance for entrepreneurs, as well.

Adult education allowance will be abolished. Parliament has approved the government's proposal to repeal  the act governing adult education benefits, resulting in the cessation of payments for adult education allowance. It will be possible to receive the adult education allowance until the end of 2025, provided that the studies and the support period begin no later than July 31, 2024.

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Social assistance

As a student, you may be entitled to basic social assistance, also known as income support, in certain situations, such as when your financial aid payments have been stopped or you have used up all of your eligibility for financial aid. You may also be entitled to social assistance over the summer if studying is not possible and you have not managed to find employment. Please note that your situation in life and your existing assets affect your right to basic social assistance. Social assistance is a last-resort form of financial assistance.

As a full-time student, you usually receive your income from financial aid for students. In some cases, you may be entitled to unemployment security during your studies.

Financial aid for students and unemployment security 

As a full-time student, you receive your primary income from financial aid for students. Kela is responsible for the financial aid for students.  
You cannot receive financial aid for students and unemployment security at the same time.

Studying with unemployment security

If you are unemployed and you wish to start studying, you should acquaint yourself with labour market training, the possibilities for short-term or part-time studies, and independent studies with an unemployment benefit (not available for those under the age of 25). When you study in these ways, you may be able to receive an unemployment benefit during your studies.


Full-time studies  

As a full-time student, you are not usually entitled to unemployment security. This also applies to study holidays.    

Full-time studies are studies with the aim of completing

  • a vocational school degree,
  • a higher vocational school degree,  
  • a lower or higher university degree, or 
  • upper secondary school studies comprising at least 150 credits. In practice this means upper secondary school studies aimed at young people as well as upper secondary school studies in a boarding school.

Full-time studies include studies corresponding to the Act on Vocational Education aimed at completing

  • a vocational upper secondary qualification or module,
  • preparatory training for vocational education and training, or  
  • preparatory training for work and independent living.  

Other studies are also full-time studies when

  • the study plan comprises a minimum of five credits or three course credits or 4.5 ECVET points in a month of study or
  • the studies in the syllabus comprise an average of at least 25 hours per week unless it has been defined in terms of study credits or study weeks or ECVET points.

The TE office or the local government pilot will ascertain if your studies are part-time or full-time.

Concluding studies  

Your studies are considered to be full-time until you show that they have concluded. If you are completing the full syllabus of basic education or upper secondary school, you are considered a full-time student through the end of the term.  

If needed, you can show that your studies have ended by producing, for example,  

  • a diploma,
  • a certificate of the termination of studies, or
  • a clarification showing that the studies to prepare for a skills test have concluded.  

Another indication of the conclusion of your studies is that they have been interrupted for at least a year. Interruption of studies means that you have not completed any credits and you have not taken part in studies or, for example, prepared a final thesis under guidance.

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Are you planning on working abroad? Before you begin applying for work abroad, evaluate your language skills, expertise, and the employment situation of your field in your destination country.

Working in EU and EEA member states and Switzerland  

As a Finnish citizen, you have the same work-related rights and responsibilities in EU and EEA member states and Switzerland as their own citizens. 

If you want to work in one of these countries and find information about job vacancies, training, and the labour market in the country, you should check out the EURES online service. 

The EURES network helps job seekers from EU countries as well as Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. You can get support from EURES member and partner organisations throughout the job search process. The service is free of charge.

From a EURES advisor, you can get, for example, guidance in the international job search and help with the country-specific preparation of the CV and application.

More information

Working in a country outside the EU and EEA region and Switzerland  

As a rule, you need a work permit issued by the immigration authority of the destination country to work in countries outside the EU and EEA countries and Switzerland. As a job seeker, you will be personally required to find out the necessary prerequisites and procedures related to the work permits. For more information, contact, for example, the embassies of the countries that you are interested in.  

Interning abroad  

An internship abroad supports your professional development, language skills, and readiness to work internationally.  

If you are studying in a vocational institution, you can apply for a workplace learning spot through your educational institution. 

If you are a higher education student, traineeships from abroad can be provided to you by, for example, your own educational institution, in case of EDUFI internships, through the Finnish National Agency for Education, which is responsible for international mobility and collaboration as well as international student organisations. 

Job interview or application trips within the EU and EEA region and Switzerland  

Going on a job seeking trip on an unemployment benefit 

As an unemployed job seeker, you are allowed to go to another EU or EEA member state or Switzerland for three months to look for work and still retain the right to an unemployment benefit that is paid in Finland. During your job seeking trip, you will only be able to receive earnings-related unemployment allowance and basic unemployment allowance. You cannot receive labour market subsidy during the trip. 

To be able to receive unemployment benefits while you are abroad, your unemployment before your trip must have lasted for at least four weeks. The expert at the TE Office or the local government pilot can reduce this period at its discretion and for a special reason, for example, if you have already agreed on a job interview. Your unemployment period can also be calculated to include the time that you have participated in a service that promotes employment. 

Report the travel date to the TE Office or the local government pilot well in advance of your departure. It will inform the payer of the unemployment benefit that you will be leaving to look for work in another EU or EEA member state or Switzerland. 

Remember to order a U2 form from Kela or your unemployment fund well in advance of your departure, as you will need to take this to the labour office of your destination country. Kela or your unemployment fund will determine whether the prerequisites for transferring the unemployment benefit that falls within their domain are met. 

After you have arrived at your country of destination, remember to register as a job seeker at the local labour office within seven days. This will allow you to receive your unemployment benefit for the duration of your trip. If you register later, you will only receive money starting from your registration date.  

During the job seeking process, you are required to comply with the obligations and supervision methods that have been mandated by the labour officials of your destination country. 

Your unemployment allowance is paid by Kela or your unemployment fund. During your job seeking trip, you can apply for unemployment benefits as usual online, or you can post your unemployment period notice to the payer.  

Reimbursement of travel costs

Your TE Office or local government pilot can reimburse you for any travel and accommodation costs for a return job interview journey to another EU or EEA country if the work you applied for will last for at least two weeks and your working hours will be at least 18 hours per week on average. Reimbursement of travel and accommodation costs cannot be granted for job search trips to Switzerland.

Register as an unemployed job seeker after your trip  

When you return to Finland, register immediately as a job seeker. Your unemployment security may change if you do not return to Finland and you do not register as a job seeker at the latest on the return date mentioned in the U2 form. This will prevent you from receiving any unemployment benefit before you have been employed or have participated in labour market training in Finland for four weeks. You may be entitled to a labour market subsidy. 

For more detailed instructions, contact your TE Office, local government pilot, Kela, or unemployment fund.  

If you are not a citizen of an EU or EEA member state or Switzerland, contact the TE Office or local government pilot and the payer of your unemployment benefit. 

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Studying abroad allows you to develop your language skills and gain valuable experience which is sure to benefit you in the future.

Studying abroad

You can study abroad at different stages of your life. The study period can be anything from a few weeks to several years.

If you are studying in Finland, you can apply to a student exchange programme. While abroad, you can complete part of the studies for your degree in Finland. Contact your own place of education for more information on student exchange.

You can also complete an entire degree abroad. In this case, the studies will take several years depending on the scope of the degree.

Interning abroad

If your studies include an internship, you can do this abroad. This opportunity is primarily open to students and recent graduates. An internship supports

  • professional development,
  • language skills, and
  • international connections for you and your employer.

If you are in vocational education, you can apply for an internship abroad through your own institution.

If you are in higher education, you can use, for example, the following means to find internships abroad:

  • the contacts of your own place of education,
  • the Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI traineeships),
  • international student organisations, or
  • contacting employers directly on your own.

Check with your own educational institution whether you can apply for an internship subsidy. You may be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant if you intern in a member state of the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, North Macedonia, or Turkey. You can search for available internship positions via the EURES portal, for example.

Newly graduated or unemployed young persons can apply for

  • an internship abroad via various programmes and initiatives, or
  • preparation for working life abroad.

If you are between the ages of 18 and 35 and have recently graduated from upper secondary vocational education, you can apply for an Erasmus+-supported internship abroad through the Allianssi Youth Exchange Ready for Life project.

If you are currently attending higher education or have graduated with a higher education degree no more than a year ago, you can apply for an EDUFI traineeship through the Finnish National Agency for Education. The EDUFI traineeship supports your studies and helps to expand your competence. The Finnish National Agency for Education will also grant you a subsidy for the duration of your traineeship.

You can find more information on different international experiences on the Maailmalle.net website maintained by the Finnish National Agency for Education or their advisory services.

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Workcamps and other voluntary work

International workcamps are a great way to get to know the culture of the target country while doing voluntary work in a multicultural group to benefit a local non-profit organisation.

The camps usually last two to three weeks. They are organised all over the world, primarily in the summer. Most attendees are between the ages of 18 and 30, but there is no maximum age. You are not paid for the work, but food and accommodation are provided as compensation. If you are interested in an international workcamp, you can apply through organisations such as Kansainvälinen Vapaaehtoistyö ry.

If you are taking a gap year, longer-term voluntary work could be a good option for you. A period of voluntary work often incurs some expenses that you have to pay on your own. However, the European Voluntary Service does offer young Europeans aged 17 to 30 years an opportunity to volunteer for a longer time with financial support from the EU.

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As an employee, you have the right to work without discrimination. If you experience unequal treatment or witness others being treated unequally, notify your employer and, if necessary, the authorities dealing with equality issues.

Workplace discrimination is not allowed. The Finnish Equality Act prohibits discrimination on grounds such as gender and its expression, parenthood and family responsibilities. Under the Non-Discrimination Act, no one may be discriminated on the grounds of age, origin, nationality, language, religion, belief, opinion, political activity, trade union activity, family relationships, health, disability, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics. 

Workplace equality must be promoted especially in pay, working conditions, terms of employment and career development. Your employer must treat everyone equally when it comes to recruitment, orientation, division of duties, promotions and dismissal situations. 

Very different types of discrimination can occur in the workplace. It can be, for example, uneven distribution of work tasks, sexual harassment or unfair pay. Discrimination can also occur before the actual hiring, if the employer sets irrelevant or inappropriate requirements for the employee to be recruited as selection criteria or in the job posting. In a hiring situation it is considered discrimination when, for example, the employer recruits a less meritorious person instead of a more meritorious person solely on the basis of gender. 

Reporting and preventing discrimination

If discrimination occurs at your workplace, report it to your employer. You can discuss the subject with your supervisor in one-on-one development discussions, for example. If you suspect that you have experienced discrimination but are not sure, or if your employer will not intervene in the discrimination, there are several parties you can contact. For example, you can get advice on your situation from the Ombudsman for Equality, the National Non-Discrimination and Equality Tribunal or the occupational safety and health authorities of a regional state administrative agency. 

Do remember that, if your workplace has at least 30 employees, it must have a prepared gender equality plan. The plan must be drawn up in consultation with representatives appointed by the staff. Among other things, the equality plan should address recruitment, pay, performance assessment, opportunities to influence and well-being at work. A plan alone is not enough. Instead, the issues presented in the equality plan must be put into practice. As an employee, you have the right to familiarise yourself with the equality plan.

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