Lack of understanding of the Finnish work culture and how to apply for jobs in Finland

Each country has developed its own system for applying for jobs and, when living in the country, people learn to understand the system of how to write a CV and job applications. Another important aspect is to understand employer expectations.

Some of the very general expectations are:

  • Substantial knowledge
  • Career Skills: social skills and communication skills, ability to adapt to change and to diversity, time management, people skills, and problem-solving skills
  • Personal match! (salary expectations, job demands, genuine interest etc.)
  • Expected values in private organizations: service-orientation, ability to see the big picture and understand the small details of information, ability to adapt to change, desire for professional development, flexibility to undertake different tasks, and interest in professional growth based on the results

More importantly, students should be prepared to communicate their knowledge and skills, and a competency-based curriculum can be one way of supporting this. Students need to be guided on how to describe themselves and what it is that they have to offer work life.

One characteristic of Finnish work life is that it is highly organized, and we have strong employer and employee organizations. These organizations support their members with regards to workers’ rights and benefits. Information about the workers’ unions is important for international students, and unions can be invited to lecture to the students about their services for students. During the VALOA workshops, international students worked together with two workers’ unions in Finland to give them ideas on how to market their membership and activities to international students.

The best way to learn about Finnish work life is to actually give students opportunities to practice it already during their studies!