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.

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is not only an electronic CV but much more! It is your business card and your contacts in the same package. It is a professional’s social media channel in networking and job seeking whose popularity is growing rapidly also in Finland.

PROFILE TOOL FOR PROFESSIONALS

LinkedIn is a platform to present your professionalism and a tool to advertise yourself. On your LinkedIn profile, you can highlight your strengths: your experience, expertise, motivation and interests. LinkedIn is also a channel to express your own valuable views. You can write a post in which you share information or comment on some topical issues.

The information you share can originate from you or someone else (just remember to mention the source). You can share a link, for example, to an article or material, somebody’s speech or opinion letter. When you share this kind of information, you tell your network what you consider important in your line of business and what you regard as central and topical issues in your field.

In addition to information, you can also bring up views which are based on your experience or studies, form the big picture of some topical theme or comment an ongoing debate. Make sure you are noticed and think carefully what topics you want to be associated with when active professionals are searching for information and views.

CHANNEL TO LOOK FOR INFORMATION

 The best things about LinkedIn is its versatile and topical content. LinkedIn’s most obvious purpose is to find jobs and experts. Many employers and especially headhunters and consults are there daily looking for suitable candidates for various positions.

LinkedIn is also an excellent tool to get information regarding your own choices and to plan your future. Look at other profiles: what are people doing, in what kind of companies are they working, what kind of job opportunities do they have? Do some research and get inspired! Learn from the profiles of your fellow experts and exploit the best practises.

Your contacts’ updates can be seen on your LinkedIn front page. You get more useful information into your feed by following the companies and LinkedIn groups that you find interesting. So, use LinkedIn to familiarise yourself with the topics you are interested in and get to know movers and shakers as well as decision-makers in your profession. When you follow those experts and discuss with them, you’ll have a chance to learn something new every day.

NETWORKING PLATFORM

A wide network helps you to find a job. Expand your network and invite your colleagues, your boss, former and current school friends and fellow students, people from your hobbies, your family members and your social media network to LinkedIn. When you associate with new people, you can get to know them through LinkedIn. Find their profile and invite to connect. Favour unique messages and avoid the most usual ”I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn”. With just a little effort you can make recepients feel they are special and you strengthen the connection between you. You can, for instance, tell where you have met. If you don’t know each other, explain why you would like to network. You can ask in what business you could ask for their help.

For example, you can write: “Hello and thank you for the invitation to connect. If you had to name one thing in which I could ask for your help, what would it be? My special areas are: 1) LinkedIn and Social selling; 2) Sales and sales development.”

Would you like to talk with an employee from an interesting company? LinkedIn is an excellent channel to approach people professionally. You can send a connection request to a person you don’t know and drop a line, telling them you appreciate their work and welcome advice how you could find a way to a similar position. It may be that the person never replies but at best your approach can initiate a fascinating conversation and you get interesting information from the expert!

Have you found a job of your dreams but don’t know anyone from the company? With LinkedIn you can work out a connection between the company workers and your own contacts. Write the company’s name into the search bar and find their employees. LinkedIn will tell you how many contacts there are between you and your future colleague. Networking is important because you will be noticed more likely in the recruiting process if you know someone within the company.

Active networkers update their LinkedIn profile more often than their business cards. Bear in mind that today, in professional working life, applicants are evaluated not only by their experience and education but also by their networks. The more the employee is expected to work with customers and interest groups, the more valuable the networks become.

The basics of LinkedIn profile

Your LinkedIn profile is your electronic business card which is meant to create a credible and professional impression of you as an expert of your trade.

SETTINGS

It is best to start by getting the settings right. There are plenty of them and it’s best to go through them without any hurry. Make sure you note the following:

You can find settings in your profile; see Settings and privacy.

  • How others see your LinkedIn activity
  • Share job changes, education changes and work anniversaries from profile. When you update your profile, will your network be informed? It is advisable to turn this feature off, especially when you are buiding up your profile. We don’t want to be notified about every single change.

Another thing worth checking is Profile viewing options, which you can find under the same heading: How others see your LinkedIn activity. In what mode are you when you take a glimpse of somebody’s LinkedIn profile? Do they see your name, profile photo and your title; or just your working place; or are you anonymous? It is recommended you are as open as possible and show your name, title and your profile photo.

LINKEDIN ADDRESS

 By default, your personal LinkedIn address is a set of numbers and letters in miscellaneous order. You can ”clean” your address by clicking Edit public profile & URL on the right of your profile page. You can type a new, more simple URL by clicking Edit URL. By clicking that button, you open a completely new page. Put that address into your CV or in your email signature.

Next, make sure your profile has public visibility. Check that the button is on, meaning your profile photo and other information can be seen in search engines. By doing that you ensure you can be found when people are looking for experts, e.g., by using Google. Remember that you can adjust what to show of your profile and to whom. In default settings, your name, the size of network, field and location are public. You can adjust which information you wish to show to those who are not signed in LinkedIn (to those who use search engines and other services).

It is, however, worth bearing in mind no.1 LinkedIn principle: the more you share, the more you see. If you are anonymous, LinkedIn gives you anonymous data. Without the profile photo, you are the last one in the search. You get what you give. It is good to have a public LinkedIn profile because that helps your network, your future employers and your partners to find you.

PHOTO

Add a photo into your profile. Most of all it makes you more human and more approachable. The requirements for the photo are the same as in the CV: clear, appropriate and up-to-date facial photo. There must be no other people in it. And surely a smile won’t do any harm!

COVER PHOTO

Cover photo is another handy way to stand out and make your profile page more personal. The more visual your page is the better. Your cover photo can feature a project you are currently working on, tell something about your hobbies, guide to your web page or promote your company’s ongoing campaign.

ABOUT

You can write a summary on top of your profile. It is an excellent way to highlight your key expertise or tell about the work you are currently seeking. The idea is to summarise your essential expertise. This summary helps your viewers to decide whether they want to read more about you.

Examples what to mention in the About section:

  • What do you do at the moment and what are your key competences: What, when, why, where and how?
  • What are your main achievements and results?
  • What are your targets?
  • What are your strenghts?
  • Describe the way you work and your personal features.
  • If you are looking for work, say it! Explain what you want to do, what your interests are, which way you to wish to guide your career in the future
  • Contact details; how you can be reached

LOCATION

For recruiters, location is one criterion when searching for candidates. Choose your location according to where you are looking for work. If you are, for example, finalising your studies abroad but you are looking for work in the Turku region, set Turku as your location.

HEADLINE

The headline under your name tells who you are in business life and what you wish to do next. Add key words into the headline that you want to be associasted with, e.g.: Mechanical Engineer | Machine Design| Product development |CAD | Mechatronics | Simulations

Be explicit if you are looking for work, e.g.: Student of Electrical Engineering at Aalto University | Looking for new opportunities

EXPERIENCE

In addition to your title, write about your experience in more detail: what you do and how, what you have achieved and who you have worked with. Here, you may want to mention not just the paid jobs but also summer jobs, traineeships and school projects.

EDUCATION

List here your degrees. Mention your major and minors. It is also advisable to discuss the topic of your thesis. Exchange student programmes can be mentioned separately in the education section.

SKILLS

Fill in the skills section as widely as you can. When you have listed your skills, other users can give you endorsements. Notice that only the first three skills are visible if the section is not clicked open. Make sure that those three are the most essential ones for you. Remeber to reciprocate and give endorsements to others!

RECOMMENDATIONS AND KUDOS

Increase your reliability by requesting and giving recommendations and kudos. It can come from your boss and also from your colleague, fellow student, subordinate, partner or client. It is advisable to give practical examples: what you have done and achieved.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Language skills: You may want to add languages, especially if you deal with international affairs or wish to move into them.

Organisations: e.g. societies, student organisations, organised groups. Describe your duties and responsibilities and give an example of what you did.

Courses: Usually further training. You can list courses you did during your studies that are linked to your expert profile, such as language courses.

Certifications: Usually further training, e.g. quality know-how, qualifications, lab standards, hygiene passports etc.

Projects: courses, groupwork during your studies, explain what you did, how and with whom. Give a practical example of project work.

Volunteer experience: Here you can add your voluntary work experience, projects, events, tutoring, mentoring, training, helping.

INTERESTS

Follow the companies, groups and topics that you find interesting. The things you follow also tell what fields you are mostly interested in. This can help you to carefully share your values and show what things are dear to you. By following interesting people and by participating in groups you get their news to show up in your feed.

GROUPS

Groups help to you network with the people from your own field or even with the recruiting professionals. By signing into LinkedIn you can easily follow topical issues in your line of work. You can find groups in your trade by searching other profiles. Join the same groups with the experts of your line!

On our TEK’s TEKrekry LinkedIn group you can find technical academic jobs and trainings.

LinkedIn is a search engine

LinkedIn is a search engine masqueraded as a social media channel. It is worth bearing that in mind when you’re streamlining your profile to perfection. The more tangibility you have on your profile, the bigger amount of relevant content you can see. The better you can tell what you are able to do, what you want to do and what you do, the better LinkedIn can show you suitable jobs, companies, people or articles. Make sure you have discussed your experience and expertise using the same key words as the others when they are, for example, searching for experts in your field.

Key words:

  • You find them in job advertisements, other LinkedIn profiles, company web sites
  • Key words can be tools, processes, titles, equipment, software, sertificates, methodologies, training titles, programming languages and other concrete things
  • See what words people in your field use to desribe their expertise.
  • Steal the best ideas!
  • Desribe your expertise with the right words: check the terms and key words related to jobs, education and titles.

Make sure you have key words in all the sections of your profile.

KEYWORDS

Where do I find my professional key words? Find at least three vacant jobs that you are interested in and copy-paste the advertisement texts to www.tagcrowd.com. Geographic location or other external motivation factors are irrelevant. This web page tells you how often the words used can be seen in the texts.

  • Copy the advertisement content and follow these instructions:
  • Go to Tagcrowd.com
  • Attach the content of all the advertisements you have copied into the empty field
  • Click Yes on Show frequencies
  • Tap Visualize! button.
  • Are there any key words you could use?
  • Think about concrete examples of your expertise. Is there something you could use as key words? Tools, programming languages, sertificates etc.?
  • List some key words you recognise into the response field below.

For example, if you would like to work as an environmental engineer, find suitable job advertisements on LinkedIn or monster.fi.

By following the instructions above, the list of key words would look like this:
1. Engineer 61 (9%) 2. project 52 (8%) 3. wastewater 42 (6%) 4. experience 41 (6%) 5. environment 41 (6%) 6. management 34 (5%) 7. planning 31 (5%) 8. energy 30 (5%) 9. language skills 30 (5%) 10. cooperation skills 27 (4%)

Judging by the Tagcrowd key words, the suitable title could be: Environmental Engineer with Management Experience | Wastewater & Sludge Treatment | Energy Efficiency 

This title does not only explain what kind of jobs you are interested in but it also shows your expertise. You should sprinkle key words in different sections on LinkedIn. Maintain and update you profile constantly: add new experience, education and achievements in work as well as studies accordingly with your progress. Update your profile regularly with new interests.

HAVE YOU MANAGED TO OPTIMISE YOUR PROFILE?

When revising your profile, you can test how well you have managed to optimise it as far as your key words are concerned. You can do this by following these tips:

  • Go to your profile
  • Click … menu next to Headline
  • Press Save to PDF and open the document
  • Choose all the text and copy it
  • Go to Tagcrowd.com
  • Attach the text you just copied into the empty space
  • Click Yes on Show frequencies.
  • Tap Visualize! button. What does it look like?
  • What are the most frequently used words on your profile right now?

The gathered information helps you to work with your key words. After streamlining, repeat the exercise. You can take a screen shot of the word cloud after the exercise and attach it to the response field below. When you repeat the exercise, you can return to the starting point with the help of the word cloud.

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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