• FINternational Association

Breaking into Finnish employment market: Three success stories

FINternational participated last week on international recruit event organized by Y-Campus at Tampere. During the event three speakers, Mariana, Berfin and Kubilay shared their own stories on how they broke into Finnish job market, which are summarized to in this post to help others as well. These are that kind of great stories we want to hear and share, despite it is a rocky road sometimes, it is still doable. Also a big hand to these three Finnish companies: Jolla, Deal Room and Happy or Not, who have opened up their work environment for cultural diversity. When the focus is getting the right people in right positions based on competences of an applicant, not on a passport or missing fluent Finnish, we can say that those businesses are on the right track.

Berfin Nur Osso: LinkedIn

I immigrated in the fall of 2017 from Istanbul for my master's studies in International Relations and Political Science at the University of Tampere. Currently I work part-time at HappyOrNot as a legal contract analyst and continue my master’s studies. I obtained my Bachelor's degree in Law, with a minor in International Relations, from Koç University, Istanbul in 2017.

After having applied to over 40 different jobs, from cleaning to newspaper delivery, within 6 months; I was about to give up and return to Turkey to spend the summer. Then I found the job of my dreams at HappyOrNot at the very end of May 2018. Now I’m so happy to been accepted to a position where I can utilize my skills, knowledge and background in Law.

I believe that I do share a story in searching and applying for jobs in Finland, both as an immigrant and a non-Finnish speaker, with many other immigrants in Finland. Despite all this adversity and uncertainty, I decided to try so hard without surrendering and with an active attitude (for example, by making phone calls every single morning to every single place she applied by email). Nevertheless, all the challenges I faced throughout this journey have been lessons-to-learn, and in the meantime, I've been so glad that I also founded a social enterprise (Food for Good) for immigrants like myself.

Mariana Perez Zamora: LinkedIn

My search for a job started about a year ago to complete my practical training. My first strategy was to send email applications to businesses, however that didn’t had a big success rate. I decided to change my strategy. I started carrying my CV in my backpack and leaving it in different offices while I was in the city. Thanks to this, I got my first job in Finland. From my experience and suggestions from Finns on job searching I wrote five tips to find a job in Finland.

1. You will be rejected

Having this mindset will help you keep your mind sane while you are searching for a job. Not all businesses have positions available, so try not to stress out.

2. Think outside the box; be creative and active.

Use your CV as a way to show your abilities. Create video CVs, websites.

3. Network

Essential in the Finnish culture. It is more likely you will get a job opportunity from someone you know.

4. Create your opportunities

After networking not just be happy you met people, but actually offer concrete things you are capable of doing. Suggest how you can help your new contacts improve their business.

5. Know your worth and your passion

Being an international student it’s not something less worthy. Actually, you are bringing more value to the company by having a different life experience and opinions. Be confident and go out to find that job.

Kubilay Kagan Özkan: LinkedIn

Hello! I’m Kağan, from Turkey, living in Tampere, Finland for 2,5 years. Let me share my insights from job hunting in Finland. The first and only key thing I would tell you would be Networking! I can say that all the jobs I got was thanks to networking and Finnish job market works with networks mainly. You can’t just rely on your network and hope that someone will bring you the job eventually. So what you should do is to be active as much as possible. Also, if your field allows you to be active on your own just by creating your own experience do it and learning things online and on your own would definitely show your interest in your field to employers. In this age, you should be always learning anyway! One thing I have discovered really important in Finland is LinkedIn. Offering help and doing something voluntarily can bring you the job as well.

Finns are very straight to the point when they talk and same applies to jobs and business in general. Then, you should really define your passion and strengths, and then look for interesting positions and companies instead of just sending empty meaningless applications. Put extra effort on approaching your dream workplaces and polishing your CV and cover letter by customizing them to the position and company specifically. Prepare yourself in your interest field to present to others in short amount of time which is usually known as elevator pitch.

If you believe you can learn the language fast and do the work in local language easily, go ahead just learn the language because it will help a ton for sure as more than 80 percent of the jobs are in Finnish and country is yet very homogenous.

Lastly, the cliché is there: Don’t give up! Time will come eventually. Everything is for a reason and has its time thus it will happen if it’s meant to be


Overall it was a very interesting event to participate having around 15 people listening these stories and see how does the peer support motivates people. Breaking into a Finnish job market is definitely not the easiest nut to crack, but stories like these above inspires and reminds that it is possible. Great job Berfin, Mariana and Kubilay!

#Tampere #internationaltalent #meetthetalents

Finternational ry

Tampere, Suomi / Finland


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