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Nainen tietokoneella. Image Tero Takalo-Eskola
It is well known that it is difficult to live on student grants alone. It can be useful to gain work experience during your studies, as it is difficult to find a job in Finland with an empty CV. We asked an expert and a recent graduate for tips on finding a job. 

"I don't think there are any magic tricks," starts the employment services of the city of Jyväskylä.
Sanna Hämäläinen, a self-coach at the Jyväskylä’s Employment Services.

Instead of magic tricks, Hämäläinen encourages people to focus on the basics when looking for a job. These include being active, identifying your own skills and networking.

According to research, more than 70% of jobs in Finland are hidden, which means that they are not openly advertised at all. The only way to get into these jobs is to be proactive. So just following vacancies can give you a completely false picture of the employment situation in Jyväskylä, for example.

"You should be active and open about your own interests. For example, at recruitment events you should openly tell companies what you are good at and what kind of jobs you would be interested in," says Hämäläinen.

Talking about your own skills can simply mean that you describe the content of the courses you have attended, tell about your responsibilities, previous summer jobs or about your own hobbies.

Networking makes it easier to get a job

Sometimes “networking” comes with bad associations. In many sectors, it is encouraged from the very first day of study, and rightly so. According to Hämäläinen, networks are an effective way of finding work opportunities.

"Throughout your studies, you should try to get a feel for the job market. What kind of work am I ready to do? What jobs are available here? Would there be something on offer in a company that would be even remotely related to my interests?"

If networking seems like a difficult or distant idea, it's worth starting small. According to Hämäläinen, the most important thing is to find your own style of networking.  

"In many cases, networking is understood as having 2,000 contacts on LinkedIn and making regular updates, even though you can network in other ways too."

One easy way to network is to discuss work-related issues across disciplines and with students from different year groups. Hämäläinen also stresses that you can get off to a good start just by talking to at least one employer at a fair or excursion.

Interested in entrepreneurship? There’s plenty of support available

More and more students are working as entrepreneurs or light entrepreneurs alongside their studies. Entrepreneurship is a good option for many, as it allows them to use their skills in a way that suits them.

There is a wide range of entrepreneurship courses available at JYU and JAMK. The courses are a great opportunity if you wish to improve your entrepreneurial skills. Hämäläinen also recommends the free KS-yritysidea service, which provides support and coaching for anyone considering entrepreneurship.

Work in the sector through your own initiative through trial and error

When Markus Puoskari graduated in spring 2020, he already had a job in his own field. He had studied communications at the University of Jyväskylä. Puoskari was employed in the final stages of his studies as a marketing executive in a company selling solar energy in Jyväskylä.

The transition from student life to working life was very exciting at first, but in the end the transition went smoothly. However, getting the job itself took time and perseverance.

"I applied to quite a few places and finally succeeded. I asked friends for feedback on my CV and applications. It was quite uncomfortable but really important. They gave me some good tips," Markus says about his job search.

Ihmisiä pöydän ympärillä keskustelemassa.

Markus' job search tips

1. Network and keep in touch with companies throughout your studies!

You'll meet plenty of people from companies at excursions, job events, fairs and courses. You should be open with them about your skills and your ambitions. It may well be that a company will need your skills! You should also keep an eye out for suitable work-related events or organisations where you could demonstrate your skills directly to the employer.

2. Develop your skills in your spare time

Especially in my final year of my studies, I learned a lot of things in my spare time that didn't come out of my studies. For example, I took a digital marketing course at Google, for which I received a certificate. It was things like this that made me stand out in the job search.

3. Put effort into your application

I put a lot of effort into every job application. Still, they don't always work out. However, every application I did was always slightly better than the last one. Eventually I got the job offer.

4. A job interview is not an interrogation  

When you get to the interview, remember to focus on interaction! At its best, an interview is an interactive moment where you can ask questions about things like the company's strategy, future prospects, work culture and practical questions about your job. Many interviewers are impressed by this kind of activity. On the other hand, it gives both parties important information about each other to support their decision-making.