Job Search Skills

How do I find a job that suits me? How do I apply for it? What channels do I use? What is a good job appli­cation like? How can I prepare for a job interview? Is my CV up to date? You can find answers to these questions on this page.

Looking for a job

A good job appli­cation leads to an interview

• Carefully read the job adver­tisement and make sure what kind of a person the employer needs – Do you meet the require­ments and, if not, how do you justify the compe­tence that compen­sates the lacking skills?

• Reply to the adver­tisement as the employer wishes – Is it necessary to fill in a form on the internet or to write a separate appli­cation letter with enclosures?

• Highlight your skills and readiness for the job you are looking for in the appli­cation – How would the employer benefit from recruiting you?

• Make your appli­cation personal and distin­guishable – tailor your appli­cation to suit the job opening.

• Make a clear and well-struc­tured appli­cation; avoid typos – remember that a good appli­cation has an intro­duction, body and conclusion!

  • Intro­duction: What job are you inter­ested in and why? Where did you learn about the job opening?
  • Body: Showcase your expertise and justify it with concrete examples. Don’t repeat every­thing that you already have in your CV.
  • Conclusion: End politely and express your wish to be inter­viewed, tell how you can be contacted and express your interest to discuss more about yourself in person. You can also tell me when you can start working.

• Try to keep the appli­cation to one A4 sheet

• Give the appli­cation to someone else for comments before sending; ask him or her to be honest.

• Enclose your CV

More infor­mation about writing an appli­cation letter is here.

Source: Käännös. Sujuvat työnhaku­markkinat –hanke (Flexible Job Seeking project). Creative Commons Nimeä-EiKau­pallinen-JaaSamoin 4.0 Kansain­vä­linen -lisenssillä.

Creating a CV

Curriculum vitae, a CV in short, is an overview of your work experience, education and other skills. CV is the most important part of your appli­cation. At one glance, the recruiter is able to see your quali­fi­ca­tions for the job you are applying for. Make use of recom­men­da­tions; they may be given by persons in your previous job, people in positions of trust or, for example, people you have got to know through third-sector associ­a­tions. Don’t forget to ask permission to use their names in your CV.

In your CV

  • Personal infor­mation: name, address, telephone number, email address
  • Education: your educa­tional background in reverse chrono­logical order
  • Language skills: your command of different languages (e.g. using CEFR scale from A1 to C2)
  • Work experience: your employment history in reverse chrono­logical order
  • IT skills: for example, the software and social media channels that you use
  • Hobbies and interests: such pastime activ­ities and interests that are relevant in recruitment
  • Other: driver’s license, completed military service

Task 1. Watch the webinar Creating an Impressive CV. You need to register with your email address to be able to join the webinar (Momentum project 2021)

This webinar concen­trate on writing an effective CV. What makes you profes­sionally unique? How do you target your CV? How to research the employer and matching your skills with their needs. How do you describe your compe­tences in the key sections of your CV? We will go through the different sections of the non-academic CV by giving examples.

More infor­mation about writing a CV is here.

How to make a video CV

What is a video CV?

One way to demon­strate your compe­tence is to make a video. The video allows you to showcase your expertise in practice and give a broader view of you than what is possible in a written CV. It can also be added to complement the tradi­tional recruitment documents.

What are the benefits of a video CV?

The video CV distin­guishes you from other jobseekers. The video attracts attention, is remem­bered and brings out your person­ality better than the tradi­tional CV.

Even if you don’t want to use the video in your job search, doing it will help you practice your presen­tation skills and crystallise your compe­tences. Many companies use video inter­views at the later phases of their recruitment process, so making a video is a good practice for that purpose, too.

How do I make a video CV?

Making a video CV is easy, but it’s still worth proper prepa­ration. The idea is that the video comple­ments the tradi­tional CV: it brings out something new about you or deepens the infor­mation you have in the tradi­tional documents. You can use the video to tell about your personal charac­ter­istics, special skills and strengths, or give a proof of your language skills. Visualise your skills by adding pictures of your portfolio or hobbies. If you write a manuscript for your presen­tation, about half a page is suffi­cient. You should learn how to speak and give the presen­tation in a natural way so that you do it without looking at the paper. The most important point is that you are yourself in the video. This gives the employer a positive picture of you.

As with the job search process, the same advice applies to making a video CV: Don’t send the same video with every appli­cation but target your appli­cation to the job you are applying for.

How to succeed?

1. Reserve suffi­cient time

  • use enough time to prepare your application
  • be patient.

2. Keep the video appli­cation short

  • try to say what you have to say in a few minutes (max. 2 min)
  • only talk about what is relevant for your job search
  • proceed in a consistent manner
  • think that your video appli­cation is a trailer for the actual job interview.

3. Write a script

  • introduce yourself (and remember to smile)
  • tell about your background and use it to explain why you should be hired
  • tell a few facts about you as a person and your achievements
  • plan your last sentence, for example, you can thank for the opportunity

4. Talk calmly to the camera

  • don’t read directly from the paper
  • keep your eyes on the camera (attach your notes, if necessary, next to the camera)

5. Pay attention to the video quality

  • shoot your video in a quiet place
  • choose a neat and calm background
  • as much as possible, prefer natural light
  • your camera doesn’t have to be top quality

6. Relax

  • your video doesn’t have to be perfect on the first take
  • the video can also be cut and edited
  • remember to breathe, take the video appli­cation as a challenge, which you will succeed in.

Task 2. Create a video CV for your job search.

Carefully plan the content and technical imple­men­tation of the video according to the instruc­tions given above. You need a mobile phone, digital camera or a tablet to make the video.

Film the video with your digital camera, mobile phone or tablet. Recom­mended video length is 2 minutes at the most. You can shoot the video alone, with a friend or in a small group. You can edit the video if you wish. You can save the edited video to your phone, computer, cloud service, flash drive or directly to a free video service on the Internet (e.g. YouTube or Vimeo). It is easy to share the video from the video service by sending the link to the employer or adding it to a job search website.

Visual CV

What is a visual CV?

A visual CV is not a list or catalogue but an infographic that contains a timeline, diagrams, logos, text and almost anything you can think of. Your imagi­nation is the only limit. Illus­tra­tions can tell about the author and his or her person­ality. Of course, it is essential to distin­guish from the black-and-white and tradi­tional CVs.

Services to create your own visual CV or showcase your own expertise

Prezi

Prezi is designed to make presen­ta­tions, but it can also be used to make a curriculum vitae. With Prezi, you can make a mobile, fun and different CV or job application.

www.prezi.com

Canva

Canva is a free and versatile program that can easily be used to produce a wide range of marketing materials. Canva is a beginner-friendly and easy-to-use program that is well suited for a variety of purposes. Canva offers a lot of ready-made images, templates and drawings for graphic design and a visual CV. Canva requires login.

www.canva.com

Vizualise.me

Vizualise.me creates infographics on the basis of your work experience. If you wish, the service will retrieve your infor­mation directly from LinkedIn.

http://vizualize.me

Pinterest

Among social media services, Pinterest is a very good tool for creating a visual portfolio. In Pinterest, you can add pictures that are suitable for your field and work, as well as attach a tradi­tional CV. 

https://fi.pinterest.com/

Blogs as a visual CV

You can also make a visual CV as a blog. Blog tools include e.g.

  • WordPress: https://fi.wordpress.org/
  • Blogger: Instruc­tions on how to use Blogger can be found e.g. at https://support.google.com/blogger. PLEASE NOTE! If you have a Google ID, such as a Gmail account, the same username works for Blogger as well.

See the following links to famil­iarise yourself with the visual CV

Examples in Pinterest and Canva

Visual CV in Prezi

Some useful templates can also be found in Word.

Task 2: Make yourself a visual CV with your chosen tool.

Contact the employer

Contacting the employer can be intim­i­dating. Good prepa­ration can ease the anxiety. Your well-prepared contact will make a good first impression on the employer. You can visit the company, give them a call or send an email.

Once you have sent your job appli­cation and CV to the employer, you should call them in a few days to make sure that your appli­cation has been received. In this way, you will also show real interest and willingness to be recruited to the job.

Before the call – Preparation

Find out about the company

  • For example, visit their website: what infor­mation can you find there?
  • Do they use social media services such as Facebook? What are they saying, or what kind of postings or publi­ca­tions do they have there?
  • What do they do, who are their customers, how many employees do they have, where are they based, what are their main products or services, etc.?

Please consult the job appli­cation (if there is a job vacancy).

Think about what you want to know about the job opening and write down a few questions in advance.

Prepare a brief description of why you are inter­ested in the job and how your training, work experience and skills will be useful in it.

You can also send an open appli­cation to the employer if there is currently no vacancy available. The call after it shows that you are an active person.

Source: Käännös. Sujuvat työnhaku­markkinat –hanke (Flexible Job Seeking project). Creative Commons Nimeä-EiKau­pallinen-JaaSamoin 4.0 Kansain­vä­linen -lisenssillä.

This is how you call the employer – the progress of the call

1. Intro­duction
Tell your name and greet in a clear, enthu­si­astic and happy way. The first impression is important, so the tone of your voice has a big role.

2. Explain why you are calling
The reason for calling could be e.g. that you wish to get further infor­mation about a vacancy or that you are inter­ested in the oppor­tunity of working in this company. You can also mention some inter­esting project that the company has recently executed. This way you show the employer that you are genuinely inter­ested in the company and that you have famil­iarized yourself with the company in advance.

3. Making questions
Make the questions that you want in order to get further infor­mation about the open job or the oppor­tunity to be employed by the company in the future.

4. Telling about yourself and your compe­tence and interests

It is worth your while to tell about your own compe­tence with good examples, clearly and in a few sentences. For instance, like this: I have worked in place x and I have learned these things x among other things.

5. Ask about the schedule of the appli­cation process/ suggest a meeting

If you have applied for an open position, you can ask about the schedule of the appli­cation process. If, on the other hand, you are contacting an inter­esting employer, you should just be brave and suggest a meeting! You can say e.g.: ”I wonder if you have a need for this kind of compe­tence? It would be great to work for your company! Could I come and introduce myself and we could discuss more, for example next Wednesday at 2 pm?”


6. Thank and wish a good day

This is how you make contact through email

Use the same tips with email as with making the telephone call. Use clear, positive language and avoid spelling mistakes. Explain already in the subject line the purpose of your message.

The message could be e.g. as follows:

Subject line: Question about a summer job

Hello,
I am Essi Example, 21 years old business admin­is­tration student from Joensuu. I am looking for a summer job and I would be inter­ested in working for you. I have been in a summer job and as peak time sales assistant in a store and I liked my work very much. I have received good feedback from both customers and the shopkeeper. Would it be possible for you to hire a summer worker? Who could I send my appli­cation to?   Please find my CV attached. 
With kind regards,
Essi Example 040 123 4567
essi.example@example.fi

Job Interview

Job interview is your chance to convince the employer that you are just the right person for the job and that it is worth hiring you. In addition, it is your chance to sell your experience and compe­tence and to show that you are motivated about the job. In the job interview, you and the employer get to know each other. The meeting is equally important to both sides so it pays off to prepare well for the interview.  You should get acquainted with the company and the job description before the interview.

Task 3. Watch the webinar Succeed in Job Inter­views. You need to register with your email address to be able to join the webinar (Momentum project 2021)

How to prepare for a job interview, what happens during the interview and after it? A job interview can be seen in many ways: as a sign, that the inter­viewer is inter­ested in you and wants to know more; as a possi­bility for both ways to see, if you are a match meant to be; as a place to further promote your motivation, persona and expertise; and in best case, as an equal discussion between people who are inter­ested on the same themes. In all of the cases, it is important to prepare. Good prepa­ration is the key.

On this webinar, we go through different types of job inter­views, typical themes and questions in inter­views as well as topics and advice about what to do before, during and after an interview. 

More tips

  • See that you look neat and have clothing that is suitable for the job that you apply for.
  • Before the interview, find out the place where to go and how to get there.
  • Be on time (rather a bit early) and behave appro­pri­ately. Shake hands politely.
  • Give a positive first impression of yourself and present yourself with confi­dence, but remember that a little excitement is not harmful.
  • Pay attention to body language, eye contact and your way of speaking. Sit in a straight posture.
  • Concen­trate on and listen to what is being asked.
  • Tell honestly about your competence.
  • Make questions to the inter­viewer when it is your turn.
  • Remember to thank at the end and wish a good day etc.

Check out the most common job interview questions!

General questions:

• Tell us about yourself

• What are your strengths?

• What are your weaknesses?

Work history:

• Tell us about your work experience task by task: What have been the content and respon­si­bil­ities of the tasks and how have you ended up choosing the next place?

• What kind of job tasks have you liked the most and why? And what kind you haven’t liked and why?

• Give an example of the challenging situation you have encoun­tered in your work

• What independent tasks have you completed in your career?

• What has been the most important thing that the job has taught you?

Motiva­tional questions:

• What do you think of our company?

• Why do you want to change jobs?

• What do you expect from the job in general?

• What do you expect from the job? What would it give you that you don’t get at your present job?

• Where do you get satis­faction in working, what motivates you?

• What would you like to embrace or achieve next?

• How do you regard responsibility?

• What kind of stage in your career would you see this job?

• What are your goals?

Questions related to the job:

• Which parts of the job seem inter­esting? Which seem to be not so interesting?

• What qualities are required from the employee of the job you are looking for?

• What are the respon­si­bil­ities and require­ments for the job you are looking for?

Group work/cooperation/relationship with superiors:

• In what kind of situa­tions have you had to work closely with other people?

• Do you have experience in customer work?

• What role do you aim to take in teamwork?

• What kind of conflict situa­tions have you encoun­tered in teamwork? How do you tackle them?

• What are your best aspects in teamwork? What about the challenges?

• What is a good co-worker like? What kind of co-worker are you?

• What kind of work community do you like the best?

• How do you wish yourself to be led?

• What is a good manager/subordinate relationship like?

You in the work life:

• What aspects would you like to develop in yourself?

• What kind of feedback have you received from colleagues or supervisors?

• The main challenges of your career? How did you get through them?

• Working methods? Are you sponta­neous or do you always want to act according to the plan?

• How do you start solving problems that arise at work?

• How do you handle routines? Are you persistent? How does it show?

• What kind of negotiator are you?

• What kind of projects have you run? How did it go?

• How do you get the best out of people?

Issues related to stress and well-being at work:

• What kind of situa­tions cause you stress?

• How do you cope with the continuing high workload?

• What kind of decisions are easy/difficult to make?

• How do you deal with a stressful situation?

• How do you relieve stress and how do you relax?

• Tell me something about a frustrating situation?

• What kind of things or activ­ities irritate you at the workplace?

• How do you get ahead or motivate yourself in such a situation?

• How do you react to criticism towards you?

• How do you act when you have made a mistake?

• What kind of feedback do you want?

• What is important to you in life?

• How do you decide on your goals?

• How do you plan your day?

• How does work affect the rest of your life and vice versa? 

• What do you do during your free time?

Video interview

Video interview has gained popularity, especially among larger companies. Going through hundreds of appli­ca­tions is time-consuming, so before a personal interview, videos can be used for pre-selection. This means that the applicant must record the answers to the employer’s questions. Video inter­views are most commonly conducted via a website service, where the employer records the questions and invites the selected candi­dates. The appli­cants will then be able to record their answers via a camera on a computer or a phone.

Here are some tips on how to prepare for a video interview

1. Prepare for the questions carefully. You will normally be asked to answer about 3 to 5 questions. Think carefully about the answers and what things you want to highlight in the answers. Write down the answers and have them at hand as support while you practice answering. However, don’t read directly from the paper.

2. Choose a peaceful environment. Reserve a space for recording the answers in which you can make a video without inter­ference. Use a light background and make sure there is enough light. Close other people and pets behind the door so they don’t interfere with the recording.

3. Pick some neat clothes. Dress smartly and in the same way as for a regular job interview.

4. Focus on the matter and answer clearly the questions you have been asked. If you were asked for a three-minute answer, do not stretch it for ten minutes.

5. Check your output! Once you’ve recorded your answers, check the video. Can you hear your voice properly? Is the lighting bright enough so that you stand out from the background? Should you retake the recording of some answers?

6. Don’t work on it too much. Do not think too much about the technical imple­men­tation or natural breaks or looking for words. They don‘t matter too much, because a video interview isn’t an audition. The video is meant to give the employer a natural, more accurate picture of you than a paper application. 

Source: Käännös. Sujuvat työnhaku­markkinat –hanke (Flexible Job Seeking project). Creative Commons Nimeä-EiKau­pallinen-JaaSamoin 4.0 Kansain­vä­linen -lisenssillä.