Job search tips
Job hunting is a skill that you can learn and develop until you are a master at it.
You need to work to get work. Put some effort into it and be brave!
Finding a job is never easy, and the road to employment is often riddled with complicated problems.
Did you find a job that interests you? Here are a few tips on how you should proceed.
- What are the job’s main responsibilities and special requirements?
- Do you need a specific degree or certain type of work experience?
- What can you learn from the requirements of the job?
- What type of people are they looking for to fill the position?
- Do the tasks correspond to your skills?
- Are you interested in the employer, field and work tasks?
Find more background information on the employer. You should at least know the employer’s
- field, size and vision, as well as their organisational structure
- different departments and the duties of those who work in them.
Contact the employer to make sure that the job that they are advertising corresponds to your skills and wishes. The advertisement will usually spell out the ways that you can contact the employer. Always call whenever you can – it will help you decide whether to apply for the job or not.
A job search is a negotiation between an employer and a potential future employee. Your call may be the ticket to making the employer become more interested in your skills. They will now remember your name, which will be a big help when they begin narrowing down their options. Ask what type of person they are looking for and what type of expertise will be emphasised during the selection process.
To prepare for your call, write down a list of your skills and strengths that are related to the job and remember to keep your CV at hand. If the job does not perfectly match your work and educational background, but you would still like to apply for it, try to think of how you could use the skills that you have learned in other types of tasks.
Different work tasks require different personal attributes and skills – and these can be your strengths. The most important thing when it comes to all types of work tasks − in addition to knowing what the job entails and having the correct skills − is having the right kind of attitude. You have to trust that you are a good applicant and potential new employee.
When you are planning to call an employer who has not advertised a vacancy
- try to first find out who is responsible for recruitments for the job that you want
- make sure that you have their title, name and phone number
- call the contact person and tell them what types of positions you are looking for and why you are interested in their organisation in particular
- your goal is to set up a meeting or receive the go-ahead to send your CV.
Even though writing traditional job application documents may feel a bit old-fashioned, these basic documents still constitute a mandatory part of nearly every job application process. Verbalising your skills and expertise on paper in an engaging and succinct way can be quite challenging. It can be especially challenging to formulate your first CV or application for a job in your preferred field, and you may even feel lost at times. However, you don’t need to be a wizard to conjure up these documents. Here are some basic instructions and tips that will help you improve your jobseeker profile.
The purpose of your job application is to tell people how you will fulfil the selection criteria for the task at hand. You can also talk about your other strengths if they will be of use for the work that you are applying for. If you are applying for a job that is not in your specific field, you will need to evaluate how your skills match the task at hand.
If you have been away from the job market for a longer period of time, don’t try to explain it in your application. Just talk about yourself in a neutral way, even if the subject is a little bit more difficult.
Try to stand out, as a good application is your ticket to a job interview. However, while it may be easy to stand out, doing it in an advantageous way can be more difficult.
The people who will read your applications will also have varying tastes and preferences. Sometimes the best way to stand out is to write a longer, more unique and more marketing-oriented application. You can write your application in your own way, but remember to stick to the usual standards for official documents. Some employers may be more particular when it comes to including certain things in specific places. The important thing is to engage the person who will read your application.
The surest way to a good application is to write a one-page application letter and an adequately detailed two-page CV.
A good application is
- visually appealing
- clear and error-free
- instantly understandable – it should allow people to see whether you meet the professional and personal requirements for the job.
Include a cover letter in your email with your greetings and contact information as well as a few sentences on your skills and expertise.
While having a LinkedIn profile has not yet completely replaced traditional CVs, in most cases it can help support your CV during the job application process. Your LinkedIn profile also functions as a good online version of your CV even when you are not actively looking for work.
Use this model to outline and describe your expertise and skills in an easy way. How to structure your application:
- beginning: approach the topic at hand
- middle: describe your expertise and skills
- end: state that you would like to meet in person.
An open application or marketing letter is used to apply for jobs that have not yet been advertised openly. Remember to really define your expertise and skills – don’t paint an overly general picture.
- Highlight your skills in a way that they truly apply to the positions that you wish to apply for.
- Think in advance about the work that you would like to do.
- Really think about the needs that you could meet that a potential employer may have.
You can also write your application as an email message. An email application deserves as much time and effort as a traditional application. You can use the traditional application model.
In the subject field, write “Application” and the name of the position that you are applying for.
- Begin with a friendly greeting.
- An application that is written in the form of a letter may be more descriptive than a traditional application and it can differ from the usual documentary standards.
- Before you say your best regards, remember to inform the reader that your CV has been appended to the application.
- End your letter with a final salutation as well as your contact information.
Online applications that are submitted using an online service have their own special features. A recruiter can perform word searches on them to look for words that describe the nature of the advertised vacancy and the applicant’s personal features. Remember to utilise these keywords in your application, but remember to also focus on your special expertise.
When you are writing your application, remember to
- read the instructions
- write any text that is meant for an open text field in advance and then copy it to your online application
- print the application for yourself
- remember to update it regularly if the application is an open application.
A video CV is the latest job application tool. With it, you can provide a more versatile impression of yourself than with a traditional CV. You can upload your short, 1–3-minute video on a free video service and then send the link to the employer.
You should practice beforehand so that you can focus on your presentation and avoid sounding like you are reading from a piece of paper. For example, you can
- describe your special talents
- talk about your personality or strengths
- provide an example of your language skills.
A portfolio is a collection of the best and most important works or achievements that you have made. Its purpose is to provide added value to your job search. You can assemble a portfolio in many different ways. It can be presented in the form of a folder, briefcase, sample work, design or drawing, photo collection, memory stick or DVD.
Portfolios are most prevalent in more creative fields, but they can be used in many other fields as well. For example, a chef’s portfolio can include their personal recipes, photos of their dishes and the customer feedback that they have received.
You should assemble a new portfolio for every new application round. However, don't make your portfolio too broad.
A portfolio can include
- certificates, recommendations and evaluations
- samples of various work tasks, for example in the form of brochures, posters, programmes or magazine articles
- anything that will help you land a job.
You can send your portfolio to an employer or take it with you to your job interview and present it there. You can also include a link to your portfolio if it is available online.
Don’t think of a job interview as a one-sided interrogation, but as an opportunity for people to get to know one another. For the employer, the job interview is a way of testing an applicant's suitability for a specific task and team, but the applicant is also whether they are compatible with the company in question. The applicant’s responsibility is often forgotten during the job application process, but by challenging the interviewer, an applicant can show that they are motivated and truly interested in the position, and it can also help them decide whether the company in question suits them as well. Here are a few tips on how to succeed in both traditional interviews and video interviews.
When you are well-prepared, you can relax and focus on being just yourself. If you feel a little nervous, that’s alright as well.
Do the following before the interview:
- Find more information on the employer.
- Think about the task that you have applied for and what was said in the job posting.
- Go through your CV to remember what you know. Be ready to also talk about what kinds of tasks you may need help with.
- Be ready to talk about your motives and reasons for switching jobs, any holes in your CV and choices that you have made in life.
- Think about the questions that you would like to ask about the job and your potential employer.
A positive first impression goes a long way when people meet for the first time. Dress in a way that suits the position and employer who will interview you. Remember to take your application, work and educational certificates and possible portfolio with you. Be there on time.
During the interview, the recruiter will evaluate whether you are truly interested in the position as well as your skills and expertise. Above all, the interview will allow them to test your interaction skills and attitude. If there are more than one interviewers present, provide each one with an equal amount of attention.
Remember that your body language, expressions and the ways that you express yourself tell a lot about yourself. Listen to what they are asking you and think carefully before you answer. Be honest, but remember to also think about what does not need to be said.
There are usually three stages to an interview:
- The first stage often focuses on general matters – the goal is to generate an overall image of the interviewee.
- The questions presented during the mid-point of the interview will focus on your motivation. They will also focus on your career and the changes in your career that have happened along the way. In addition, the interviewers will want to know what kind of a person you are, your values and your attitude.
- The final stage of the interview will focus on the more practical matters related to the task, such as your salary, working time and start date. This part often includes a discussion on how the application process will proceed next – if necessary, you can also ask this yourself.
After the interview is over, think about how the interview went in your opinion. What went well and what could you improve upon?
If you are not chosen for the position, ask the employer or interviewer which factors were emphasised in the choice that was made and what were the reasons why you weren't chosen for the job.
Below is a list of general questions that are usually asked in job interviews. Practice how you would answer these. The better you prepare, the more confident you will feel during the interview.
- Tell us briefly about yourself.
- Describe your current or latest job.
- Why are you applying for this job?
- Why do you want to switch jobs?
- What are your goals for the future?
- What type of colleague or supervisor are you?
- What are the most important things that you learned in your previous jobs?
- Describe your dream job or workplace.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- How will your strengths help you succeed in your task? What have you done or will you do to fix your weaknesses?
- What motivates you as an employee?
- Describe the type of work community that you thrive in.
- Describe your idea of a good place to work.
- Do you prefer working alone or in a group?
- Why are you applying for a position that is not related to your previous work experience and educational background?
- How do you work under pressure? Give a concrete example.
- Are you ready to travel for work?
- Are you prepared to be flexible with your working hours?
- How much salary do you want?
- What have you learned in your previous jobs?
- What achievement are you particularly proud of?
- Why should we choose you?
- What would you like to know about us?
- Who could recommend you?
- If we call the person who recommended you, what would they tell us about you?
You may be subjected to several similar questions or the order of the questions may seem completely random. However, the interviewer may simply be testing how you cope under pressure.
There are questions that a person does not need to answer during a job interview. These include questions that are related to a person’s
- family relations
- sexual orientation
- political beliefs.
In addition to a personal interview, your competence and aptitude for the task may be evaluated in other ways.
You professional competence can be evaluated with different methods, for example by providing a work sample in a simulated situation that corresponds to the work. The assignment can be implemented as a group assignment or as a small-scale presentation.
A psychological evaluation can be used to assess and predict how you will perform in a task by studying your thinking, expertise, skills, features or operating models.
An employer can use a psychological evaluation to find out e.g.
- how you solve problems
- how well you can withstand pressure
- your interaction style and personality – i.e. whether you are a good person.
It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the tests are based on reliable methods and that the information that is gained during the testing process is accurate. The people who perform these tests must be experienced enough.
The best way to prepare for these types of tests is to be yourself and go in with an open mind. You are always entitled to receive a copy of your test report or oral feedback on it.