Job application and CV
Before you write a job application, read the job advertisement carefully and think about the kinds of skills and competence the employer is looking for. Think of how your competence corresponds to the employer’s wishes and requirements.
You can also contact the employer and ask for more information if you have a question that the advertisement does not answer. Call the employer only when you want to ask something concrete about the job.
Write a new application and update your CV every time you apply for a new job. You can type the application into an email message or add it as an email attachment with the CV. Always add attachments in the PDF format. You can often send the application and CV through the employer’s website. Sometimes the job application can be a video, a portfolio or, for example, a web page.
The purpose of a job application is to arouse the employer’s interest so that they will invite you to an interview. The application is a reply to the job advertisement. Respond to the wishes and requirements that were mentioned in the job advertisement. Emphasise the things that are important for the task. Give concrete examples of your competence. Assure the employer that you are suitable for the task.
A job application is usually a little under one page long. Ask someone to read and check your application.
You often have to add a desired salary to applications. It is often difficult to estimate the correct amount. The desired salary must not be too high but not too low either. Trade unions may provide more information on the wage levels in different fields. Please note that the employer must not pay you less than what the applicable collective agreement in the field indicates.
Working without pay is only legal in the case of a TE Office work try-out or a traineeship related to studies. In the case of a trial period, normal pay must be paid during the trial period.
Read more on the wage and salary levels in Finland on the InfoFinland page Conditions of employment and salary in Finland.
Read more about prices and other costs of living in Finland on the InfoFinland page Cost of living in Finland.
Recognising your competence
In seeking employment, it is useful to recognise your competence. Go over your education and work experience and think about what skills they have taught you. What professional skills do you have? What are your strengths? Also think about what skills you have from hobbies or other experiences.
Keep certificates from your previous workplaces and studies. Always remember to ask for a certificate when you have been working, training or studying. Even ten years after the contract of employment has ended, the employer is obliged to provide a testimonial of service. There is usually no need to send testimonials of service to the employer in advance, but it is good idea to take them to the job interview in case the employer wants to see them. It would be good if all your references and certificates obtained abroad were translated into Finnish or Swedish.
More information is available on the InfoFinland web page Certificate of employment.
Recognition of foreign diplomas and degrees
Job hunting is easier if you know how a degree or diploma gained abroad corresponds to a Finnish one. You can apply to the Finnish National Agency for Education for recognition of your diploma or degree which has been completed abroad. Recognition of a degree is subject to a charge.
More information is available on the InfoFinland web page Foreign diploma or degree in Finland.
Finnish National Agency for EducationRecognition of a degreeLink redirects to another website
Open job application
You can contact an interesting employer directly. You can send an open job application or call the employer even if they are not advertising vacancies at the time.
In the open job application, describe your skills and the kinds of tasks you would be interested in doing. Add a curriculum vitae or CV to your application.
Curriculum vitae or CV
A curriculum vitae or CV includes your competence, work experience and education in a dense and clear format.
There are different CV models. In a traditional CV, you can list your competence chronologically. In a competence-based CV, you can group your skills into different competence areas. The CV can also be a video, portfolio or web page. Explore different CV models and build a curriculum vitae that suits you.
A CV is usually 1–2 pages long. Remember to revise your CV for each new application.
What does a CV include?
- Name and contact information – Address, e-mail address, telephone number.
- Work experience – List your previous jobs, starting with the most recent one. Also specify the duration of the employment. Describe your tasks and the skills you have learned in the work.
- Education – List your degrees chronologically, starting with the most recent one. Include the name of the degree, the name of the study programme, the name of the educational institute and the time of graduation.
- Courses – List under one heading the Finnish language courses and other courses that you have completed.
- Other competence – Language skills, IT skills, licences such as a hygiene pass.
- Publications and other demonstrations of skill – If you want, you can list your own publications or demonstrations of skill.
- Hobbies, positions of trust – You can also share your own interests.
- References – You can add the names of people who have promised to recommend you for the job. Add the contact information of the references. Remember to ask the reference for permission.
At the beginning of the CV, you can add a summary or a profile describing your background and core competence with a few sentences. You can describe the goals of your job search or your special competence. You can also include a photograph of yourself.
Ministry of Economic Affairs and EmploymentHow to write a job application and a resumeLink redirects to another website
A competence-based CV highlights your competence, skills and experience.
Select a few competence areas and describe your related experiences, skills and accomplishments under the headings. You can also add competence you have acquired, for example, in voluntary work, hobbies and studies. In addition to this, you can list your work experience and education chronologically.
In the beginning of the CV, you can add a summary or a profile describing your background and core competence with a few sentences. You can describe the goals of your job seeking or your special competence.
Make an individual CV for each job. Highlight the skills that are needed in the job. Think of what the employer should know about your skills and competence.
The Europass CV is a pan-European CV. You can compile and store your CV on the Europass electronic platform. You can also create an electronic portfolio of your skills for the service. The Europass service provides information on work and study opportunities throughout Europe. The service is free of charge and intended for everyone.
Europass is used in all EU/EEA countries. You can use the Europass when looking for a job or a place to study. The Europass is especially useful if you apply for work or education in Finland from another EU country.
Read about the employer beforehand, for example, through their website. Think of how to bring out your competence and suitability for the task. Learn to describe your background and professional competence in a few sentences.
Think beforehand about what questions the employer might ask you. Practise answering common job interview questions. The employer may not ask you about your family, what religion you practise or whether you are politically active.
Let the employer see that you have familiarised yourself with its organisation and the task beforehand and that you are genuinely interested in this particular job. Think also about what you would like to ask the employer.
Starting a new job
Always make a written contract of employment before you start a new job. Agree on the content of the contract of employment with the employer. Read the contract carefully before signing it. Read more on the InfoFinland web page Conditions of employment and salary in Finland.
Before you start a job, make sure that you have the right to do that work. Your residence permit may contain restrictions on the field of work you are entitled to do. An employer is also obliged to make sure that you have the right to work in Finland. If you have a residence permit, you can see your right to work on your residence permit card. If you do not have a residence permit or are not sure about your right to work, you can ask about it from the Finnish Immigration Service by e-mail. Read the instructions on the Finnish Immigration Service website.
When you start a new job, submit a tax card to the employer. Read more on the InfoFinland page Tax card.