09 October 2019 by Megha Goswami
One of the main concerns of international students in Finland and elsewhere is finding work. Which is quite understandable since living costs in Finland aren’t the lowest. In this blog I’ll be sharing with you the things that I’ve learned about finding work and working in Finland.
A Short Recap
If you’re new to my blogs, here’s a recap. I’m a master’s student in Molecular Biotechnology and Diagnostics at the University of Turku. I’ve been in Finland since September 2018 and I work for a Finnish in-vitro diagnostics company ArcDia International Oy since May. This last year has been a roller coaster ride and I’ll share the professional aspects of my journey in Finland in this blog.
Five months and counting
It feels like I stepped through those doors yesterday, but much to my disbelief, it’s already been five months. To briefly introduce the company I work for and what we do. ArcDia has its’ own patented point-of-care (POC)technology, the mariPOC® test system. It’s an automated platform which allows detection of a panel of diseases in a short time frame (20 min- 2 hours). What makes mariPOC® popular in the Finnish and international healthcare industry is its ease of use, accuracy, and swiftness. I work in the R&D of the company where the primary focus is to develop prototype tests which can be ultimately added to the test panel.
I think the two most important things for me about my job are- enjoying what I do and a good work atmosphere. While the two are obviously separate things, this job helped me realize how much they correlate. A good work atmosphere, friendly colleagues, help me be a better employee.
Finding a job
This is often the most challenging, time consuming, and frustrating part. Finding ‘any’ job in Turku however is usually not too difficult. Cleaning is the easiest job sector for those who lack Finnish language skills. Other popular options among students is food delivery, working in restaurant kitchens, fundraising and translation. It’s also possible to find summer jobs or projects at your own department at the university.
Simple steps such as keeping an eye on e-mails regarding internships can come in handy. If you’re going to live in Finland for some time, taking a local number may be useful for receiving call backs.
Every job can be a good job
As I mentioned earlier, it’s possible to find a job. But it’s also highly possible it’s not the job you had in mind. But the optimistic side is that you never know when one opportunity can lead to the next. And for most students working part time is just a means to pay the bills, so students are often indiscriminate in job hunting.
Network, network, network
It’s always crucial to understand the job market of a particular country. Trust plays a big role in Finland, and that’s where networking comes in handy. Personal connections can be more valuable than you realize in job hunting. I understand that it’s tough to have a strong network in a country you’ve lived in maybe a few months or years. One just has to compensate by being extra outgoing to create a network fast.
The obvious platform to grow your professional network is via LinkedIn. Don’t hesitate to write messages or posts about what your situation is and what you’re looking for. While a lot of your effort will likely meet dead ends, don’t give up and just remember that you need things to click just once. There are several networking events that are organized for the same purpose. This is a great chance to meet professionals and stake out opportunities. I also have faith in old-school networking, where one simply communicates to his friends and colleagues that they’re looking for work. I was personally very happy from the outcome of this and received contacts of individuals in the same profession as well as suggestions and advice.
Don’t Give Up!
As a young student it is important to be persistent and relentless. From sending multiple emails/messages, making phone calls, sending initiative applications, your consistent effort will stand out. In a world full of competition, standing out is exactly what a candidate needs. And while job hunting can be a lengthy and frustrating process, it’s super important to keep trying and not give up. Last but not least, good luck!
What job hunting tips and tricks have you discovered? What else would you like to know about working in Finland?