path ambassador interviews
In our Path Ambassadors interviews, we heard about the paths of 14 people, both Finnish and foreigners, who would like to share their experiences on the path to employment, integration, and well-being in Finland, together with their partners. During the interviews we talked about themes including intercultural life, Finnish language, relationships, and networks, and well-being, as well as employment. In this article, we focused on the topic of employment in Finland and discussed with our Path Ambassadors what is the role of networking in finding a job, what are the best ways of getting to know companies in Finland and how to build professional relationships at work.
According to the majority of foreign Path Ambassadors, job hunting in Finland is difficult for them for various reasons. The Finnish labor market is very network-based, which significantly limits options of those who just moved to Finland and have few networks. Moreover, Finnish language is often a cornerstone of the labor market, as it was mentioned by every participant including the Finnish spouses. Some of them pointed out that it was not only about getting a job in Finland but most importantly being able to fully engage in the working life and social events at work.
Nevertheless, for some participants, it was possible to find a job without any Finnish skills, however, they paid attention to the fact that their cases were somehow exceptional. For example, the situations varied from a high demand in their industry and a unique skill set to setting up an own business or becoming self-employed. Generally speaking, networking was named by the absolute majority of Path Ambassadors as the most effective way of becoming employed in Finland. The second most popular recommendation for job seekers in Finland was volunteer work, as it is a great way to “get foot in the door” and prove yourself as a trustworthy and committed employee. Quite often, when companies have a position opened, they can first contact interns or volunteers who worked for them before and ask if they are interested to continue working as a full-time employee rather than start the whole recruitment process.
Attending events within a certain industry of interest, meetups, conferences and workshops were listed as the ways through which our Path Ambassadors started building their networks in Finland. For foreign spouses, it was also helpful to get to know their Finnish partner’s friends. Besides, many people recommended getting into university in Finland, as it has a lot of benefits for networking and job hunting in general. Being a student allows one to meet new people, make friends, gain knowledge and competences, be involved in internships and project works and much more. In networking, it is crucial to be genuine and open towards others, not expecting something in return, as networking as such is about people and not about gaining immediate benefits.
Knowing that personal and professional relationships in Finland are usually based on trust between people, it is extremely important and yet difficult for a foreign person to prove themselves as employees who can be trusted. Being punctual, responsible, and carrying out tasks with diligence are a norm in the Finnish working life. Employees in Finland usually work with little supervision, as it is expected that they are capable of managing their resources independently. Of course, it is possible to ask for help but it is an employee’s responsibility to identify if they need assistance and talk to their boss about it.
Undoubtedly, being employed in Finland opens many doors to professional growth, networking, and learning opportunities. For many Path Ambassadors, having a job is also linked to integration to society. However, as it was mentioned above, getting a job does not guarantee an immediate integration and happiness in life. Even though it is possible to manage working solely in English, Finnish language remains a huge component of integration.
One may think how employment can be connected to intercultural relationships and why we decided to interview both Finnish and foreign partners? From our Path Ambassadors’ experiences, we learnt that tensions between partners can occur due to such problems as lack of money, inability to continue or start a career in a new country, unawareness of sources for finding a job and how administrative offices work. Foreign spouses may start doubting their decision to move to Finland and become angry at their Finnish partners for having to leave their career behind in their home country. In turn, Finnish partners can experience frustration with regards to inability to help their spouse in the job hunt.
To sum everything up, below we gathered some of our Path Ambassadors’ tips on employment that can be of some help to you. Find more tips on employment, integration, and well-being in the previous blog posts!
Attend events even if they are in Finnish, as you will still have the opportunity to network with other professionals in your field
Modify your CV according to requirements mentioned in a job advertisement and showcase experience relevant to a position that you apply for.
Be optimistic and don’t blame yourself for slow progress in language learning or not being able to find employment yet. Integration comes with time and it is important to take care of yourself and appreciate what you are doing and what has already been done on the path to integration.
Our Path Ambassadors are sharing their stories about how they found their path in Finland, and what is their take on employment, integration, and well-being in Finland as part of an intercultural couple. Some of the ambassadors have preferred to use another name in the article.
Delta's path from Namibia and in Finland
Elena's path from Russia
Fabrizio's path from Italy and the US
Henna's path in Finland
Irene's path from Chile and in Finland
Irina's path from Romania and Canada
Jesus' path from Spain
Julia's path from Russia
Lucas' path from France
Mitch's path from Australia
Pekka's path in Finland
Ruta's path from Lithuania
Tanja's path in Finland and Mexico