Investing some of your time as a volunteer is one of the main entry doors to Finnish job market, to be part of a group and community, to make friends, to feel good and to develop your skills and professional networks. It is also a very good way to improve your Finnish language skills.
Volunteering is something that we have advised to do to our participants, especially those who have a lot of transferrable skills, or who are trying to start a career. On top of everything that we have listed above, volunteering is a way for you to perform tasks and build up genuine relationships, based on trust. As we mentioned several times, trust and references are extremely important when looking for a job, and getting them by volunteering is, in our opinion, one of the best ways to do so.
There are two main ways of volunteering. In many organizations, you will be proposed pre-existing tasks to perform. Many associations have a list of tasks that are usually given to volunteers, from very simple ones to the most complex, depending on your skills and availabilities. Many organizations also value the volunteer’s own initiatives, ideas and creativity. A lot of them are more than open to new ideas. You can very often become a volunteer and develop your own idea. This is a very efficient way to develop and showcase your skills, and at the same time build up your networks!
Volunteering in a Finnish speaking environment is also a valuable experience, to both improve your language skills, but also justify that you can be part of a Finnish speaking team, even if you’re not yet fluent.
Volunteering is also a simple way to make friends and meet like-minded people. Finland had clubs and associations for almost everything! You’ll most certainly find your people by being involved in an association or an organization!
Lastly, by volunteering and being involved and active, you will support your own well-being. Being a volunteer gives you a sense of meaning and purpose, that many foreigners might feel that they lack during their job-hunting period.
Go for it!