Working in Finland

We at Edunation strongly recommend students to get active also outside of studies and gain some work experience from Finland. If you are a student looking for a work opportunity, this is the page for you! You can do an internship as a part of your study degree, but you can also work part-time on various fields and industries. Combining work with studies is very common in Finland – around 55 % of university students have a job alongside their studies. It shows future employers that you are hard-working and active. Finnish students often work in restaurants, retail, grocery stores and maintenance. Volunteering is another common way of getting new experiences and contacts. In Finland there are many associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that welcome new members on various fields and tasks.

Keep searching until you find something because it really increases your chances to find a job. I applied for any kind of job, from cleaning to graphic designing, any kind of work that I could find. Even though you have a little understanding of that field, it is good that you apply, because maybe they might offer you another position in the same company. Don’t give up!

Berfin Nur Osso, Turkey

How to find a job in Finland

Finding a job in a foreign country is never easy. It takes a lot of time and energy, but with the right attitude and mindset you will be able to find a job suitable for you.

A good starting point is checking out Career Services offered by most of the universities in Finland. Although the Career Service is not a job recruitment agency, you can contact them for advice on possible local employment opportunities, and general tips on job hunting in Finland. TE-palvelut is also worthwhile to look up. The website is maintained by the Public Employment Office of Finland. The website has some useful information about job-seeking, even though the job search is only in Finnish (titled Vacancies). However, there is a large number of open vacancies, and you can limit your search on English job advertisements only.

The easiest way to find a job is through various job recruitment agencies and companies. The agencies usually have websites that allow you to search for specific jobs, submit your job application and CV in their database and leave a contact request. Some agencies have English web sites, but a lot of them operate in Finnish only. This doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t have jobs for English-speaking people at all – you can always leave a contact request and ask if they can help you with job-seeking in English. Few of those agencies are listed here:

If you use search tools on different websites to look for a job, you should note that if the job vacancy is in Finnish, the company probably uses Finnish as their working language. If the vacancy is in English, it means you can apply in English as well.

In addition to work experience, different volunteering experiences are also valuable and a good addition to your CV. There are many non-profit organizations in Finland that welcome voluntary workers in different fields. If you work with people, however, Finnish language is usually required, but you should check with the organization in question whether they have a need for English speaking volunteers. You can at least check out the following organizations:

  • Finnish Red Cross has a number of different volunteer positions all around Finland.
  • KVT organizes international voluntary projects for all cultures and backgrounds, e.g. summer camps.
  • Every university has a student union that organizes different events for students and can usually help with job-seeking or at least advise you on where to get started in your local area.
  • Social media is becoming increasingly popular in recruiting and networking. LinkedIn is the number one social media channel when it comes to job-seeking. If you haven’t created a LinkedIn profile yet, we suggest you do it sooner rather than later and learn to use it for job-seeking. You can find LinkedIn guides online. Note that it is quite normal to add people you have just met as your contacts on LinkedIn (unlike on Facebook where you might just add your “friends”). The bigger your network, the better chances you have on finding some interesting opportunities there.

Preparing CV and Job Application

CV is often the first thing that recruiters read from an applicant. Therefore it should be concise, clear and easy-to-read. You should start your job-seeking by creating a CV, if you don’t have one yet. It can then be easily modified and updated to match a certain company or job opening. There are plenty of online CV templates and guides that you can use when writing your CV. You can find free CV templates for example in Canva CV templates.

Job application or reference letter is supposed to complement your CV and tell the employer why you are interested in working with them. Don’t repeat your CV in the job application, but you can write about what you have learned in your former jobs (or other projects/hobbies etc.), and what skills have you learned that are relevant to the job you’re applying to. You can have a look at Job application guide for good tips. There are two types of job application:

  • Direct job application: When applying directly to a certain job or position, it is crucial that you read the job advertisement carefully and then write your application where you answer the following questions: 1) Why are you applying to this job, 2) What are your qualifications for this job and 3) Why the company should hire you (instead of someone else).
  • Open application: If you cannot find interesting or suitable job openings or positions, you can always send an open application to a company where you would like to work. Open job applications can be more general than direct applications, but always remember to address the company in question. In an open application you should describe your skills and the kinds of tasks you would be interested in doing, and also whether you’re looking for a full-time or part-time job, are you available for evening or day shifts, and so on. Always remember to add your CV to the application.

Part-time work as a student

In most cities and towns, there are constantly open vacancies for various part-time jobs that are suitable for students. There is even labor shortage in many industries in Finland, so students are valuable work force for many companies. However, even though English is a popular language in Finland, many jobs require at least some knowledge and usage of Finnish or Swedish language. This means that learning these languages makes it easier to find work during your studies. However, there are still opportunities for international student to find jobs in companies and other organizations that use English as their working language, especially in bigger cities.

When you’re looking for part-time work that fits in your life with studies, there are a lot of student friendly jobs both for Finnish and international students. Students usually work part-time in restaurants, cafés, grocery stores, retail and cleaning jobs. The wage for these kinds of jobs depends on your responsibilities and previous work experience. The minimum wage is usually between 7,5 – 9 EUR/hour, and on top of it you get extra wage for evening, night and Sunday shifts.

For non-EU students with student residency permits, students can work for a maximum of 25 h/week during term time. The number of working hours is not restricted on a weekly level, which means that you can work periodically during the academic term according to your situation. However, there are no limits regarding the number of hours that students can work outside term time when the university is not offering lectures (e.g. during Christmas holidays and summer breaks). This means that you can get much working experience before you graduate.

You can also do an unlimited number of internships when you study in a Finnish university, given that the internships are related to your study program. There are no weekly hour limits on working as an intern or a trainee.


Work after graduation

After graduation, students can apply for a 1-year residence permit that allows them to stay in Finland for job-seeking. To get this extended residence permit, you must apply for it while your student residence permit is still valid. For the best chances of getting a job after graduation, it is essential that you have already acquired some work experience during your studies through an internship and part-time job. These former positions often act as a springboard for you to full-time jobs once you graduate.

Once you get a job in Finland, you can apply for a work-based residence permit. It’s quite a straightforward process. In Finland, there is labour shortage on many professional fields and companies are constantly looking for new employees.

You can be granted a permanent residence permit when you have stayed in Finland for 4 years with a continuous residence permit. In other words, if you get a full-time job after graduation, you need to work a minimum of four years before you can get a permanent residency. If you form family or other ties in Finland during your stay, the chances of getting a permanent residency are even higher.


Job prospects and skill shortage in Finland

The attractions of working in Finland are many. Finland offers good, high-quality working conditions, high salaries, employees have a secure status, children and youths enjoy good educational opportunities, public services run smoothly and we have many successful, internationally well-known companies.

Finland has long been a world-leader in technology, ICT, paper and pulp industries and the country can boast with globally! Finland has also become the start-up hub of Europe, and many companies have started their journey in Finland. SLUSH Helsinki is one of the biggest start-up events in Europe. In addition to the well-known success stories of Rovio (Angry Birds) and Supercell (Clash of clans), there are an amazing number of promising and rapidly growing start-ups and young growth companies within Cleantech, ICT, Life Sciences and Nano Technology industries in Finland.

If you want to learn more about this topic, we have published few articles that we invite you to have a look:


Practicalities

In Finland there is a strict taxation system that everyone should be aware of. Here are few things about it.

  • Taxation Policy: If you work in Finland, you have to pay taxes on your income. Income tax in Finland falls within the European average. In Finland, tax revenues are used to pay for social services
    such as public transport, day care, health care and education. The taxation policy depends on how long you stay in Finland, and on the type of your employment. International tax agreements sometimes allow tax deductions for students. More information can be found on the Finnish Tax Administration’s website.
  • Tax Card: If you are employed and residing in Finland for more than six months, you must obtain a tax card from the tax office. The original tax card shall be presented to the employer so that tax can be withheld. When applying for a tax card you need to give an estimate of how much you will earn during the calendar year (January to December), so that the tax office can assign you a tax percentage. The higher your predicted income, the higher the tax percentage you will pay. You will also need the Finnish personal number that can be obtained from the local register offices.
  • Tax returns: The Finnish taxation year follows the calendar year. The Tax Administration distributes the pre-completed tax return each year in March or April. Tax refunds are due at the beginning of December each year.
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