Invest in the CV
Your CV is the most important job search document. Therefore, you should put effort into drafting the CV. It reflects your professional competence and experience. A good CV is clear, easily readable and tailored for the specific task. Most importantly, the CV should convey your competences. Simply listing the previous job titles is not enough.
You should consider what the thread running through your expertise is and ensure that the elements of your CV support this message. The CV should be written in the same language as the job advertisement.
The CV should include your
- contact information
- short description, stating who you are professionally
- work history from the most recent to the oldest
- skills (IT, languages, methods)
You can also mention your hobbies and positions of trust. The order of presentation of the information may vary depending on the focus.
A good CV is 1–2 pages long. The length of the CV naturally depends on the length of your work history. The more work experience you have, the more important it is that you leave some of the oldest ones out.
As the CV should only be approximately one page, make sure that the information left out from the CV is available, for example, in your LinkedIn profile.
Highlight the skills that are essential for the applied job when describing your previous work tasks. Tell which skills you have needed to perform your work and what kinds of new skills you have learned while performing the work. If you have worked for the same employer for a long time, you can describe how your tasks and responsibilities evolved during the years.
You can also describe your competence through achievements. Describe as concretely as possible what you have achieved and how your achievements have benefitted the customers, organisation or, for example, society. Your achievements may also be related to the saving of time or money or handling a challenging situation.
Find a couple of referees. The best referees are those who are relevant in terms of the applied job, for example, people working in the same field.
Visual CVs are increasing their popularity. A visual CV utilises colours, infographics, symbols and image elements. At best, these can be factors that make the CV stand out from the traditional black and white versions.
Visual CVs can be made, for example, with the Word templates or Canva tool. You can also seek inspiration, for example, from Pinterest.
CVs for the private sector employers differ from the academic CVs in terms of their content, length and skills introduction.
It is possible that the recruiter is not familiar with the academic world, so you need to adapt your experience to suit the private sector needs.
Describe your research projects in detail and tell especially about your achievements.
- What are the concrete results created by your research?
- What kinds of things, products or services have you developed?
- Who have benefitted from them?
- Could the results be utilised on a broader scale?
Use numeric data, if possible, and introduce the budget, number of employees, duration and scope of your research. Describe your contribution in the achievements resulting from team work. Remember to mention the used methods, software and standards.
Highlight also other elements in addition to your scientific research. For example, your training experience, development projects carried out in cooperation with others or possible supervisory tasks. Describe your networking and international experience, cooperation with different internal or external stakeholders and skills required in this cooperation.
You can compile a list of your publications and attach it to your CV. It is usually not recommended to list them in the CV.
Concentrate on the job application
The aim of the job application is to receive an invitation to a job interview. You will succeed best if you target your application to the job applied for as precisely as possible.
Analyse the wishes stated in the job advertisement and consider how your skills and background correspond to the stated wishes. You can make your application as selling as possible by putting yourself in the employer’s position and considering your experience and expertise as a benefit offered to the employer.
- Start from the motivation. Describe why you are applying for the vacancy and why the organisation interests you. Tell briefly who you are and adapt your story to the applied position. What is it that you, as an expert, can offer to the organisation?
- Explain why you are the most suitable candidate for the job. Describe your skills and experience from the point of view of the job applied for. Your application is more impressive if you describe your skills through practical examples. Avoid excessive details, the employer can find the detailed information from your CV.
If you have spent the most recent years with your doctoral thesis, do not emphasise your research work and topic when applying for a job other than a research job. Your previous work history and working in other fields may also have provided skills which are worth mentioning.
- Describe your working style and strengths. Underline characteristics that are mentioned in the job advertisement. Avoid cliches, such as “I’m independent, but I also like team work”. Give examples of how your strengths are reflected in your working – this is more impressive than just listing your characteristics.
- Conclude the application by emphasising your motivation. At the end, you can also reply to the wishes stated in the job advertisement concerning, for example, moving to another location or the start date. Add your salary requirement only if asked. End the application in a polite manner and with enthusiasm.
An open application differs slightly from ordinary applications. When preparing an open application, you do not know anything about the job you are applying for or even if there is one.
First, study the operations, products and services of the company and asses how your skills could benefit the company. This is important, as you should have a view on the tasks for which you offering your expertise. Express this view right in the beginning of the application, for example, through concrete examples. Do not leave it to the recipient to decide, since this will weaken your possibilities to continue discussions. You can also state that you are interested in discussing other tasks as well.
Target your application to a certain person. A suitable person could be, for example, the head of the unit or, in a smaller organisation, the CEO.
At the end, tell when you can start the work. After sending the open application, you must always contact the recipient. State the time when you are planning to contact the recipient in the application. A suitable time could be, for example, one or two weeks after sending the application.
Hidden labour market
Hidden jobs can be found through different methods – you just have to find your method. Remember that you should test different strategies when searching for a job and change the method if your persistent search is not effective. To find a hidden job, you need to tell your social network about your job search and skills.
A slightly more active way of searching for hidden jobs is to tell about your job search to everyone you know. You can do this in the social media, via email, by phone or face-to-face.
In the professional LinkedIn social media channel, you have many different opportunities to do this, from changing profile headings to different publications. You can also start writing a blog about your job search or professional interests. People in your network are likely to react positively and will want to help you. Give them a chance to support your job search!
Recruitment consultants have extensive connections with employers and vacancies. They know the right people and want to increase their expert resource bank with skilled candidates. Therefore, it is recommended to contact them.
You can find recruitment consultants in head hunting and recruitment companies. You can find a list of head hunting firms here.
When you know the operators, interesting projects and potential recruiters in your area, it is easier to pick the ones who you will contact first.
Explore who you know and obtain more information about the employer through your acquaintances. You can get more information about employers from the media, company listings from the umbrella organisations of companies or by contacting Loimu’s Career Services.
With the help of our company information service, we can assist you in finding companies in a suitable field in your area.
Being active in job searching requires that you follow the current news and events. Company acquisitions, mergers, expansions, new product or project launches often result in recruitment needs.
By contacting the company at this stage, you will be ahead of others and may ensure your spot in the interview.
After you have gathered enough information and tailored your application documents, you are ready to contact companies.
You must also prepare yourself for making cold calls. Call the CEO of a small company and the person in charge of operations, such as the R&D Manager, of a larger company.
They can be contacted by calling the switchboard, usually most successfully in the morning. You can also use LinkedIn or old job advertisements to find the contact information. Tips for making cold calls are offered, for example, in the webinar recording.
Interviews are the most common personal assessment tools used in recruitment when rating candidates. Interviews aim at collecting information and making a decision.
Please note that the interview is a reciprocal assessment situation. You should also find out whether the tasks meet your expectations and whether you want to commit to this organisation.
It is understandable that you are stressed about the interview. The interview may similarly stress the interviewer.
Preparing yourself well in advance usually reduces stress. You can, for example, structure your answers to the most frequently asked question, which will make it easier to express your thoughts in the interview.
Review the job advertisement and familiarise yourself with the organisation’s website and current events. Find out the route to the interview location and save the contact information of the interviewers.
Be prepared to introduce yourself professionally and tell why you are the most suitable candidate for the job. The employer is especially interested about your motivation, skills and development areas.
The interviewer often ask about your behaviour as a team member, colleague or supervisor. You might also be asked to reveal your future plans.
Pay attention to the way you tell about yourself and your skills. The appreciation you show to yourself will be reflected in the way others see you. Try to be open and positive.
Video interviews are part of modern recruitment processes. Videos are also used varyingly in the public sector, for example, in municipal recruitments.
A large number of Finnish organisations use the domestic RecRight video recruitment tool in their recruitment. Other tools are also available. However, it is likely that you will be faced with the RecRight system at some point in your job search.
Videos enable comprehensive familiarisation with a larger number of candidates. The interview link might be sent to up to 20 potential candidates. For example, five of them may receive an invitation to a personal interview.
Familiarise yourself with the questions before the video and plan your answers. You can write down words that will support you when answering but avoid writing down everything.
You should practice video interviews in advance. You can practice your answering, free of charge, in the RecRight.com service.
It is typical for today’s working life that people search for jobs several times during their careers. Sometimes the job search need arises suddenly, for example, due to a termination. In termination cases, livelihood and future prospects may weigh on the jobseeker. You may have to take a U-turn with your previous career plans.
For many people with higher education, work plays a significant role in their identity and loosing a job may affect their self-esteem and self-image. Ability to adjust to sudden changes varies between individuals.
For example, previous experiences and trust in your own abilities affect the survival and re-orientation skills. It is easier to survive by airing your thoughts with those close to you or finding a peer group or person
Prepare a job search action plan, including the goals and intermediate goals. The action plan structures your day and creates a feeling of control. Searching for a job is hard work, so make sure that you have enough time to rest and promote your well-being.
In order for the job search to remain meaningful, you need successes. Define your indications of success. Encouraging daily successes may include
- contacting the employer
- sending the job application
- obtaining new LinkedIn contacts
- being invited to a job interview.
Job searching requires skills and practice makes perfect. Analyse your regular job search and pay attention to the results.
If you are not invited to a job interview regardless of your hard work, re-assess the goals of your job search and the functionality of the job search documents. Ask feedback from the recruiters, your friends or Loimu’s career coach.
Job searching is associated with many kinds of feelings from enthusiasm to uncertainty. It is inevitable that everyone meets disappointments at some point during the job search. However, the ability to accept and handle the setbacks depends on the individual.
You can and must practice your abilities and skills. Understanding that job searching involves setbacks may help. Reflecting the negative feelings strengthens the character and ability to deal with setbacks.
Reflecting means that you will listen to and accept your feelings. After dwelling in the emotion for awhile, you will be able to take steps forward.
In the middle of the surge of emotions, you can remind yourself about the good things in your life. What makes you happy?
Sometimes, a setback may be especially straining. Then you should take a time-out and do meaningful and joyful things.
You can prepare an action plan also while recovering from a setback. A phone call to a friend, walk in nature or listening to music may alleviate your sorrow.