When Paavo Lyytikäinen became Tania Afrin’s mentor, she got a tireless supporter for her job search. Joint reflection and Tania’s efforts led to Tania finding employment – and a friendship.
Tania Afrin had been working as a business analyst on an hourly contract, but there hadn’t been enough work to do. After that, she had moved on to create administrative and accounting practices for her husband’s Kotipizza business, but she kept thinking about how she could find a job in the forestry sector in which she had a degree. She was most interested in working for a large and international forest industry company.
Tania decided to participate in Loimu’s mentoring programme. Loimu suggested suitable mentors for her, a few of whom she was interested in, and Paavo Lyytikäinen accepted the invitation. Tania and Paavo, who works in the system and process development team at UPM Metsä, had met years ago in lectures, but they didn’t really know each other.
When Paavo was asked to become a mentor, he was very flattered, surprised and secretly excited. He then took a step back and thought about what would be important for him as a mentor and whether he could help Tania. Paavo himself had been a mentee seven years earlier and the experience had been excellent.
“It was important for me to be sure that I could offer Tania mentoring that she would benefit from. Tania’s interest in similar tasks to mine was a good thing. I also knew that I wanted to get on the same wavelength with my mentee and talk with them about aspirations related to work and life. I believed this would work,” Paavo says.
Including short work periods in the CV
From this starting point, the year-long mentoring process began at the beginning of 2021. The content of the online meetings arranged during the COVID-19 pandemic were planned in advance based on Tania’s needs. In addition, Loimu organised a few joint meetings for everyone participating in the programme.
As the very first step, Tania showed Paavo the CV and cover letters she had been using up until then. Tania was puzzled as to why she couldn’t get any interviews.
“I learnt from Paavo that every job application must be tailored according to the criteria of the position being applied for. My second realisation was that all even slightly significant work experience should be listed in the CV,” Tania says.
In Paavo’s opinion, this indicates that the applicant themselves appreciates every job they have worked in, including those lasting just a short period.
“It may also be that a certain position requires those particular skills, even if they don’t seem that important to you,” Paavo says.
What kind of work suits me?
Even though Tania believed that business analytics was “her thing”, she thought it might be a good idea to have an understanding of the various tasks in the forestry sector. After all, it could well be that the path to analytics would pass through some other position first.
Paavo felt that this was something that he could certainly help with! During his own mentoring process, Paavo’s mentor had arranged for him to meet with various professionals, and he set out to do the same with Tania. He knew people who were suitable for the meetings and got them excited about the idea.
“Thanks to one of the meetings, I realised that my writing skills in Finnish weren’t sufficient for a position in external communications,” Tania says.
Tania, who moved from Bangladesh to Finland to study business economics in 2008, speaks fluent Finnish and writes well, too, but a position that requires flawless language would be a challenge.
Finally landing a dream job
Meeting with one professional working in the forestry sector was also very helpful when Tania got a cold shower. She had received a reply to her application stating that the job search would not progress because of her language skills. Paavo was also shocked by this assumption that had been made before any interview.
The misunderstanding left Tania dispirited. How could she ever succeed in her job search?
“I wanted to show Tania that she could find a job with her particular background and skills. Luckily, one of my colleagues working as a business analyst agreed to have a chat with Tania,” Paavo recalls.
That and Paavo’s ceaseless encouragement raised Tania’s spirits, and the job search continued.
During the summer, Tania started to feel like taking a short break from her job search might be a good idea, but that wasn’t on the cards. It was just then that Stora Enso posted a vacancy for a business analyst, which entailed market analysis and participation in investment projects. It was Tania’s dream job.
We can guess the rest of the story: Tania landed the job. The joint effort had paid off, even though Paavo emphasises that “you did all the work”.
From a mentoring relationship to a friendship
Now that some time has passed since the mentoring programme, it’s time to take a look at what was best for both of them in the process. Tania starts off by saying that they continued the mentoring beyond the official year-long period.
“And now it’s only beginning!” says Paavo of his thoughts at the time. He means that the foundation for a friendship had been created. It is not a given in mentoring, but Paavo and Tania had a natural connection which only deepened over time. When they talk, they laugh and smile a lot.
“I also learnt a lot from Tania about her experiences and particularly how perseverance and making an effort to achieve your goals are finally rewarded. I’ve had more luck with my own job search as just the right kind of positions have opened up at just the right times, but Tania’s persistent job search and pursuit of dreams impressed me,” Paavo says.
Tania appreciates how Paavo kept encouraging her at all times, believed in her and her skills and was optimistic.
“It strengthened my self-esteem as a jobseeker.”
Mentoring helps achieve career aspirations
Skills and strengths, building expertise and networking – these were selected by the 2022 mentoring group as the most important common themes in mentoring. Any themes requested by the actor can be covered in mentoring, and some of them will be shared between the whole group. Mentoring is a great way to reflect on your future career, form networks in your field and build bridges to working life.
Would you like to find yourself a mentor from working life? The next mentoring programme will start at the beginning of 2023, and the call for actors is now open. We have built a guided path to support actors towards mentoring that suits their personal needs. Before the mentoring process starts, the actor should think about their wishes for the mentor and their own goals, after which a suitable person from working life will be sought. Loimu has a number of mentor candidates ready, but the search based on the actor’s wishes is often extended more broadly to the member base.
Dare to dream and apply for mentoring! For further information contact Loimu’s careers service director Suvi Liikkanen, firstname.lastname@example.org