More Than the Degree

Navigating Employment Opportunities in Finland after Graduation

Three students, Anubhuti in the middle, at a career fair smiling and looking at brochures.

Transitioning from a stable career as a Chemical Engineer to pursuing a Master's degree in Advanced Energy Solutions in Finland was not an easy decision. After four years of a steady income, the prospect of uprooting my life and moving to a new country without immediate financial security was daunting. However, guided by Sheryl Sandberg's wisdom— “If you are offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on!”—I embarked on this transformative journey. Today, as I celebrate my one-year milestone in Finland, I share insights into the prospects of securing employment after graduation.

The Language Conundrum

First and foremost, let's address the question that often lingers in the minds of prospective job seekers in Finland—Is learning Finnish mandatory? The answer is no. English is widely understood, and survival without knowing Finnish is entirely feasible. However, it's essential to recognize that knowing Finnish can significantly expand employment options, especially in roles involving customer interaction or documentation. The language skill opens doors to a broader job pool, offering a competitive edge in the job market.

Strategies for Post-Graduation Employment

Securing employment in Finland post-graduation involves exploring various channels, each with its unique advantages. The most straightforward route is finding a summer internship or a thesis position with a company. Excelling in this role can lead to a seamless transition into a full-time job. Companies invest in thesis candidates, making them reluctant to train a completely new recruit when they can retain someone with existing skills.

Additionally, many companies offer Graduate Employment Programs, providing fresh graduates with a 6-12 month training period across different departments. This immersive experience helps graduates and employers collaboratively identify the best fit. Keen attention to such programs and timely applications can be instrumental in kickstarting a successful career.

Networking emerges as a powerful tool for job seekers in Finland. While applying to job postings is crucial, establishing personal connections often proves more effective. Finland has an interconnected professional landscape where individuals who actively participate in informational interviews are often rewarded. These personalized one-on-one discussions with industry professionals serve as invaluable opportunities to gain insights into potential career paths aligned with one's skills and interests. This proactive engagement allows for a deeper understanding of the professional landscape, fostering meaningful connections and opening doors to promising opportunities.

Aalto University: A Gateway to Opportunities

Aalto University plays a crucial role in bridging students and recruiters through various networking events. The annual "Talent Expo" is a standout event where nearly 200 companies from different sectors collaborate with students, providing a platform for meaningful connections.

Anubhuti working on a laptop and smiling at the camera holding a big coffee cup.

Choosing Your Approach: Quantity vs. Quality

Amidst the myriad of advice, I often encounter two opposite approaches to job applications. The first suggests applying heavily to many companies to secure a few interviews. The second advocates for applying selectively to specific roles, investing time and effort in each application. I align myself with the latter approach. Thorough research on the company and role, engaging with recruiters, and understanding the value I can bring have proven to be effective in landing a dream job.

Closing Thoughts

As I reflect on my journey from stability to uncertainty, I've learned that Finland's employment landscape rewards those who embrace opportunities, network strategically, and approach job applications with purpose. The fear of an unknown future is natural, but with determination, resilience, and a strategic mindset, securing meaningful employment after graduation becomes not just a possibility but a tangible reality. Here's to a year of growth, challenges, and the pursuit of sustainable energy solutions in the heart of Finland!

- Anubhuti

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