Writing a CV is a tedious job, no matter what language you are writing it in. But doing it in another country, you have to be able navigate between cultural differences too. To help you out, we had a look at some of the key issues in CV writing in Finland.
Your CV, or résumé as they prefer in US, may be the one the little piece of paper between you and your dream job. We all know it’s not only crucial to have the right substance in it, but how your expertise and skills are written and laid out tells a great deal about your professionalism and knowledge of your industry. While the core idea of a good CV (curriculum vitae) is shared by most of the countries around the world, the details can vary significantly. I realised that, after moving back to Finland after years of studying and working in the UK. Being used to the UK way as I was, I found some of these preferences peculiar – if not downright odd. But I soon understood that if I was to compete in the Finnish job market, I had better get down to learning how to write a first class CV – the Finnish way. The following observations mainly relate to differences between the UK style CV, and the Finnish one – at least in this writer’s own experience.
Lose the intro
In the UK, CVs generally start with a snappy introduction of yourself and your key skills. Though recently some employers in Finland have started to appreciate that too, as a generic rule Finnish CVs don’t have this type of introduction. You simply start with your personal information (name, date of birth, address, telephone number, email address), the current date and then just continue with your work history.
Picture or not?
A picture included in a CV is something you don’t see much of in other countries, but is fairly common practice in Finland. According to the Finnish Employment Office, employees may prefer CVs with pictures as it gives some further insight into
applicant’s personality, but it is up to applicant themselves to decide whether they want to use a picture or not. This varies between different business sectors too and is more common practice in service industry than other fields.
Education and work experience
While CVs in the UK tend to include fairly detailed information about applicant’s educational background, this is much less common in Finland. Usually the course title, major and minor subjects and the years of study will suffice. However, this can depend on applicant’s work history too. If applicant hasn’t finished their schooling yet, or has not gained a lot of work experience, more detailed information about courses taken or the topic of dissertation can give an idea of one’s skills and experience.
In many international companies, especially in IT sector, the working language is English and applying for those jobs your CV can also be in English. But generally, CVs, certificates and diplomas should be translated to the language of the country in which you are seeking employment. If Finnish is not your first language, then this is the part where you need to be careful. The job in question may not require native-level Finnish, but there simply isn’t room for spelling or grammar mistakes in your CV. It’s just so much harder to convey the right professionalism with bad grammar and spelling, no matter where your skills lie. Therefore, it’s worth getting a professional proof-reader to have a look at it or
asking somebody who is a good native Finnish speaker to read it over.
Stick with facts
English as a language tends to be quite forgiving when it comes to superlatives, but what sounds appropriate in English, might sound like wild exaggeration in Finnish. So, stay within the facts. ‘Good or Excellent computer skills’ is as far as your praise should go. Let the facts tell the rest.
To include or not
• As a rule, your CV should not be longer than one page, maximum two. Include only relevant work history and other skills.
• Nationality, gender, religion, marital status or family relations are generally not included.
• Include date of birth, but not your social security number.
• Hobbies can give a nice personal addition to the CV, but they are not necessary in all cases. Think if they are relevant to your field or a particular job.
• You should also include computer, language and special skills, positions of responsibility and reference contacts.
• Certificates are often not needed until interview, but this can vary between business sectors.
• CV and certificates and diplomas should be translated to the language of the country in which you are seeking employment (Eures, European job mobility portal). As the requirements and preferences can vary a lot between different
fields, it is always worth checking your industry specific recommendations.
Information for this blog was gathered fromThe Finnish Employment Agency, Expat Finland, Monster.fi and Eures – job mobility portal.