How to find work

Pharmaceutical laboratory

Finding & Securing Employment in Finland

Finnish Language Skills
The most important asset for entering the Finnish labour market is Finnish language ability. Whatever you do, show that you are willing to learn Finnish – indeed, you should learn some Finnish before you even start looking for work. There are sectors and companies where English is used as a working language but these are exceptions. Lack of Finnish is an obstacle even at the application stage because most positions are only advertised in Finnish. Knowing at least elementary Finnish helps open many doors; see the Finnish Language Courses section, which includes numerous free online lessons and courses.

  • Analyse job ads thoroughly: Understand the formal requirements and assets for the job, and list those qualities you possess. Note the style of language used in the ad, and use the same level of formality in your covering letter.
  • Call the employer: Unless the ad specifically says not to call, telephone the contact person for extra information; this opportunity to make a positive impression can help later in the application process. Introduce yourself at the beginning of the call. Prepare your questions in advance; they should be appropriate and pertinent. Do not ask what the salary is or whether they think you are a suitable candidate. Take notes, including the name of the person you spoke with, and refer to your notes when writing your covering letter.

What You Want Might Not Be What You’ll Get

What we are going to see is the reality of the US market as it is today. You might not like it, and unfortunately, if your profile and expectations don’t match this market, it’s not going to happen. Sorry to disappoint you.

If you don’t want to accept the reality and adjust your expectations, you have only your own decisions to fall back on. The choice is ultimately yours. You must remember that it’s your life. My choice was to live in the USA, and I now live an amazing life there. It’s not because I’m lucky; it’s because I reviewed my expectations and accepted the reality. That’s it.

If you are not ready for such a big step, it’s time to seriously think that you may misunderstand exactly what the American Dream is. And the United States might not be for you, after all. The choice is yours!

The way things are, you need to fit the mold, or you are out.

As unfortunate as this fact is, you need to understand it before going any further. I don’t want to waste your time. So, if you continue reading this post, I assume that you understand the implications of this process. 😀

What I Want

What kind of job do I want to get?

If you know what job you want in the US, that’s awesome! You already know what to search for, and you know exactly what type of job opening you want to apply to. Your career plan is clear for you, and you can skip the rest of this section and go on to “What I Will Get.”

If you don’t have a plan yet, please don’t tell me you are ready to do anything to be in the US. That is NOT a career plan! I have heard that too much for my taste. I know your goal is to be in the USA and get experience from it. But first, you need a CAREER PLAN!

I was in the same situation when I was looking for a job in the USA. At first, I was open to everything and not only jobs in my field. I applied for jobs in sales, marketing, etc., and I discovered that I was going nowhere.

How to get a job in the USA with a career change:

If you are tired of what you are doing right now, a career change plan may be the thing for you. But you need to figure out the journey you want for yourself to achieve your final goal. Switch to a position that requires your skills or something new you want to learn; this will help you to continue your journey until you reach your final goal.

You might need to focus on setting academic and work-related goals so that you can put your knowledge and abilities to good use. Although volunteering requires time, the commitment can be a fantastic choice when you want to master the skills you haven’t been able to make use of in your workplace.

Support while looking for a job in Switzerland

Swiss residents can claim unemployment insurance after five days of unemployment, however, you must have been working and paying contributions for at least 12 months in the last two years to be eligible.

Work visas in Switzerland

Switzerland is not part of the EU but citizens from countries which are part of the EU or EFTA (European Free Trade Association) can come to Switzerland without a visa, move between cantons, look for work for up to three months and work without the need for a work permit – although if you’re planning to stay longer than three months you’ll need to register for a residence permit with the canton in which you’re living. For even more information, see Expatica’s guide for EU citizens moving to Switzerland and the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

It’s much harder for anyone else as there are strict quotas on jobs in Switzerland for foreigners. For example, employers have to prove the job can’t be done by a local, and permits are limited to managers, specialists, and those with higher educational qualifications.

Language requirements to work in Switzerland

Switzerland has four main national languages: Swiss-German is the most widely spoken, especially in the center and areas in the east; French is spoken in the west; and Italian in the south. While English is often spoken in the workplace, having some knowledge of these other languages will give you an advantage in the Swiss job market, as would being able to speak Russian or Mandarin.

A report in 2017 showed statistically that foreigners coming to work in Switzerland will find themselves in a German-Swiss working environment, which is the case for some 42% of Swiss residents. However, the multilingual Swiss are increasingly adapting to the growing international workplace: twice as many people in Switzerland speak Swiss German or English at work than they do at home. Additionally, since 2000, the number of residents who do not speak any official Swiss language has more than doubled, or tripled since 1990, according to the Swiss statistics office.

Qualifications to work in Switzerland

If you want to work in a regulated profession – health, teaching, technology, law and social work – in Switzerland, you’ll need to have your foreign qualifications recognised, even if you’re from the EU or EEA. If your occupation isn’t regulated you may still wish to get a ‘level certificate’ that provides Swiss employers with information about how your foreign qualification relates to the Swiss higher education system.

Academic qualifications (not for regulated professions) from some countries are recognised via the Bologna Process. University qualifications (bachelor degrees and above but not those related to regulated professions) can also be recognized for work purposes through ENIC-NARIC.

Tax and social security numbers in Switzerland

Since 2008, all Swiss residents have been issued with a 13-digit social security number (AHV number). The number is used for all social insurance purposed and you will need it, for example, to claim social security.


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