Networking is a way to get in contact, develop relationships with people and build networks. In one’s own home country, networks are built since childhood. Networks come from your family, your family’s friends, school, hobbies that you’ve had growing up, local community’s activities etc. In your home country you also have developed, on top of that social network, a professional network. Colleagues, partners, people working in your sector that you met at professional events. You have direct networks (people that you know personally) and indirect networks (friends of friends for example). In both these networks, you have developed different kinds of relationships, based on shared interests, and mutual help and support. You knew who could help you with something, and people would turn to you for other topics.
When moving to Finland, most of our participants have to start all over again. Your partner and sometimes his friends and family become your only network. This can create a lot of stress and anxiety for both the foreign and the Finnish partner. Unwanted power dynamics in the couple, isolation and loss of self-esteem may develop, and hinder both the couple’s relationship and the job hunting and integration process.
NETWORKS AND WELL-BEING
Before talking more about the importance of networks in job hunting in Finland, it is important to understand the importance of networks for one’s well-being, mental and physical health. Isolation, depression and anxiety are extremely common among foreign partners. Making friends (of your own), feeling useful, heard and supported is extremely important. Peer support groups, hobbies and volunteering are three ways of making friends. Many of our participants have also met friends at their language courses. Do not neglect the importance of friends and social life, as your mental health and well being are the foundation of a well-functioning job hunt.
NETWORKS AND JOB HUNTING
Networks, especially in Finland, are the key to find a job. 7 to 8 jobs out of 10 (in Spring 2020) are not advertised, and most people find their jobs through their networks and personal contacts.
Networking requires you to put yourself in contact with strangers and might feel a bot uncomfortable and scary. You can participate to fairs, go to events from your own industry and go to actual networking events. But other ways also exist to expand your professional networks: