If you are a foreigner in Helsinki looking for work, most likely you have already attended one of his workshops. Just like the interactive sessions he delivers, his employment path here in Finland stands as an example of ‘How to network yourself into a job’. I’m sure you have guessed by now, this article features Joppe Quaedvlieg focusing on the way he created his own employment opportunities without speaking the local language.
‘Helsinki is as close as you can get to heaven’
Originally from the Netherlands, he is an experienced communication and networking specialist, who moved to Finland pursuing love. ‘My experience is that most foreign men come here for either studies or they met a Finnish woman and for me it was the latter. We broke up a few years ago but I fell in love with Helsinki and Finland. As I like to say, “Helsinki is as close as you can get to heaven’.
He is qualified as a socio-therapist in Utrecht, the Netherlands, but as Psychology is quite a regulated discipline here in Finland, he had to start his job search from scratch. ‘I’m a social worker but my diploma is not valid here in Finland, so I had to reinvent myself. When I moved to Helsinki, I was sending out resumes left and right with little to no luck. While I was doing this from Luckan, an institution that helps foreigners integrate in Finland, I realized I needed a new approach to job hunt and created “Joppe’s Plan To Happiness”. It was a document where I collected as much data as I could on how to find work. After two months I had 16 pages of tips and tricks which I have personally tested. This newfound knowledge proved to be efficient, as he got a job in the next two months. ‘What was interesting to me, is that through networking, I got a job specifically created for me.’
‘I believe and had experienced that in Finland networking is key’
‘The people at Luckan asked me if I could come back and give a motivational speech for the foreigners that were still looking for work, and I thought “but what are they gonna do with motivation?” I decided to take some parts of my “happiness” document and share that with them. That’s how my first workshop on networking was born.’
Ever since, he has been giving workshops to NGOs, universities and start-ups on networking, non-violent communication, on how to activate both groups and individuals and so much more. The workshops are targeting basic skills we (should) use in our day-to-day life, such as active listening and effective communication.
‘It is hard to get across who you are on a CV and what you can do for the company’…
His previous 9 plus years of expertise as a socio-therapist helped him identify and understand what are the needs of people around him. He then recognizes the transferable skills required to meet the need and that’s how a new cooperation opportunity emerges.
‘Once we’re face to face with a potential employer, we can start by asking them very simple questions to get a conversation going. It does not matter whether you are introverted or extroverted, the same logic applies: Find people who you have shared interests with and ask them what their challenges are. You should know your skills and be able to give examples of how you have solved similar challenges in the past. This has worked for me every time.’
‘Our [ as foreigners] best tool is that we are different, and we can leverage that ‘
Mindset is key when looking for work. Most often, job hunting can be very stressful, testing your patience and self-confidence. Fear and anxiety definitely aren’t going to help your job-hunting prospects, so why not apply Joppe’s technique and use it as a self-assessment opportunity to identify your strengths. When focusing on service, we are all talented and valuable regardless of what our background or industry is.
‘Now, I am not saying that finding work as a foreigner is easy, it is very hard, but our best tool is that we are different, and we can leverage that. Every job I had in Finland I got without speaking Finnish and for none of the jobs there was a job ad. So far, I’ve been Chief of Happiness, Entrepreneur, Translator, Research assistant and now I am a Talent Finder.’
His future plans include helping Wunder.io, the company where he is currently employed, foster the best possible employee happiness and culture by sharing his knowledge on people and communication. He is also part of the local Burner community where he helps co-create events related to art, dance, music and ‘togetherness’. ‘I love abstract painting and I sing.’
’ I want to give back to this wonderful country by helping other foreigners find their right place in the right function in the right company.’
He has been contributing to the local community through all his voluntary work and one-to-one coaching sessions. He has trained and coached expats and locals to find work and integrate or relocate. He teaches both individuals and teams how to express what they want and need in an assertive way, step by step leading them through simple guidelines and exercises he has developed himself.’ I want to give back to this wonderful country by helping other foreigners find their right place in the right function in the right company. Currently I am volunteering with Startup refugees to spearhead one of the concepts I created for foreigners called Talent booth: an event where job seekers create a demo booth to display their skills and companies can come and browse.’
If you are a company interested in finding out more about this particular concept or need expertise with international recruitment, creating the right work culture in your company, employee retention or community management, you can easily reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/joppequaedvlieg
Get to know our International Talent -campaign is part of Kasvua Vantaalle kansainvälisistä osaajista – Talent Vantaa –project that implements the targets of national Talent Boost Program and receives funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. Project is implemented in cooperation with the City of Vantaa and Laurea University of Applied Sciences.