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Survey: One third of employees have a Plan B!

Few people who lose their current job have a second speciality, and time and money are barriers to learning a new profession.

A survey commissioned by the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund found that few people have a backup plan if they could no longer work in their current speciality.

To the question: ‘If you were to lose your job in your current speciality, do you have another speciality to work in?’ 37% of respondents said yes. However, many people – more than 60% – have thought about learning a new speciality. Why is it that people cannot turn their thoughts into action? Older respondents felt there was no point for them in making an effort.

For younger respondents, 45% do not study due to lack of time. 35% haven’t found a speciality that suits them. 32% think studying is expensive and they will lose out on salary if they go back to school in the meantime. One respondent wrote that I would like to study more, but I don’t see that I can do it for economic reasons.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund provides support for vocational and higher education for jobseekers as well as for people in employment, and in many cases pays grants for participation in degree study. At the beginning of this year, the support increased, with both people in work and jobseekers now receiving EUR 292 a month to learn the skills they need for the labour market. But in order to receive the support, you should start thinking about autumn today.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund information campaign ‘Don’t be late for school’ reminds people that now is the right time to start acting so that they know where to study by autumn, and in doing so keep themselves competitive in the labour market at all times.

Karin Andre, the Head of the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s Skills Development and Career Services Department, said the first of September is closer than it seems. ‘In several previous years, the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s staff have encountered people discovering in August that they could go to learn something new, but they don’t know exactly what and where. Then things get busy and study plans are postponed for another year,’ Andre said.

According to Karin Andre, people who have been out of school for 15 years or more should think first of all about studying. Of course, also those who have not acquired a speciality and whose basic school or upper secondary school certificate was obtained at least five years ago.

‘The Unemployment Insurance Fund will support training for those specialities and occupations that will need more employees in the future and where there is already a shortage of suitably qualified employees. The range of specialties is wide, and you can learn all over Estonia and both in Estonian and Russian,’ Andre explained.

The selection of supported professions is available at www.tootajaopi.ee, where you can also book an appointment with a career counsellor.

You don’t even have to come in for career counselling – it can be done online or over the phone.

Over the last three years, around 3,000 people have received support from the Unemployment Insurance Fund to participate in degree study, and more than 48,000 people in employment have received career counselling.

13 reasons why your CV is being set aside

Sending out dozens of CVs but not getting any invitations to an interview? If this is the case, it’s worth reviewing your resume with a critical look!
Career specialists * and employers’ consultants * * of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund point out 10 common errors behind why your CV is being set aside.

1. Spelling mistakes!

It’s the first thing every HR person will tell you and the first thing that all similar articles start with. So why do faulty CVs and motivation letters still end up on managers’ desks? Your brain is playing tricks – it is very hard to find mistakes in your own writing because you KNOW how to do it right. A few tips: let another person read your CV. Highlight text in capital letters, print out, and read it on paper. Read the text from the back to the front – this will force you to take a deeper look and you’ll find it easier to spot mistakes and aberrations.

2. You cannot be contacted!

Sometimes the reason can be as simple as a minor mistake in your phone number or e-mail address and the information doesn’t reach you. Check your contact details before sending. During the job search period, do not miss calls from unknown numbers and if you can’t answer for any reason, call back. You can keep track of the emails that have been delivered to your Junk box.
NB! Make sure you have a proper e-mail address – pussycat@hotmail.com or Terminator666@gmail.com does not leave a credible impression of you.

3. This is not what was asked for!

Read carefully what the employer expects from the candidate. Are your CV and cover letter expected in Estonian or English? Is it necessary to indicate your salary expectations? Do you have to attach homework or answer any questions? Sometimes there is a request in job offers to add a keyword, like ‘Marketing Specialist’, ‘Senior Salesperson’ or the like when sending your CV. Do not miss it, there are often several competitions going on at the same time and your CV might not get to the right place.

4. Don’t just say – describe!

The position of ‘chief specialist,’ ‘chief executive,’ ‘worker’ says nothing about your suitability for the job. Briefly describe what your main tasks and responsibilities were and pay particular attention to the activities that lie ahead of you in the desired position. It’s great if you can also add your own portfolio of work to your CV. It’s especially important in marketing and media, but try this trick also as a builder, interior designer, nursery teacher or pastry chef.

5. Show yourself!

Do you have work/educational accomplishments you are proud of? Please write down if they are related to your desired position. If you have been awarded the title of ‘Best Colleague’ or ‘Salesperson of the Year’, highlight that fact. If your thesis is related to your field, or if you have participated in a project or done volunteer work that could be of interest to a future employer – please write it down. Be careful with hobbies, but you can add some activities that show you in a positive light.

6. Your CV has holes!

Review your list of work experience. If you have long breaks in your curriculum vitae when you are not working or studying, this may raise questions for recruiters, such as ‘What has he/she been doing up to now or in the meantime?’. An explanatory cover letter can help to prevent a CV being set aside. If you were doing volunteer work abroad at the time, or participating in a long-term training course that will benefit you in the field, please include this in your CV.

7. Your position raises questions!

You can also easily be excluded even if you are overqualified for a job offer. If you have previously worked in managerial positions and are now applying for a position requiring less responsibility, a letter of motivation or a cover letter is essential. In your letter, proactively answer the first question in the recruiter’s mind: ‘Why is he/she applying for this position?’ For example, a finance manager/bookkeeper is applying for the position of accountant; the human resources manager is applying for the training specialist position, etc.

8. Less is not always more!

Your CV will be set aside if there is not enough information. Make sure your future employer has a complete picture of you – what education you have, what professional experience, what skills and characteristics.

9. And more is not always better!

If a CV is too long, important information gets lost in the hustle and bustle and the recruiter doesn’t have time to delve into it. It is worth reviewing whether the entries in the CV are still relevant in the view of the specific competition. There is often a tendency to exaggerate the list of refresher training courses, which can go back decades. The last 5 years are enough.

10. Show yourself vol2!

A nice and correct photo is always a plus. It does not have to be a strict document photo but party photos and overly processed IG photos should not be included.

Some tips if you apply through the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s job search portal or other online solutions.

11. Take the first step!

If you are applying via the web portal and there is a box at the beginning of the CV form stating your purpose or job interest, please fill it in. This makes it easier for the employer to get an overview of your skills and expectations, in order to make you the best offer.

12. And make some more effort!

The better you describe your skills, the more suitable the offers the Unemployment Insurance Fund system will send you. Licences, certificates, diplomas, language skills, computer programs, education, work experience – all are important data. But if the employer is already opening your CV, they will also want to see your personal characteristics to make sense of you as part of their future team. Highlight your positive attributes.

13. Let the employer find you!

When you fill in your CV in the e-environment of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund, you are visible to hundreds of employers. Take advantage of this opportunity and make your CV meaningful! A company recruiter may open your CV from among the potential candidates who are interested in their job offer and invite you to a job interview. Always keep your CV relevant and correct.

*Career information specialists will support you in finding the information necessary to shape your career, i.e. study opportunities, labour market situation or different occupations in Estonia and elsewhere. Please contact us if you would like help in drawing up a CV and motivation letter, practice a conversation with a specialist about applying for a job or school admission, or use the opportunities of the e-environment of the Unemployment Insurance Fund to find job offers and apply for a job.

**Employers’ consultants negotiate with companies, bring in job offers, conduct personnel searches for employers, during which you can also be a good candidate. Upgrade your CVs in the e-environment of the Unemployment Insurance Fund, and we can help you get a better job or traineeship.

See also labour demand barometer, which will give you a direction, which occupations are worth studying and which specialists are currently in short supply or in surplus in Estonia.

Can work be a hobby and a passion at the same time?

Spring is a time when everything comes back to life, and it is often in spring that people make life-changing decisions. One of these is definitely a career change that can be both a lifeline and an anchor.

Kristel Ainsalu, Senior Career Specialist at the Tallinn and Harju County Career Centre of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund, together with our experts, put together a guide for the career-changers on 4 topics: fragments of information, thoughts, stories and dreams that arrive on their desks every day.

Today we are talking about whether work can also be a hobby and a passion 

According to career counsellors, one of the most complicated but interesting counselling groups is people who don’t know what they want to do – those who are seeking their passion.
Sometimes, however, a person comes to career counsellors in a state where a career change can make matters even worse – if there are other changes in a person’s life – problems in family life, moving house, loss of a loved one, poor health. In this case, it is more a matter of getting your life on a more stable track, and once some stability has been achieved, it is only then that it is worthwhile to move on to career issues.

If you have to deal with basic needs, it’s hard to think in terms of the ‘big picture’. Why is it criticism sometimes offered when one is offered the option of temporarily moving to an easier job instead of being away from work altogether? This is actually a good idea. New things can be planned in peace when there is some stability in life. So this is not a bad recommendation, and research has also been done on its positive impact – people will start dreaming again when they have a secure place to live and an income and don’t have to think about survival all the time.

But how do you find your passion, the thing you would really like to do?  

There are also several aspects to searching for and finding passion.

  • First of all – don’t worry if you don’t know what your passion is. Passionate people were not passionate before they discovered their passion. To find your passion, you usually need to try different things – how else do you know what you like to do? 
  • When passion becomes work, that passion can disappear.
  • Passion can also burn you out... fast.
  • At different moments in life, a person can have different passions; one passion can be exhausted, while another wants to take its place. That’s OK.
  • Take a step closer. For example, you dream of working in the field of justice, but you don’t have years to study that field because of your family? In that case, find an opportunity to work in another profession, for example in a law firm or a ministry where you can be closely involved in lawmaking, or go into restorative justice as a volunteer.

Of course, there is no good recipe to find your passion. It is still up to you to deliver. For some it takes less time, for others longer, sometimes even years (I’m a good example...I searched for my ‘passion(s)’ for years). However, it’s a good idea to talk to a career counsellor if you’re at a crossroads – it can help you find your way through a more thorough self-analysis.

Four main reasons why career changes are taken!

Spring is a time when everyone comes to life again and often people also make life-changing decisions in the spring. One of these is definitely a career change that can be both a lifeline and an anchor. Kristel Ainsalu, Senior Career Specialist at the Tallinn and Harju County Career Centre of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund, together with our experts, put together a guide for the career-changers on four topics: fragments of information, thoughts, stories and dreams that reach their desktops on a daily basis.

  1. People are tired of their work, the content of their work. The employer may be good and even a ‘Dream Employer’, the colleagues and the working atmosphere pleasant, but the work itself no longer excites or interests the person. If this period becomes too long, there is a risk of burnout. One no longer knows how to experience success from work, and a period of unmanaged dissatisfaction can complicate the search for a new career field – motivation drops and the energy to find new challenges decreases. People often describe this situation in the form of physical experiences – feeling sick, hurting head, etc.
  2. There is also a possibility that the person actually enjoys their work, but the workplace and working conditions have led them to the feeling that their work ‘sucks’. In this case, the situation is easier – one just has to find a new employer or become their own employer, if possible. I remember a teacher who wanted to find a new career... By talking to him and analysing the situation, he got to the point that he actually likes his job, but his life had been made difficult by a group of parents and he also lacked support from the school board.
  3. People want to engage in business – for real or to experiment. Once again, the reasons for this vary: 1) the aim is to start offering their knowledge and skills independently and/or they no longer want to generate profit for anyone else; 2) the aim is to do something completely different from their current work; 3) sometimes there are situations where life forces you – you become unemployed and it is not easy to find a new job; 4) or people want to feel financially freer. There may be other motives.
  4. A career-changing decision can also be the ‘necessity of life’: redundancy, bankruptcy of the company, health problems, change of residence, profile of employers offering work in the place of residence, and age (e.g., dancers, athletes and representatives of other occupations).

One of the reasons that is not so common is the possibility and freedom to experiment and find a new career – if you are financially secure and just want to try different things in life. You don’t see this option very often, but I’m sure a lot of people dream of it.

Kristel’s main message is: ‘For the future, people should definitely have a “Plan B” in place. We can do a lot ourselves should there come a point where it becomes more difficult to get a job (as an employee) or we don’t want to work for anyone else anymore. In addition, work does not always have to be the place where you live out your aspirations. Work can be a means of subsistence, but in your spare time you do things that warm up your soul. Mark Twain once said: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do."

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