• News
  • People
  • Long Read
  • Opinion
  • Weekend Wrap

My Career: From Start to Finnish

Networking is the key to finding a job in Finland, says Inga

 Get to know more about Inga via LinkedIn.

The Shortcut

Inga Chernova, Ukraine. CEO, Chair of the Board

Like many others, Inga Chernova came to Finland for love. Originally from Ukraine, Inga moved here in 2017 with her then-husband, fell in love with the country and decided to stay. She was convinced by the respect for personal space, freedom to be as you are and balance with nature she encountered here. Inga also points out that her story isn’t unique, as most international women come to Finland as spouses

Over the years, Inga has acquired plenty of experience in navigating the Finnish work culture and employment market as an international. She started as a volunteer at an organisation supporting professional integration, career transformation and entrepreneurship in Finland, and today she runs the whole operation as its CEO. In her free time, Inga has become fond of mushroom hunting and is even planning to give cross-country skiing a try. 

Inga’s top networking tip is to keep in mind that you never know which connection will make the difference.

The Shortcut

How I got my current job is… well, my current job has made me “come full circle”, as my friend and colleague Jessi Christian likes to say. When I arrived in Finland, I knew very little about the employment market here, and my introduction to this world started with the organisation that I’m currently leading. I asked to help out with some of their activities, did some volunteering, and, voila, seven years later I’m the CEO. 

But of course, it wasn’t that straightforward. Those seven years came with bumpy rides and different roles. To be entirely honest, most of my career successes came through networking. I believe this is by far the most efficient way to find a job in Finland.

My typical day as a CEO starts with… a chat with someone from my team over a cup of coffee. I think it’s extremely important to have an extra moment to relax and unwind, preparing yourself for the day ahead. Then I go through my emails, and later start working on the to-do list. 

“The way the startup ecosystem supports itself sets a great example for many other areas of life.”

What I enjoy most about working with career development is… I have studied career development as part of HR twice in my life: once when studying to become a psychologist and the second time in the context of my economic studies. But I fell in love with this field here in Finland when learning first-hand how it feels to be an international looking for a job. 

It is a challenge, but there are ways to support yourself, and I want every international professional to learn these ways in order to make their lives at least a little bit easier. Thus, I made helping people like me my life mission.

My favourite things about Finland are… people, nature and the general feeling of calmness. The thought that you may come as you are is very empowering.

“I love the respect for your personal space and your freedom to be as you are, the balance with nature, and the comfort of daily life,” says Inga of life in Finland.

Inga Chernova

The startup ecosystem in Finland is… my favourite place to be. I remember how I arrived in Finland, encountered the startup world and fell in love with it. The way the ecosystem supports itself sets a great example for many other areas of life.

The startup ecosystem is helping Ukrainians arriving to Finland by… I must say that Finland and Finns in general support Ukrainians a lot. And I mean, A LOT. As a Ukrainian, I couldn’t be more grateful.

I remember when the war started, I went to Poland with several Finnish volunteers, and the amount of care I encountered is indescribable. People are willing to help and share, and it means a lot. The startup ecosystem doesn’t stay behind. There are a lot of informational and networking events organised by the community and a lot of training programmes for people interested in job search and entrepreneurship. Just last month in our organisation, we had one and are planning to have many more.

Mushroom picking has become an annual tradition for Inga.

Harri Tarvainen / Visit Finland

My top tip for anyone searching for a job in Finland is… go out and meet people. Very little happens when you only sit at home and send CVs, mainly because a lot of openings aren’t being advertised and often recruiters go with internal referrals. 

When it comes to networking, you never know which connection will make the difference.  And secondly, be honest and know exactly why you are interested in a certain job. Then, put it all on your cover letter. Your cover letter is one of your most helpful tools in getting the job. Finally, don’t apply everywhere: three well thought-through applications are much better than 100 generic ones.

What I enjoy most about living in Helsinki is… the fact that it’s a capital city with all the infrastructure that any capital should possess, but, at the same time, it’s extremely calm and in balance with nature. I, for example, adore the sea and love the possibility of having a walk along the seashore even during a lunch break. 

The hobbies that I have really enjoyed practising in Finland are… last year, I learnt mushroom picking, and now that is something I’m looking forward to every year. And I think next winter will probably be the time for me to start cross-country skiing.


Published on 07.06.2023