A good application can open up a career

HR Professional Joni Mäkinen, responsible for Capgemini’s Young Professionals Academy, encourages job seekers to think carefully about why they want to work for a particular company.

“We get the freshest ideas and new energy for our company,” explains Joni Mäkinen about Capgemini’s recruitment programme. “It is an efficient way of recruiting. We get driven young people into the workplace.”

Capgemini is one of the world’s largest companies offering consulting, technology and outsourcing services.

Joni Mäkinen

HR Professional Mäkinen is responsible for Capgemini’s Young Professionals Academy programme. Capgemini uses the programme to recruit 10-20 young job seekers, who are typically recent graduates or students about to finish their degrees. The programme receives around a hundred applications every time.

Most of the recruits have stayed with the company, explains Mäkinen. Many large companies around the world utilize such programmes, and companies operating in Finland are no exception.

“When a larger group of employees are recruited at the same time, they have the opportunity to build networks amongst each other. They can utilize these networks throughout their careers,” notes Mäkinen.

The recruitment method also primes the new employees to work together with people from different backgrounds from the start of their careers. Teamwork is key in today’s business. “We want to train people in teamwork from the get-go.”

Learn about the company

“We want to recruit people who want to learn more,” emphasizes Mäkinen. Most of the applicants to Capgemini’s Young Professionals Academy are recent graduates or advanced students in IT or economics, but the applicant’s field of study is not the most important recruitment criterion.

“You need to have some understanding of IT, whether through your studies or hobbies. The applicant should have a clear idea of why he or she wants to work in this field and in this company in particular. We also value international experience.”

Mäkinen encourages applicants to learn as much as they can about the company they are applying to. A good application displays the applicant’s interest in the field and in the company. “Anyone can follow the news in the particular field they want to work in, and follow the company’s press releases, so that they have a better idea of where they are applying to.”

It is a common mistake to send the same application to different companies. On the other hand, if your attitude is that you are not going to settle for whatever job you can get, but rather you want this particular job, that can make a good impression on the employer.

Mäkinen encourages applicants to directly contact the company they are planning on applying to. This is a good opportunity to clarify one’s understanding of the company. Social media presents many opportunities to get into contact with companies. You can also find out what kinds of skills the company is looking for.

“Experts are also often pleased if someone asks about their work,” adds Mäkinen, with a smile.

Application and CV work together

Mäkinen stresses that all work experience is taken into account in Capgemini’s recruitment process. “For instance, you learn in all summer jobs, whether you sell ice cream or mow lawns. Experience in different fields is valuable, since our customers work in different types of business.”

This is one reason why you should not take an overly narrow view of your own skills and competences. Many different types of experience can demonstrate to an employer that the applicant has the qualities that are being sought. “Being a leader in the Scouts is good leadership experience, for example.”

The applicant should put serious effort into drawing up his or her job application so that they are able to showcase their skills. A carefully crafted application shows the employer that the applicant is serious.

Mäkinen emphasizes that the CV and the application work best together, complementing each other. The CV should showcase the skills the applicant has acquired so far. The employer should be able to tell who the applicant is, what they can do and what experience they have by reading the CV.

It is a common mistake to repeat the information presented in the CV in the application letter. The application should be future-oriented: why the applicant wants to work for this particular company, how he or she plans to utilize their skills in their future job - and how they want to develop themselves further.

Be yourself

The Capgemini recruitment process has several steps, but Mäkinen stresses the importance of the traditional job interview. Applicants who make it to the final stages of the process are interviewed by their future boss together with HR.

For the interview, it is essential that the applicant has thought it through why he or she wants to work for this particular company. “It is natural to be a little bit nervous in the interview, and a little anxiety shows the interviewer that the applicant wants the job. It is best to be yourself - this usually makes a good impression.”

Even if you are not hired, the recruitment process is a valuable learning experience. Mäkinen notes that you can always call the recruiter and ask what you could do better. “We give advice to applicants who were not hired, and suggest what kinds of skills they should focus on acquiring.”

Mäkinen emphasizes that the company wants to hire different kinds of personalities. “We do not want everyone to be cast in the same mold!”

Text: Juha Rudanko

Photographs: Samuli Siirala

Europass helps you to compile a good application

You can use the Europass-CV and other Europass tools to show the employer what you can do. Europass helps you to display even such skills that you have gained through your hobbies or voluntary work and which might be over-looked in a more traditional CV.

Compile your Europass here >>

Joni MäkinenAsk yourself why you want the job - and make sure you can communicate this to the employer, too - advices Joni Mäkinen from Capgemini.

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