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No need to hide unemployment on your CV


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  • Unemployment

Looking for a job when you are unemployed is a demanding job, where you have to put all your skills on the line. Isn’t it time to start thinking of periods of unemployment as meaningful lines on your CV?

In an opinion piece in Helsingin Sanomat on 3 October, Mika Luisto wrote about the impossibility of getting a job even if you have plenty of skills and experience. In our public debate, too often all the unemployed are lumped together and discussed as if they were not individuals.

A couple of years ago, in collaboration with artificial intelligence start-up DrAi, we researched the words and themes used in Finnish social media conversations around unemployment. The end result was quite staggering: there is a strong stigma associated with unemployment in the conversation, which means degrading and invalidating language. 

On this basis, it is clear that no one wants to be imaginatively “unemployed”. It is equally clear that no-one in any employment situation should associate themselves with degrading and invalidating images. Such a culture of discourse must be tackled and efforts made to change it. 

Every day at the YTK Unemployment Fund, we see that unemployment is something completely different from what we see on social media. The unemployed are active, smart, skilled, well-rounded people with the same dreams, understanding and skills as those of us who are working. 

Even if you are unemployed full-time, that is far from a distorted image. After all, the unemployed are job seekers, i.e. they work every day for their future job. It is hard and demanding work, where ambition, skills and means are weighed up every day. Often, you have to be able to rebuild your fighting spirit when you don’t get a job interview. And this is done again and again. We at the YTK Unemployment Fund would also like to support you in this work and have been pushing for a change in the law that would allow funds to offer assistance to their members in finding a new job.

Is it finally time to think of periods of unemployment as meaningful lines on a CV? We already understand that a stint at home with children can be hard currency in a job application, but it is still difficult to justify “job search work” done while unemployed as a relevant period for a future employer.

On your CV and job application, you should be able to rattle off all the skills you have acquired during your unemployment. For many, a period of unemployment is a time of introspection, a time to understand who you really are, what you can do, what kind of company you could be useful to. At the same time, you develop your skills through courses, study and self-directed work. 

Changing perceptions is the only way to change. Let’s make unemployment the best line on your CV.

Auli Hänninen

Auli Hänninen


As CEO of the YTK, Auli Hänninen wants to simplify and streamline Finnish unemployment security. In her writings, Hänninen boldly outlines the possibilities for the development of unemployment security and offers her expertise and insights to decision-makers. With Auli’s vision and determination, we built the foundations of the modern YTK, from which we are today reaching for the heights again under Auli’s guidance.