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Working in Latvia - Advice & Tips

Latvia

Expatriate Affairs Consultant Nannette Ripmeester tells you below what it takes to get a job in one of the Baltic States, which entered the EU in May 2004. Latvia now is open for EU nationals concerning study or residence purposes, but job mobility between the ‘old’ 15 EU Member States and the 10 ‘new’ EU Member States still faces some restrictions for up to a maximum of seven years after the enlargement of the EU.

Job hunting in Latvia

Use any contacts (your network) you might have to find a job in Latvia. Speculative applications to internationally oriented firms can be successful. Do not underestimate the value of taking up volunteer work in Latvia. It will help you build a network and understand what drives the Latvians in their approach towards certain issues. You can also upload your CV on different websites, like for example CV On-line (www.cv.lv). These websites are becoming more popular for employers to use when they are looking for the right employee. Latvian employers value a good academic background, linguistic and computer skills and an understanding of business.

An important piece of advice is to learn the Latvian language (or some Russian), culture and history; it is an obvious advantage when applying in Latvia. Construction, both building and the restoring of buildings, is the main growth industry in Latvia.

The Application Letter

In general a letter of application should create enough interest to make the potential employer want to look at your application in more detail and hopefully invite you for an interview. Your application letter, however, should not provide too much information about experience and qualifications; this will be provided in your CV.

In Latvia, often, when personal contacts lead to an application, the first phase of having to write an application letter is replaced by less-formal telephone or e-mail contact. Whenever one does write a covering letter in Latvia it should be short and typed. Try to address this letter to a specific person. It is possible to send an application letter without a CV in the initial phase of the process. It is good to elaborate on your experience and skills to convince the employer you possess the qualities and dedication for the job at stake.

The Curriculum Vitae

The key focus of your CV should be to persuade the employer to invite you for an interview. Therefore your CV is a marketing tool, which should be adapted to the market in which you intend to use it. In your Latvian CV, emphasise your education above practical experience. Also mention your English skills on your CV. Languages are considered very important. In Latvia CVs are structured in reverse chronological order. Marital status is usually given under personal details. Skills and extracurricular activities are included too, usually at the bottom of the CV.

It’s becoming more popular to apply for a job via the internet. Be aware of the fact that an electronic CV does not always look the same as the standard one.

The Application Procedure

Realise that interviews are the most important part of the application procedure in Latvia. (Do you fit in the team?). Always look interested, therefore, ask questions in the interview. It is good to provide examples to prove your achievements.

Remember never to sit until invited in an application interview in Latvia. Do not forget to bring copies of your diplomas and references to the interview and avoid criticising former employers. At last, do not go over the top, but stay calm and stick to the facts.

On-line applications are becoming more common. Latvian employers commonly use (on-line) application forms.

If we got you started on Latvia – order the guide ''Looking for work in the 10 EU Accession Countries'' for further info.

About the author

Looking for work in the 10 EU Accession CountriesNannette Ripmeester is the expatriate affairs consultant to several multinational companies, which she advises regarding the strategy of international assignments and the practical implementation around expat issues.  Ripmeester started her international career at the European Commission, has worked on a project basis in 17 countries and is founder and Managing Director of Expertise in Labour Mobility (www.labourmobility.com).
She is co-author of a series of country-specific guides, the guide "Looking for work in the 10 EU Accession Countries", (ISBN-13: 978-90-5896-084-9) is part of that series of guides. To order this guide or other guides that will help you to secure the international job you want, visit our website: www.labourmobility.com.  As a reader of Eurograduate we offer you a 10% discount if you are your copy here.