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Working in Poland - Advice & Tips

Poland

Expatriate Affairs Consultant Nannette Ripmeester tells you below what it takes to get a job in one of the largest states of Europe, which entered the EU in May 2004. After years of rising unemployment figures - the unemployment rate is currently the second-highest in the EU with 10.5% in May 2007 (used to be around 20%!), the war for talent has started in Poland. But although rapid transitions are taking place in Poland, old structures in Polish organisations do not ''evaporate'’ overnight.

Job hunting in Poland

The method of finding a job in Poland is very much connected with the type of work you are looking for, recruitment takes place all year round. There are more than 400 local employment offices that offer services for both foreign and Polish job seekers. If you decide to use one, make sure you pick a reliable office. The most popular way of looking for a job by Polish graduates is the internet, then advertisements in the daily press subsequently followed by more targeted press. Newspapers are of major importance for finding a job on the Polish labour market and a relatively new feature are free Students'' Magazines such as Eurostudent (www.eurostudent.pl). The three most popular internet portals are: www.pracuj.pl, www.hrk.pl and www.jobpilot.pl.

Career Services play a major role in Poland. Each Polish university has a Career Service aimed at helping students to find a job connected to their field of study, preparing and training their students for the recruitment process and the job market.

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.

A Polish cover letter is an integral part of your job application. Refer to the job advertisement in case you respond to an advertisement. The application letter is short (maximum one page) and usually typed. The style is formal without being too persistent. If possible, write in Polish to Polish companies and in English to international companies. The cover letter should refer to your present and future plans, showing your ambitions. At the top left corner you start with your name, address and telephone number. At the top right corner, you write the city and current date. Try to address your cover letter to a single person, and place the name of this person with company name and address below. Application forms are used more often, especially by foreign and international companies which recruit internationally.

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. The Polish CV should be in reverse chronological order and have a clear layout, preferably typed on a maximum of two pages. You can also choose to write a functional CV. You should describe your level of verbal and written knowledge of languages. Mention your computer skills as well. Use headings like''education'', ''work experience'', ''qualifications'', ''positions of responsibility'' and ''interests and hobbies''. You can decide to include the names of two referees as well.

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

In Poland, bring references and copies of diplomas to the application interview. Try to establish your social and transferable skills in the interview. Always look interested and ask questions. Try to provide examples to prove your achievements. You can ask for clarification if you don’t understand the question you have been asked. Never sit until invited at a job interview. Avoid criticising former employers, and do not go over the top. The Poles like you to stay calm and expect you to stick to the facts.

If we got you started on Poland – 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.