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Finding a Job, CVs, Interviews and Etiquette for Expats in Russia

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: January 2015

Finding a Job

How easy it is to find a job in Russia partly depends on your language skills. If you do not speak Russian, your employment opportunities will normally be limited to working for foreign companies or language schools. If you do speak Russian, many more positions will be available, most of them in Moscow and St Petersburg. If you have a desirable skill, you will find that your path smoothed considerably. For more information on this and other immigration requirements, see Immigration – Working for Expats in Russia.

Online job portals are a convenient job-searching tool, as they enable you to filter your search according to job function, industry, salary and location, or search for keywords. Some of the most popular portals are:

Most daily newspapers also publish job advertisements both in their printed issues and online. Two of the most widely read newspapers that have sizeable employment sections are:

You can also turn to private recruitment agencies, especially if you are highly skilled or experienced. It is wise to check that the agency is accredited and look at some online reviews before committing yourself. Note also that agencies will not necessarily find any jobs for you. There is a comprehensive list of recruitment agencies in Russia on the Expatica website. Remember that networking can really pay off when it comes to job hunting – the more people you know, the more likely you are to find available work in your area. Finally, make sure to scour the ‘Vacancies’ sections on websites of organisations that interest you.

 

CVs

As your curriculum vitae or CV is an introduction to a potential employer, it is essential to make it strong, highlighting your academic qualifications and professional experience. If your Russian is good enough, it is a good idea to write the CV in Russian, as this is likely to impress your potential employer. If not, you can write it in English, unless this is otherwise stated.

It is essential to have a strong CV highlighting your qualifications and past work experience since this is your way of introducing yourself to the employer. There is no general CV template as different sectors have different preferences. However, there are certain guidelines that apply to most CVs in Russia; firstly, concision is vital. Unless otherwise specified in the job advertisement, a standard CV in Russia should be no longer than two pages.

Furthermore, your CV should be well structured. You can achieve this by dividing it into various sections and using subheadings to denote these sections. A typical Russian CV starts with the candidate’s place of birth, date of birth, and expected (or current) monthly salary. Next come Education and Work Experience, Language Skills and Other Skills. It is not common to include a photograph unless specifically requested.

Arrange education and work experience sections in reverse chronological order, accounting for any gaps. When listing your academic qualifications, include dates attended, the name of the educational institution, study programme, degree obtained and your study focus. Work experience should include start and end dates, job title and name of the organisation you worked for. Include brief details of primary responsibilities in your recent jobs.

Lastly, in all correspondence with your prospective employer, check that your spelling and grammar are correct, avoid using informal language and explain any abbreviations used.

 

Cover Letters

Some employers will require a cover letter, which should be no longer than one A4 page long and drawn up as a formal business letter. A Russian cover letter should explain your motivation for applying for the position, describe how well your skills and qualifications match the employer’s requirements and give your plans for the future. When writing cover letters, pay attention to the requirements mentioned in the job advertisement and comment on how you fulfil them.

 

Interviews

The Russian interviewing style is generally direct and factual. In recent years, telephone and Skype interviews have become more common, especially if the candidate is abroad at the time of interview. You may not be expected to speak Russian as a formal requirement, but it will be viewed as a large bonus if you can. Generally, the more fluent your Russian is, the better your job prospects. There will often be two interviews: the first with the HR manager and the second with your prospective supervisor.

Generally, interviewers will first give you the opportunity to introduce yourself, present your motivation and explain why you are a good candidate for the position. After this, employers will ask questions about your previous employment and test how your skills match their requirements. Finally, you will be asked if you have any questions about the role and the organisation. In all cases, it is crucial to show that you understand how the organisation operates, what its objectives are, and how you could contribute to its success.

International companies based in Russia and large domestic companies often use recruitment assessment centres. Such assessments last a day or two and test your suitability for the position using tasks such as presentations, group activities and written tests.

 

Etiquette

When attending a job interview, punctuality is key! Additionally, you should address the interviewers using their correct title and surname, unless you are specifically asked to do otherwise. Another important rule is to dress appropriately. Even if the organisation does not have a specific dress code, it is still advisable to opt for business wear in discreet colours; women should avoid wearing eye-catching jewellery, heavy make-up and short skirts. Throughout the interview, make sure to sit straight and make appropriate eye contact with the interviewers. Show that you are professional and do not forget that a smile can take you a long way!

 

 

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