The nearly perfect application template for whatever

Helsinki Partners (ex-My Helsinki), the organization in charge of promoting the Finnish capital, invites IT professionals to “test” the city (and this swimming pool this November).

The Finns created a new cool thing for self-promotion — to “sell” the whole city as a service for IT specialists who are thinking about moving to Finland, or just want a new international experience. The name of the idea in English is CaaS — City as a Service: https://helsinkiasaservice.com/apply (update: in 2021, the link no more working).

Between Nov. 19 and 22, the organization is holding a free demo trip for 15 people who will be selected by application. The deadline is by the end of October.

The trip includes everything from free flight and accommodations to meals and new experiences. For example, the startup festival Slush will take place in Helsinki on the dates of the trip.

There are no special requirements for candidates. You just need to write about why you are a good fit for this trip.

Why am I writing here? Finland is my favorite country, so I want to help it find great IT professionals, and I want you to get to know this great (albeit cold) country. So here’s a template for the perfect application to submit to the competition. I’ve written some of these letters before. One of them got me a free month’s stay in Finland in a writer’s residency.

But even after the competition is finished, it comes in handy for anyone who applies anywhere, because it’s essentially universal. So…


1. Introduce yourself and declare your love for Finland (strictly no more than 5 sentences):

  • who (I’m iOS/Android developer…),
  • where from,
  • what are the main and the most interesting things you have done in IT,
  • what similar international experience you have (have participated in similar programs, worked in other countries…),
  • why you are interested in Finland as a new place to live or a new travel experience.

As a side, note: Finns say hello hey instead of hi.

2. Tell a little more details (a short paragraph) about your experience in IT and professional international experience. It’s better to put all your achievements in numbers:

  • “My app has been downloaded 10,000 times in both Apple App store and Google Play store”,
  • “I helped company N to enter the market of Belarus, where I lived for more than two years”,
  • and so on, but no more than three short sentences with your best achievements.

3. Make a parallel (3–5 sentences) between your experience, this trip to Finland, and how it will change your life for the better: what you expect to learn during the trip, how and where you will apply these skills next.

There should be a link: explore the city/country plus communicate with your colleagues.

4. Explain what the Finns (2–3 sentences) and the other 14 program participants will gain from getting to know you: what professional and life skills you will share with them.

Oh, by the way, of course, all of this requires written and spoken English. Here’s a translator instead of Google that translates better: https://www.deepl.com/translator.

5. Say one more time that you love Finland and say goodbye in an unusual way (2–3 sentences) so that you will be remembered for another week.

For example, you can make a good and relevant joke. Finns have a great sense of humor and they love to make jokes about themselves.

At the very end, as a general rule, attach no more than one-two links (better one): to your most successful and beautiful project and the overall portfolio/website.

Good luck!


Text: Ivan Kuznetsov

Cover photo: Lemi app