Finding a job in the Netherlands
I will be relocating to the Netherlands or I am new to the Netherlands and have yet to find work. I don’t speak Dutch and would be happy to receive any advice from you with regards to employment possibilities and opportunities in the Netherlands.
Where can I find information about international jobs in the Netherlands?
Internet has taken over the recruitment processes and there is not much of a point on leaving your CV door by door. However, there is a possibility to stand out over hundreds of applicants by giving a simple call. Showing that you are pro-actively interested in the position and asking questions about it can make a difference to pass the first filter of the recruitment process. If you have no questions, you can always call to check if they have received your application in order to make the first contact. Here a sum up of the most popular methods of job hunting.
Via uitzendbureaus (employment or job agencies)
There are agencies that employ people and send them temporarily to employers, though you can also get other type of contracts depending on the employer. There are several advantages but also disadvantages to using this channel. On one hand, an agency can give you inside information about an employer as well as helping you prepare for an interview.
On the other hand, an agency is one step further away from the employer. It’s up to the agency to propose and ‘promote you’ for the job, which is why it’s important to make a good impression on them as well. Treat them the same as you would a potential employer, including a smart dress code.
Take time to choose agencies which represent your area of work, and especially those agencies which deal with international organisations if you do not speak Dutch. Some Dutch employment agencies may not consider you as a candidate if your CV is in English. To avoid being turned away with a standard response, look for job opportunities with descriptions that are in English. If Dutch is a requirement for the position and you can manage the language, then you should send the cover letter and CV in Dutch. In both cases, have your cover letter and CV checked for spelling and grammar errors as that is one of the first things a recruiter will look at.
Several agencies specialise in jobs for non-Dutch speakers. You can either forward your CV to the job agency or apply for their advertised vacancies. Both can be done via their websites; however, it is a good idea to give them a call to introduce yourself and stand out as a potential candidate. For a comprehensive list of recruitment agencies contact the ACCESS Helpdesk here. If you are looking for a recruiter or head-hunter for your next career step, then you have to refer to the werving- en selectiebureaus (recruitment agencies). You can find all agencies available in the Netherlands on: Allewervingenselectiebureaus.nl.
Please note that many of the agencies actually require a MBO (vocational education)/HBO (professional higher education) diploma to apply for the vacancies. If you are looking for part-time work as a student, job boards such as Monsterboard.nl may be more helpful.
In the Netherlands, establishing a network of contacts is invaluable. Keep in mind that networking can happen anywhere (e.g. sports clubs, your children’s school, joining clubs and interest groups). Make sure you are ready for the question: what do you do? Spend time on perfecting your profile and practising your ‘pitch’ but remember to keep it simple and natural.
Also attending multilingual job fairs might be helpful. Some of the organisations/employers participating in these fairs may have positions for English-speaking job seekers and the added networking opportunity may provide valuable information. You will find more information about these job fairs on the ACCESS and other expat-oriented websites.
LinkedIn is a well-used recruitment medium in the Netherlands (make sure your profile is up to date and includes the fact that you are in the Netherlands). Joining LinkedIn’s basic membership is free. Make sure your profile and experience are consistent with your CV and be sure to use a (professional) photo. Recruiters and hiring managers are constantly looking at profiles or placing job advertisements here. You can also join groups, take part in discussions and use LinkedIn for your job research. For example, what are the profiles like of people in a similar profession to you? Where do they work? You can also signup for job alerts by filling in key words and areas of work interest, which will notify you of jobs matching your requirements. For more information about using LinkedIn for your job search click ‘here’.
Via the internet and job boards
In the Netherlands, most companies and organisations advertise their vacancies on the internet. Several platforms exist on which all (or many) of the available job opportunities for internationals have been gathered. You can upload your CV and sign-up for job alerts on various job boards; this can save you a lot of time when looking for jobs and assist in discovering who is hiring.
Amongst the more popular ones are: Togetherabroad.nl, Iamexpat.nl, Dutchnews.nl, Expatica.com. Although you will come across several jobs in the Dutch language only, keep in mind that they also include non-Dutch speaking jobs as well.
If you have identified particular organisations that you are interested in, try to find a connection in your network (LinkedIn can be a good start). This can lead you to an introduction to somebody working there. Simultaneously, you could also consider an open application, and if possible, deliver it in person. This method is more effective in small- to medium- sized companies.
On the ACCESS website, you will find a list of career coaches and trainers. Contact details are provided so you can email the coaches and trainers directly if you would like further details about how they can help you. Some of the courses/workshops offered by the ACCESS’ trainers are professional skills development, cultural awareness and global mobility.