You want to have a job in the Netherlands, but don’t know where to start? Here are 6 tips to make your job search much easier. Good luck!

A new country, a different work culture, perhaps a language barrier… finding a job in the Netherlands can be challenging.  The classic approach of applying to a vacancy is one way to go. But why not be more proactive?  When you’re on the job hunt, try to work smarter, not harder. Find employers that interest you and target them with a template you have ready to go. Or reach out to people specialized in supporting internationals. When you’re looking for work, preparation and prioritization are half the battle. We answer the question ‘How do I keep going?’ with four ways to help you find Dutch employment.

1Make a list of companies that appeal to you 

Milk, eggs, pasta, 101 Top Sustainability Startups and Companies in The Netherlands. Lists aren’t just useful for grocery shopping! When trying to determine what sector or companies interest you, lists are a quick and easy way to find leads. Whether you’re googling ‘Top 10 companies in [fill in the blank]’ or the best multinational workplaces in the Netherlands, chances are that a list will be able to assist. Keeping an eye out for relevant company press releases or reviewing a company’s old vacancies that caught your attention can also guide your search.

2(Digital) Networking on LinkedIn

Ah yes, the buzzword we can’t help but roll our eyes at… networking. In the Netherlands, this is commonly done via LinkedIn, which is very popular here. If you don’t yet have an account, we suggest you get one. Make sure people understand you are looking for work. This means adding the #OPENTOWORK overlay to your profile picture. Now people know they can approach you. Of course, you can contact people via LinkedIn as well.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

One strategy is reaching out to those who work in your field and are living in your area. You could ask whether they’re up to meet for a coffee. If you feel shy or like you’re intruding – don’t… people are usually flattered when asked for their expertise! In our experience, you’ll always find people who are willing to help you. When we say help, we mean they might not have a vacancy. Instead, their experience, network, and useful tips could give you the boost you need.

Fine-tune your LinkedIn profile

Remember to fine-tune your LinkedIn profile with job preferences. You can filter for jobs in your city. You can also show you’re open to remote work or jobs within the EU for example. Geography aside, don’t forget the titles. You may be looking for a job as a copywriter. However, similar positions could have titles such as ‘communications specialist’ or ‘content marketeer’. If applicable, try to find at least two or three roles with different names that match your core search.

working in the netherlands

3Traditional networking

Now to the classic options for networking. You’ve probably heard of something called the Chamber of Commerce. What you may not know is that there are many bilateral chambers of commerce. These organisations often list companies from your country that operate in the Netherlands. Sometimes they even offer networking events. The Dutch-German Chamber of Commerce (DNHK) has a Young Professionals network and a German-Dutch list of vacancies. There’s a Netherlands Latvian Chamber of Commerce, Netherlands Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Brazilian Dutch Chamber of Commerce, etc. Look for organisations combining your country -or a language that you speak- with the Netherlands. These organisations can be an excellent starting point for expanding your network!

4 Support from a third party

Job agencies and recruiters are quite common in the Netherlands. An agency can advise you on your resume and what skills to highlight in the Dutch labour market. Contacting an agency early on is also a convenient way to get some free practice. An intake call with a job agency gives you a sense of what future job interviews may be like. At the very least, the call lets you practise presenting yourself and talking someone through your CV. Recruiters are your new accomplices for the job hunt. The better they understand your needs and skills, the more likely a third party is to find you the right fit. Some agencies specialize in helping candidates who speak other languages, such as Adams Multilingual Recruitment.

5Job Boards

If networking and agencies aren’t your favourite options, there is also a range of job boards you can browse.

Job Board
indeed In the Netherlands Indeed is the market leader for the job hunt, listing thousands of jobs every day.
Monsterboard Monsterboard is an international website – also known as Monster in other countries – and provides a rich selection of job listings to job seekers.
jooble.org Jooble is a job search engine meaning that it aggregates and displays job ads from other job boards, corporate, recruiter pages and newspapers.
LinkedIn Linkedin also offers a large selection if job listings and allows you – depending on your subscription – to react directly with your profile.
Nationale Vacaturebank Nationale Vacaturebank is focused on the Netherlands and is one of the biggest generalist job boards. The interface is only available in Dutch.
Werk.nl Werk.nl is a government job board and next to job listings it contains many tips and tricks for the application process in Dutch.

6Vacancies: Play the professional field 

When it comes to applications and vacancies, make sure you don’t get tunnel vision. Why? In the Netherlands, your application may not receive a reply. Furthermore, official vacancies tend to get a lot of applications. Save yourself the disappointment of not hearing back from your one dream job by casting a wider net. How? Send an open application (Dutch: open sollicitatie). Here, you introduce yourself and your skills, hoping there might be a fit. Remember the lists you made in the first step? Now is the time to contact the companies that excite you.

Approach open applications with a ‘giving mindset’. After all, you are randomly popping up in someone’s inbox and asking them to hire you. Remember to show exactly what you can offer the company. Are you an Italian speaker and saw the company is looking to expand to Italy? Attach an Italian translation of their homepage to your application. Are you good with code and found a bug on the company’s website? Send them a suggestion on how to fix it. These acts of kindness not only show you pay attention but also exhibit a can-do attitude. This is something all employers look for.

Nothing to lose

Avoid open-application-fatigue by having a good ‘backbone’ for all your messages. You need a solid foundation that presents you and your capabilities. Add a few sentences describing what you can do for the specific company. Let your research skills shine in this section. The worst-case scenario for an open application is no answer, which you should be accustomed to already by Dutch standards. The best-case scenario is employment. You could also be an interesting candidate but there is currently no position available. In this scenario, you can end up in the company’s ‘talent pool’ as a contact for future vacancies.

Let them impress you

It’s easy to get a little discouraged as the search drags on and you keep trying to impress future employers. But, always keep in mind that companies should also impress you. Finally, you may feel intimidated or experience a bit of Imposter Syndrome during your quest for employment. Rest assured that you are not alone. Everyone feels this way from time to time. Especially when starting your career, things can become overwhelming.

However, never underestimate the power of enthusiasm versus experience! Someone who is energetic and eager to learn is a pleasant person to work with… maybe even more so than someone with ten years of experience but a bad attitude. Finding the right job is a matter of luck and skill, but in the end it’s mostly endurance. Keep looking, keep applying, and as the Dutch would say: Succes!

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